DANVERS — St. John’s Prep senior Dave Bornstein hit the ball hard, straight into the glove of B.C. High pitcher Trent Berg in the sixth inning of yesterday’s Catholic Conference showdown.
When he came up in the ninth, the Eagles’ first baseman made sure there would be no glove around to foil him.
Bornstein sent a walk-off, solo home run deep to center field, lifting St. John’s to a 3-2 win over visiting Boston College High. The Eagles (15-1) won their 15th straight contest and clinched at least a share of the Catholic Conference title.
“I was thinking ‘Wow, I just did it,’” Bornstein said, asked what went through his mind as he rounded the bases with his teammates gathering to mob him at home plate.
“This was one of our biggest games of the year, and you always think about making a play like this in a big game. It’s a good feeling to go out and do it.”
St. John’s got all its runs yesterday thanks to the long ball. Sophomore Nick Latham hit a 2-run homer off Berg in the second inning, giving the Eagles a short-lived 2-0 lead.
BC High (9-4) got the runs back in the top of the third. St. John’s starter Brandon Bingel walked the first two batters and was burned when Ryan Tufts came through with a two-run single.
It was the only hit allowed by Bingel. The Eagles’ senior righty retired the last 13 batters he faced after the runs scored and struck out eight.
“I think Brandon was pretty excited about the game and was off early. He was getting behind (hitters) and it felt like he walked as many as he’s walked all year,” said St. John’s coach Pat Yanchus. “After that, he really settled in.”
Berg matched the zeroes Bingel put up on the scoreboard, though he had to get out of more trouble. Bornstein doubled in the fourth and was stranded. Back-to-back singles by Bingel and Keith Leavitt in the sixth also went by the boards when Berg made an excellent stab on Bornstein’s shot up the middle.
“That one almost won the game. It looked like it was headed towards being a two-run single,” said Yanchus.
Bingel conceded no baserunners and gave way to Dustin Hunt to begin extra innings. The senior fireballer walked a batter in the eighth and ended the inning when he caught him in a rundown. Hunt allowed a hit in the ninth that was erased on a double play and earned the win in relief.
“The way our guys pitched today, it would’ve been a shame if we wasted that effort,” said Bornstein, who made sure that would not be the case.
Berg got the first out of the ninth before giving way to Matt Neilson, who got the second out. With two down, Bornstein got the waist-high fastball he wanted and put it out of the ballpark.
The Prep (6-1 in league play) can win the Catholic Conference outright by beating Malden Catholic next week. If the Eagles fall and BC High wins its remaining two league contests, the teams would share the title.
Catcher Paul Crehan reached on a walk and scored on Latham’s homer for the Prep. In addition, third baseman Nick Bragole walked and stole two bags.