DORCHESTER, MASS. -– Consistency has been hard to come by for BC High’s pitching staff this season, but the Eagles found some much needed mojo on the mound Thursday afternoon.
Eric Simonelli and Andrew Jaehnig, battery mates for the first six innings, combined for a three-hit shutout as the Eagles dispatched Lincoln-Sudbury 5-0.
Simonelli needed just 90 pitches as he struck out seven Wildcat batters, while never allowing more than one base runner in an inning.
“I just came out throwing strikes. My defense is going to make plays out there. The last start wasn’t what I wanted it to be,” explained Simonelli. “I just came out focused and relaxed, and I got it done.”
“Bad performance, good performance,” said BC High head coach Norm Walsh. “The question is going to be: can he back it up the next time he goes out there? That’s been the issue all season,” explained Walsh of his pitching staff’s woes when it comes to putting up back-to-back solid starts.
Jaehnig, who did a terrific job calling the game behind the plate, showed off his arm, nailing Lincoln-Sudbury’s Ryan Beradino out at second on an attempted steal in the sixth inning.
“He’s so valuable behind the plate,” said Walsh.
“Andrew called a really good game today,” boasted Simonelli.
That show of arm strength was just the appetizer for the senior tri-captain. Jaehnig came on in relief for the seventh inning and needed just nine pitches to mow down Lincoln-Sudbury in order. He fanned two and got another batted to fly out to shallow right field.
“That’s his first inning of the year. I’ve been scrambling for pitching. I know Andrew has pitched in the past, but because he catches I’ve always been reluctant to use a catcher in that situation,” explained Walsh.
“It’s his first time pitching ever [at the high school level]. He was throwing really well. Hopefully he can be our closer for the rest of the season,” said Simonelli.
Jaehnig had some breathing room in a non-close situation thanks to his massive two-run triple in the bottom of the previous inning. His long shot into left field would have been a home run at many ballparks in the state.
The Eagles, despite having plenty of chances through the first five innings, were only up 2-0 entering the bottom of the sixth. BC High had left eight men on base through the first five innings.
But in the sixth inning, the Eagles’ fate began to change. Joe Roddy and Pat Keohane each reached base on a walk before being plated by Jaehnig’s bomb to leftfield.
Junior shortstop Nick Tropeano had two RBI on the game. He singled in the first inning to score outfielder Chris LaLiberte and his one-bagger in the sixth provided extra insurance with Jaehnig crossed home plate.
Keohane, who reached base three times, had the game’s other RBI in the bottom of the fourth inning on a single up the middle.
“Pat’s average is about .280 now, but that doesn’t reflect the quality of at-bats he’s had all season,” Walsh said. “One game he was 0-3, but he hit all three balls on the button. He’s worked his way up the batting order. With his ability to work the count and get on base, we’ve moved him up to the two-hole.”
BC High has another big game Friday against St. John’s of Shrewsbury, before a clash with Catholic Conference rival Catholic Memorial next Monday.
“The last few games we haven’t been putting our best effort out there, but we have a couple big games coming up. We’re heading in the right direction and we’re going to carry today’s play right into the next few games,” said Simonelli.
“We played a good team today. We got a couple clutch hits, but we have to get a lot better as a baseball team,” said Walsh of his team’s prognosis going forward.