SHREWSBURY, Mass. -- The mindset of Brandon Bingel is quite simple. The St. John’s Prep pitcher knows his out pitch is a fastball and over his career here it has worked effectively. But against St. John’s Thursday afternoon, Bingel knew the Pioneers were sitting dead red on his fastball and decided to change his repertoire up a bit.
The Bryant University-bound right-hander mixed in a change up and a tight slider which kept the St. John’s hitters off-balance long enough to earn a 2-1 victory at chilly Pioneer Field.
“I felt all of my stuff was on today,” said Bingel, a senior. “Usually I like to go fastball until a team shows me they can hit it. I knew (St. John’s) was a good hitting team so I decided to go with my slider and change which they really couldn’t hit so it worked out.”
After losing their season opener to defending Division 1 state champ Xaverian, the Eagles (4-1) have now rolled off four straight victories. This one, however, was far from easy.
With this contest tied 1-1 through five innings, Prep scored the eventual game winner in its half of the sixth. Tyler Noe was plunked by Pioneer starter P.J. Browne. The junior lefty’s day was done at that point despite putting forth a strong outing by scattering three hits and fanning five.
Reliever Jacques Boilard was called upon to keep the game deadlocked. Noe stole second and advanced to third on a ground out. Senior Nick Bragole then grounded a single up the middle plating Noe with the go-ahead run.
Having scored 22 runs in its first two games, St. John’s (2-1) went down unceremoniously over the final two innings as Bingel earned the complete game victory, surrendering five hits and striking out 11.
“Brandon had all three of his pitches going today,” longtime Prep coach Pat Yanchus said. “St. John’s is a very good team and always gives us a good game. There weren’t a lot of hits today but we took advantage of the ones we got.”
The Eagles grabbed a 1-0 lead in the third. Natty Cabral opened with a double to left and was bunted to third by Alex Moore. Cabral came home moments later on Tommy Buonopane’s fielders choice.
St. John’s answered back with a run of its own in the bottom of the frame. A bloop single by Micah Cummings was followed up by an opposite field Kevin Quinlivan double to left. With two runners in scoring position, Tom Petry grounded a single to left to plate Cummings. But Bingel avoided further trouble by striking out Mike Sullivan and Scott Manea ending the threat.
“Obviously Bingel is a heck of a pitcher,” Pioneers coach Charlie Eppinger said. “We had some opportunities in that third inning and then in the fifth when Cummings led off with a double but we couldn’t get a bunt down to advance him and we ended up failing to score in that inning. If you can’t score in situations against a team like that it is going to come back to bite you and today it did.”