DANVERS, Mass. — The last thing Catholic Memorial head coach Hal Carey wanted to do was drop the league opener with a big break until its next Catholic Conference tilt.
Thanks to John Gorman’s work on the bump and at the plate, Carey doesn’t have to worry about that anymore.
The BC-bound Gorman scattered two hits and overcame five walks in six scoreless innings, and collected three RBI at the plate to give the Knights (3-0) a 5-0 win over host St. John’s Prep (3-1) on Thursday afternoon.
“We didn’t want to be sitting at 0-1 for the next 10 days waiting to try to bounce back," said Carey, whose team won't play another league opponent until May 25. "Last year we started 0-2 and still won the league, but it’s not something we want to make a habit of.”
Gorman has had his struggles at the plate to begin the season, but he broke out with a couple of key at-bats in the late stages of the game. In the top of the fifth, with CM up 2-0, Gorman ripped an opposite-field double to the gap to plate Steve Pike and Nick Barker.
Barker, who hustled all the way from first on the play, made a heads up play to get on base in front of Gorman. With the third baseman playing even with the bag, the left-handed hitting Barker put down a perfect bunt and beat out the throw to force the issue with no outs in the inning.
“He’s a good base-hit bunter,” said Carey. “Worst case it’s sacrifice bunt, best case it’s kind of what happened. He beats it out or a throw gets away and we get first and second with (Gorman) up.”
Barker summed up his job as the Knights’ lead-off hitter: “Anything I can do to basically get on base, run the table and score runs,” he said.
In the top of the sixth, Gorman delivered again with hard-hit ground ball that just got under the third baseman to bring home Pike for the 5-0 cushion.
“He just puts so much pressure on himself,” Carey said of Gorman’s early offensive struggles. “It’s tough in baseball when you are a very good player. Everyone knows you are good and thinks you are going to get hits every time you get up. … He hit two hard hit base-hits, which will get him on track a little bit.”
Getting on track on the mound hasn’t been an issue in the early season for Gorman. His first time out he tossed a no-hitter, and although his command was off a little bit today, he showed that he is able to still dominate a game without his best stuff.
Gorman struck out six, with the biggest one coming in the bottom of the fifth.
After getting two ground ball outs to begin the frame, Gorman gave up a single and issued back-to-back walks to load the bases, but he regrouped and got Dillon Gonzalez looking with a nasty back-door breaking ball to end the threat.
“Me and (Barker) were on the same page on that,” said Gorman. “We both knew what I wanted there. My curveball had been up a little bit, so I really wanted to make a good pitch with that. I knew I needed that pitch and it was a big spot for us.”