Friday, June 16, 2017

Your 2017 "All-Super Eight" Team

Super Eight champion St. John's (Shrewsbury) is well represented on our "All-Super Eight" Team.   Photo by Tom Joyce
By Matt Feld (@mattyfeld612)

Wednesday night signaled the conclusion of the Division 1A “Super Eight” tournament as St. John’s Shrewsbury captured the title with a thrilling 5-4 victory over St. John’s Prep.

Throughout the tournament, a number of players from all eight teams made their presence known by leading their respective team on a memorable run, or standing out via a single game performance.

So, without further ado, SuiteSports is excited to unveil its All Super Eight team, in which we recognize those players who stood out over the course of the tournament.

Make sure to check back in early next week when we will unveil our 2017 MIAA Baseball All-State team, as well as our Player of the Year.

Pitching Staff

Ian Seymour, LHP, Sr., St. John’s (Shrewsbury)

The St. John’s (Shrewsbury) ace added on to a solid regular season with an even better postseason. Seymour appeared in three Super Eight games for the champion Pioneers, going 2-0, surrendering just two earned runs, and coming away with a save.

The Virginia Tech bound left-hander was on top of his game in the biggest moment of the season, as he struck out the final two batters he saw in the Super Eight title game, coming with the go-ahead run in scoring position. That K handed the Pioneers the Division 1A crown.

Mike Vasil, RHP, Jr., BC High

All season long, Vasil was arguably the top pitcher in Massachusetts, and that certainly did not change come the Super Eight. The bulky right-hander guided BC High to the Super Eight semifinals as he grabbed a pair of wins, including one over the then two-time defending champion Braintree Wamps.

In all, Vasil threw two complete games in the tournament, allowing just one earned run combined over those 18 innings, while surrendering just one walk.

Nate Espelin, LHP, Jr., Belmont

Belmont may have dropped their two Super Eight games, but they were right there until the end in both contests, largely due to the performance of Nate Espelin.

Espelin started both Super Eight games for the Marauders and impressed in each of the two outings. In his first start against top seeded St. John’s (Shrewsbury), Espelin went six innings of three-run ball, while giving up seven hits and walking three. He then followed that up with a solid performance against No. 5 Braintree, where he went 5.1 innings and gave up just one earned run.


Jackson Duffy, Outfield, So., Braintree

Braintree’s Super Eight run was on the verge of being short lived as they trailed Belmont, 4-1, heading into the bottom of the ninth of their first elimination game. Jackson Duffy, however, brought Braintree back from the dead, as he launched a game-tying three-run home run to even the score at four, before the Wamps went on to win in extra innings.

Duffy was one of the top young position players in the entire tournament, going 5-for-12 with the clutch home run and four RBI as the Wamps reached the quarterfinals.

Tyler MacGregor, Third Baseman, Jr., St. John’s Prep

St. John’s Prep appeared in its third straight Super Eight final in 2017, and this time it was largely due to a middle of the order that consisted of MacGregor. The Eagles’ third baseman burst onto the Super Eight scene by going 2-for-2 and scoring five runs in the Prep’s opening round contest with Newton North.

MacGregor had a multi-hit game in all five of the Eagles’ postseason games, including a 3-for-4 showing against St. John’s (Shrewsbury) in the semifinals. For the tournament, MacGregor went 9-for-19 with four RBI.

Jack Gardner, Catcher, Sr., St. John’s (Shrewsbury)

Gardner was irreplaceable both behind the dish and at the plate, as he guided the Pioneers to a Division 1A title. While catching, Gardner commandeered a pitching staff that allowed just nine runs over his team’s four Super Eight games.

At the plate, meanwhile, Gardner picked up from where he left off during the regular season, going 6-for-14 with 3 RBI. His most notable moment came in the bottom of the ninth of the Pioneers’ semifinal contest with St. John’s Prep, where belted a game-tying RBI double. 

Alex Kennedy, Designated Hitter, Jr., Braintree

Perhaps the most feared hitter in the Super Eight, Kennedy showcased what makes him so dangerous, with terrific power to all fields, as well as a keen ability to hit with two strikes. In two of the four Super Eight games, Kennedy acquired at least two hits, including in an elimination game against Central Catholic where he went 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles. The Wamps’ three hitter went 8-for-21 in the postseason with four doubles and three runs batted in.

Sean O’Connell, Designated Hitter, So., BC High

BC High’s offense struggled for most of the season, but flipped the switch come the playoffs, largely due to the play of sophomore Sean O’Connell.

O’Connell displayed an ability to hit to all fields, as well as a fair amount of pop. He led an offense that scored more than eight runs a game over its last three contests, batting .444 in the Super Eight, with a home run, a double, five RBI, and a .552 on base percentage.

Frank DiOrio, Outfield, Sr., St. John’s Prep

The Eagles made a loud statement in their opening round contest with Newton North, as DiOrio blasted two home runs, including a grand slam, and accrued 6 RBI in an 18-3 win for St. John’s Prep.

DiOrio’s success at the plate continued throughout the tournament. The right-handed hitting power threat finished the Super Eight going 8-for-21 with two home runs, a triple, a double, and eight RBI.

Cole Whitehouse, Catcher, So., Newton North

Newton North may have been two-and-done in this year’s Super Eight, but Tigers’ catcher Cole Whitehouse certainly caught the attention of many.

Whitehouse demonstrated impressive power for only a sophomore, as he belted two home runs in Newton North’s opening round game with St. John’s Prep. Over his seven Super Eight at bats, Whitehouse went 3-for-7 with three RBI, two runs scored, and the aforementioned two home runs.

Mike Pierro, Outfield, Sr., Central Catholic

While most of the attention on the Central Catholic lineup coming into the tournament was on the likes of Dominic Keegan and Steve Hajjar , Mike Pierro quickly became one of the Raiders most reliable bats in the Super Eight.

Pierro helped lead the Raiders to a respectable 1-2 record in the postseason, as he went seven-for-14, with a home run, four RBI, and two runs scored. 

Vicente Mendoza, Outfield, Sr., Xaverian

A veteran for head coach Gerry Lambert’s Xaverian unit, Mendoza was heavily relied upon by the Hawks to provide some senior leadership in the Super Eight. The centerfielder rose to the task, as he doubled and reached base twice in helping the Hawks avoid elimination against Newton North, before coming through with a pair of hits in the Hawks’ final game of the season against BC High.

Known for his spectacular defense, Mendoza accounted for a number of notable catches in the Super Eight, including one against the Tigers that saved a pair of runs.

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