SHREWSBURY, Mass. -- The BC High Eagles are a peculiar bunch. At times they can look like world beaters. Yet, there are those other instances when they under-perform.
It has turned into a guessing game with these Eagles as you never know what to expect on any given day. Right now, BC High is showing much upside. Holding on for 5-4 victory against St. John's (Shrewsbury) Friday afternoon at Pioneer Field, the Eagles (8-4) have rolled off three straight victories and put themselves back into the Super 8 conversation.
"I think we have gotten back on track," BC High head coach Norm Walsh said. "We got into a little bit of a funk early on but I think we've kind of righted the ship at this point. We are playing better baseball and sharper baseball. To me, it's the quality in how we play because most of the time the wins and losses will take care of themselves."
Since the start of the season, Walsh has been playing a chess match in terms of still trying to figure out what his starting pitching rotation will look like moving forward. At present, it has been a selection by committee. Against the Pioneers, Walsh may have discovered a hidden commodity with the potential to join Eric Simonelli, who blanked Lincoln-Sudbury on Thursday, and give the Eagles a solid one-two punch. Only time will tell.
Junior righty Sean Holleran was tabbed to start his first game just minutes prior to the start of the game. Walsh's decision certainly exceeded his own expectations. Holleran, who has been used extensively as a reliever, limited St. John's to a couple of infield singles over the first five innings before running out of gas in the sixth.
Holleran lasted six innings, allowing 2 runs on five hits. He also struck out 5 before departing with his club on top 5-2.
"I just tried to hit my spots," Holleran said. "I knew (St. John's) is a very good team so we knew we had to come out and play our best game to beat them. They put up a fight late but we were still able to come out on top. We had a little bit of a slide during the middle part of the season but it feels like we're starting to get it back now."
Back on April 12, the Eagles showed some fortitude after edging the Pioneers 4-3 in an eight-inning affair when Chris Laliberte laid down a suicide squeeze bunt to score Tommy Russo. Such dramatics were not on display the second time around until St. John's made a courageous comeback attempt in its half of the seventh.
After scoring a pair in the sixth, the Pioneers loaded the bases in the seventh with two out. NC State commit Scott Manea then lined a bullet single to right off of reliever Henry Ennen making it a one run contest. With Jake Rosen, who walked, standing on third and representing the tying run, it was now up to clean-up hitter P.J. Browne. But Ennen regrouped and got Browne to fly out to end the game.
"It wasn't our best effort today and you can't sleepwalk through the first five innings like we did," said Pioneers head coach Charlie Eppinger, his team now standing at 11-4. "These two games we've played against a good team like BC High and, with no disrespect to them, I felt both games were there for us and we didn't get either one.
"A good team is going to find a way to pull those things out. To comeback late and not win makes it all the more infuriating. To come back and do what we should have been doing for seven innings is very frustrating."
St. John's senior lefthander Steve D'Agostino struggled from the get-go, serving up a pair of runs in the first inning. He opened by getting ahead of Laliberte 0-2, before issuing four straight balls for a walk. After stealing second, Laliberte advance to third on Pat Keohane's infield single.
Keohane proceeded to swipe second putting both runners in scoring position. Laliberte scored moments later on Andrew Jaehnig's single. Keohane sprinted home soon thereafter on a double steal.
The Eagles scored three more times in the third. Keohane and Jaehnig both singled and came home on Russo's double to deep center. With Dan Barlock now pitching, the junior served up an RBI single to Sean Webster to make it 5-0.
Holleran continued to keep the Pioneers at bay. But in the sixth, the offense finally awoke. With one out, Tyler McKeon singled and Manea doubled to right. On the play, Webster, playing right field, over shot his cutoff man allowing McKeon to cross home.
Manea scored a short time later on Browne's double to left-centerfield. The revitalized offense would carry over into the next frame for St. John's only to come up a run shy.
"Sean did an unbelievable job for us today," Walsh said. "I wasn't sure what I was going to get out of him because he hadn't started for us. But he's been getting better each time he's been out there. On the ride out here I was still trying to figure out who would get the ball.
"I was actually hoping to get three innings out of Sean, to be honest with you. But each inning he went out there he just continued to get better so I just kept sending him out there. We're still grappling in trying to get a rhythm going in terms of what our pitching is."