Thursday, June 15, 2017

St. John's (Shrewsbury) Completes Journey with Super 8 Title

By Tom Joyce (@TomJoyceSports)

BROCKTON - Ian Seymour had no problem recording a five-out save.

Starting pitcher Matt Stansky cruised through his first six innings of work for the St. John’s (Shrewsbury) baseball team, but he was pulled in the seventh inning. In the eighth, the Pioneers lead began shrinking.

They surrendered a leadoff single, followed by an RBI triple and a sacrifice hit which cut the team’s lead to 5-4 over St. John’s Prep with one out in the inning.

Seymour then came in so he could protect the one-run lead in a high leverage moment. Because of that, the Pioneers came away with the Super 8 title on Wednesday night at Campanelli Stadium.

“I wanted to keep him to a three-out save if we could, since we thought we might have to go tomorrow, but we’ve got a ton of faith in him,” Pioneers head coach Charlie Eppinger said of Seymour. “I haven’t seen a kid better than him. We have unbelievable pitching depth.”

First, Seymour faced and set down two Eagles batters to finish out the eighth inning. The ninth inning was not as simple.

Joe Muzio led off the top of the ninth with a single for the Eagles and catcher Alex Lane followed that up by grinding out a six-pitch walk. No. 9 hitter Andrew Dembowski then laid down a successful sacrifice bunt, putting two men in scoring position with one down in the inning.

In the biggest moment of his career, however, Seymour showed poise, striking out the next two batters to pick up the save and end the ballgame.

“It’s definitely a different mentality,” Seymour said of pitching in the final inning of the Super 8. “There’s a lot of adrenaline there. When you’re starting, the mentality is different, it’s not as aggressive, but you’ve still got to get outs.”

Seymour pitched 1.2 scoreless innings, allowed one hit and a walk while striking out four batters.

Stansky picked up the win and allowed two runs in 6.1 innings of work, while allowing two hits, four walks and striking out six men. Both hits he allowed came in the third inning.

Down 2-1 to start the bottom of the sixth inning, the Pioneers offense was not active early in the ballgame. However, the third and fourth times around the lineup were a little different than the first and second.

Sean Burke, who got an RBI single in the third inning, singled again and Tom Moschella drew a full-count walk to put runners on for the Pioneers to start the inning. Jack Fields then bunted them into scoring position, which led to an Eagles pitching change.

The new Eagles pitcher forced a 6-2 groundout at home on his first pitch, which appeared as though it may silence the Pioneers threat with two outs and a force out at second. But, the the Pioneers received some gifts.

During Jake Hamel’s at-bat, the Eagles pitcher balked in Moschella to tie the game, and then the pitcher threw a wild pitch that put a runner on third. Hamel then won his eight-pitch at-bat when he lined a ball right at the Eagles shortstop, which took a hard bounce into the outfield for the go-ahead run.

Still, the Pioneers were not done. No. 9 hitter David Turco drew a walk, putting another man on base. Seymour then knocked in two runs on an error by the shortstop, giving his team a 5-2 lead.

“At the beginning, I think everyone was anticipating what we could do tonight. I think the guys woke up and realized they needed to make something happen,” Eppinger said, reflecting on the inning. “Once we strung a few together, we were in good shape.”

The win crowns the Pioneers the kings of MIAA baseball.


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