The most difficult thing about the Super 8 baseball tournament is that each potential opponent is so strong that mistakes are magnified.
The few mistakes St. John’s Prep made against Braintree yesterday at Campinelli Stadium in Brockton haunted the Eagles in a big way, as the Prep was ousted from the first-ever Division 1A baseball tournament with a 5-4 defeat.
St. John’s (17-6) trailed 5-1 and got a 2-run triple from senior catcher Mike Geaslen to get back in the game. In the last of the ninth, senior Max Burt doubled and came home on a fielder’s choice to make it a one-run game.
Braintree (19-4) advances to face the winner of tonight’s late Lincoln-Sudbury/Silver Lake elimination game.
“You almost have to play perfectly in these types of games,” said Prep coach Dan Letarte. “You need to make the plays in the field and execute on offense, and if you don’t that’s how it goes in the tournament.’
Senior pitcher Evan Roberts went the distance for the Prep, collecting his second straight nine inning complete game. He gave up six hits, but one of them was a run-scoring triple that came after he hit two batters. Roberts’ only walk was intentional, but Braintree also struck for a 2-run homer that helped them mount a four-run lead in the seventh.
“Evan battled. It’s very uncharacteristic for him to hit two batters, and Braintree made him pay for it,” said Letarte. “They came up with two big, quality at-bats and they deserve the credit for that.”
Geaslen led the Eagles with three hits while Burt had a pair and Keith Leavitt also had two hits, including a triple. St. John’s totaled 11 hits, but the Eagles’ inability to move runners over via the bunt and hit with runners in scoring position combined to end their season.
“The kids didn’t quit,” said Letarte, who led the Eagles to their Catholic Conference title in his first season as head baseball coach. “Overall it was a successful year.”