No. 2 SJP takes care of No. 15 Everett

EVERETT, Mass. -- St. John’s Prep first baseman Sean Patrikas sent a rocket to left-centerfield over the heads of the Everett outfield for a two-run home run in the top of the seventh Saturday at Glendale Park, but by then it seemed the No. 2 Eagles had the game well in hand.

“He gave me kind of a hanging curveball,” said Patrikas. “It was a 2-2 count, so I got up there and just tried to hit it hard.”

The No. 2 Eagles took a 10-4 lead into the seventh inning, and when it was all said and done, came away with a 12-5 victory over the No. 15 Crimson Tide.

Everett (4-1) started the game well, getting on the board in the bottom of the first. After the St. John’s pitcher, Ryan Panaleo, walked two of the first three batters he faced, the runners advanced a base after a passed ball. The runner scored on a groundout, but Panaleo settled down and struck out two in the second inning.

“In the beginning, I was over-thinking a little bit and try to pinpoint to the corners and the umpire wasn’t really giving me the low strike,” he said. “I was trying to find what worked and I was trying to be too perfect.”

Joe Saia was economical on the mound for Everett during the first two innings, not giving up a hit. However, he gave up a single to Anthony Capuano in the top of the third and things could not seem to go right for the Crimson Tide from then on. That began a seven-run third inning for Prep (4-1) that saw them get only two hits, both by Capuano. After three walks and three fielding errors in the third, Prep went from being down a run to being ahead 6.

Saia was finished after 2.1 innings, having given up six walks and two strikeouts.

Having such a large lead helped Panaleo pitch to contact more and really go after hitters instead of trying to be “too perfect” like he was in the first inning.

“In the beginning I was stressing out a little too much and once the offense was great and they really picked it up for me, it made it a lot easier to attack the strike zone,” he said.

He ended up pitching five innings, giving up four runs, six walks, and three strikeouts on a cold and windy afternoon that had many fans and family members watching the last few innings from the comfort of their heated vehicles. He gave way to Mike Driscoll and Brandon Bingel for the final two innings.

“I didn’t think the weather had any impact on the way I pitched, because it’s tough to hit up their too,” he said. “I felt like the ball was still coming out of my hand really well. In the fifth inning, I told Coach I wanted to go out for one more inning and I still felt like my fastball was still coming out of my hand well and I started to mix in my change-ups more as the game went on, so I ended up feeling more comfortable and it worked out well.”

Everett got three runs back in the bottom of the third to cut the lead to 7-4, but it was not enough as Prep answered back with three of its own in the top of the fourth to bring the lead back to six.