|St. John's Prep Zach Begin flips the ball to first baseman Andrew Selima against Walpole Saturday.|
BOSTON — The sweet swinging Andrew Selima and a dominant Zach Begin propelled St. John’s Prep over Walpole, 4-0, on Saturday afternoon in the Catholic Conference-Bay State Conference Challenge.
Begin twirled six shutout innings for the Eagles, giving up just one hit while walking three, and striking out nine Rebel batters.
The senior right-hander said that he felt better as the game moved along, making adjustments to the unseasonably cool temperatures at Monan Park at Boston College High School.
“I felt comfortable for the most part, it was just a rocky first inning,” Begin said after the game. “I started off with a four-pitch walk. Not my best stuff, just trying to get used to the mound, but you’ve always got to come back no matter what the conditions are and just pump the [strike] zone.”
Begin issued the aforementioned leadoff walk to Jack Magane, but rebounded with a strikeout of Cam Martin and got Charlie Audtiore to ground into an inning-ending double play.
“He was ahead of batters, I think that was huge,” St. John’s Prep head coach Dan Letarte said after the game of Begin. “Having a performance like that in the weather like this – a little cold, a little raw – I thought it was just phenomenal. We needed that.”
Begin was named as the Player of the Game for the Eagles. After 87 pitches, he was replaced by junior Dan Regan for the seventh, who pitched a scoreless frame. Neither pitcher allowed a Rebel runner beyond second base, which occurred on just two occasions.
St. John’s Prep only had five hits, but cashed in on four Walpole errors. Selima, a senior first baseman, went 2 for 3 with a pair of doubles and two RBIs. His biggest swing came in the top of the sixth inning with two men on and none out, where he drove a Ryan Murphy offering to the gap in right-center field to plate two Eagles runners.
Selima was thrown out at third trying to stretch the double into a triple, but the hit gave the Eagles a 4-0 lead to put them firmly in control.
“We haven’t had timely hitting, so it was good to see that,” Letarte said. “I thought Selima’s hit was a big hit at that time.”
Selima had previously doubled in the top of the second inning, advancing to third on a Tyler McGregor single and scoring the game’s first run on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Christian Kukas.
The only run not involving Selima came in the top of the fifth inning, when Kukas led off with a single. He advanced to third on a throwing error and scored on a Chris Francoeur fielder’s choice one batter later.
Murphy, a junior lefthander, earned Player of the Game honors for the Rebels. He pitched well in his own right, lasting 5 2/3 innings and giving up four runs – only one earned – on five hits, walking none and striking out three.
The game, which was delayed by nearly 20 minutes due to rain, wrapped up in a tidy 1 hour, 25 minutes.