Thursday, April 13, 2017

St. John's (Shrewsbury) Baseball Shuts Out Holy Name in Battle of CMass Powers

By Matt Feld (@mattyfeld612)

St. John’s (Shrewsbury) is often known for its offense, but on Thursday evening Sean Burke showed why, this year, the Pioneers' success begins on the mound.

Behind five innings of shutout ball from Burke, and a multi-hit game out of Christian Jordan, the Pioneers coasted to a 10-0 win over Holy Name at St. John’s High School.

Burke, a University of Maryland commit, surrendered just one hit over five frames, while walking two hitters and striking out five.

Even when Holy Name (1-1) was able to put the ball in play, it was largely weak contact.

Burke induced four choppers back to the mound and eight groundball outs in total.

Pioneers’ coach Charlie Eppinger said there is no question that his team’s strength this season is its pitching depth.

“We’ve got a lot of depth on the pitching mound, that is our strength this year,” said Eppinger. “We have seen all our guys – all seven of our main guys – who are going to throw this year. It’s great to get these guys out there now and slowly lengthen their time out there so that as the season goes on everybody has had that experience.”

Holy Name, for its part, started left-hander Nicholas Piekarczyk, and the soft thrower was able to keep St. John’s (3-0) off balance through the first two innings, due to his ability to change speeds.

Piekarczyk got through the Pioneer lineup unscathed the first time around, but found less success once the St. John’s offense got a second look at him.

Jordan led off the bottom of the third for St. John’s by drawing a walk and after Ian Seymour sacrificed him over to second, Jack Gardner brought home the first run of the game with an opposite field triple.

Moments later, Burke helped his own cause by drilling a run-scoring double into the left center field gap that scored Gardner, while Jack Fields topped off the three-run frame with a double of his own down the left field line.

Offensively, meanwhile, the Napoleons struggled to attain any type of offensive consistency, recording only three base runners through the five innings.

Burke said that his main focus was throwing his fastball for strikes.

“I just tried to focus on my fastball command that is always my priority when I take the mound,” said Burke. “I knew that when I located my fastball there was a good chance I would have a lot of success.”   

The Pioneers tacked on a run in the bottom of the fourth as David Turco worked a walk, stole second and came around to score on an RBI groundout off the bat of Seymour to put St. John’s on top 4-0.

It was in the bottom of the fifth, however, that St. John’s finally blew the game open.

With one out Patrick Galvin was hit by a pitch and Jake Hamel drew a walk to put two on with one out. Jack Herlihy followed up by hitting a fly ball into right field that seemed destined to be the second out of the inning.

The ball was misplayed, however, and fell in allowing Galvin and Hamel to score to give the Pioneer’s a comfortable 6-0 lead heading into the sixth.

“One through nine has done a really nice job for us,” said Eppinger. “Jack Hamel batting eighth for us as a junior has been big for us, Jack Galvin has been great through the first three games so the lineup really one through has done some nice things.”

St. John’s will now turn its attention to a clash against Catholic Conference power BC High on Saturday morning in a game that is sure to have some early season Super Eight implications.

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