Friday, June 9, 2017

Super 8 Semifinals Preview

By Matt Feld (@mattyfeld612)

On Thursday evening, Braintree joined St. John’s Prep and St. John’s Shrewsbury as three of the four teams who will be a member of this year’s Division 1A Super Eight “final four”.

The Wamps, who won consecutive games against eight seeded Belmont and three seeded Central Catholic facing elimination, now await the winner of BC High and Xaverian to see who they will play on Sunday.

The Eagles and Hawks are set to faceoff Saturday morning at Campanelli Stadium with each looking to make their second trip in three years to the Super Eight quarterfinals.

In the afternoon, meanwhile, the two remaining undefeated teams in the field will go head-to-head with top seeded St. John’s Shrewsbury taking on familiar foe St. John’s Prep.

Here is how we expect the two games to unfold.

No. 6 Xaverian vs. No. 4 BC High
Probable Starting Pitchers: Dan Chapski, RHP – Xaverian; Mike Vasil, RHP – BC High
Date/Time/Location: June 10th, 10am, Campanelli Stadium

Overview: These two teams played twice during the regular season and will now take on one another once again in a win or go home situation. BC High won both contests behind the arm of Saturday’s starter Mike Vasil. 

Vasil was dominant in his two regular season starts against the Hawks throwing two complete games in which he allowed just two runs on five hits, walked two and struck out 15. In the second of those two starts Vasil tossed a no-hitter and walked no one with a fielding error being the only blemish.

On the flip side Xaverian coach Gerry Lambert is expected to go with his ace in Dan Chapski. Chapski, a senior right-hander, has had Super Eight success against BC High in the past. Last year in the quarterfinals, Chapski went 7.2 innings surrendering just two runs in an 8-4 Hawks win over the Eagles. In addition, Chapski has had some notable outings this year including throwing eight shutout innings against St. John’s Shrewsbury. 

This contest will come down to Vasil who is 8-0 in starts this season. If the Eagles’ ace is able to assert his presence early in the game and BC High builds a bit of a lead it may be tough for Xaverian to recover. On the other hand if the Hawks are able to pounce early on BC High, it may put some pressure on an Eagles offense that has struggled to score runs.

Feld’s Prediction: BC High, 4-1

No. 2 St. John’s Prep vs. No. 1 St. John’s Shrewsbury
Probable Starting Pitchers: Jake Sanderson, RHP – St. John’s Prep; Ian Seymour, LHP – St. John’s Shrewsbury
Date/Time/Location: June 10th, 1pm, Campanelli Stadium

Overview: The afternoon showdown also features two teams that went head-to-head in the regular season but this time the two are playing for the right to go to the Super Eight championship. 

After being shutdown by Pioneer’s ace Ian Seymour in the first contest, St. John’s Prep responded with a road win over St. John’s Shrewsbury during the final weekend of the regular season. The Prep has been bolstered so far in the tournament by an offense that has scored 25 runs over the course of the two games. Frank DiOrio, Tyler McGregor and Dan Frey lead the offense while Chris Francouer has provided balance towards the bottom. 

On the mound Eagles’ coach Dan Letarte has stuck with the team’s notorious 2-2-2-2-1 strategy and is expected to do the same path once again on Saturday.

St. John’s Shrewsbury is expected to counter with their hard throwing left-hander in Seymour who already faced the Eagles earlier in the season. In that start Seymour threw a complete game giving up two runs on four hits while fanning 10. He followed that up with a terrific start in the Pioneers’ Super Eight opener in which he went the distance while allowing just one run. Should St. John’s Prep be able to get past Seymour, there will be no let up as the St. John’s Shrewsbury bullpen has multiple top-level arms including Matt Stansky and Nick McDonald. 

While St. John’s Prep should keep it competitive for the entirety of the game, we expect St. John’s Shrewsbury’s offense paced by Seymour and Jack Gardner to come alive in the late innings and do just enough to clinch a spot in the title game.

Feld’s Prediction: St. John’s Shrewsbury, 6-4

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