St. John’s Prep in Catholic Conference driver’s seat

St. John's Prep celebrates a run as BC High's Matt Neilsen walks back to position as BC High baseball hosts once-beaten St. John's Prep in Boston. JOSH REYNOLDS FOR THE BOSTON GLOBE (Sports, Holmes)
St. John's Prep celebrated a run against BC High. (Josh Reynolds / For the Boston Globe)
The Boston Globe

The St. John’s Prep baseball team opened the season by losing to rival Xaverian but haven’t tasted defeat since, winning 10 straight in impressive fashion.

St. John’s Prep has scored 93 runs and have given up just 24. In fact, the Eagles hadn’t given up more than two runs again until April 24 when it handed BC High its first loss, 6-5.

“BC High is a very good team and anybody could’ve won that game. Paul Crehan hit a key three-run double, Dustin Hunt did well in relief,” said Prep coach Pat Yanchus.

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Crehan drove in three of the Prep’s four runs in the fifth inning and Hunt recorded the last six outs of the gamein relief for starter Brandon Bingel, who has been the team’s best all year according to Yanchus.

“He’s 4-0 right now. Our pitchers have been concentrating on getting first pitch strikes and staying ahead of batters,” said Yanchus.

Bingel has pitched 20 innings so far this season, giving up just two walks during that time span. He’s not the only Prep pitcher doing well on the mound, either. Justin Snyder and Hunt have a combined 26 innings of work and just eight walks surrendered between them. Overall, the pitching staff has given up just 18 free trots to first base over 11 games.

BC High coach Norm Walsh said St. John’s Prep had the best arms in the conference, something that Yanchus somewhat agrees with.

“I haven’t seen all the Catholic Conference teams pitching but we do have really good pitching and a lot of pitchers to go to. It’s a good feeling to have someone ready to come in any game,” the Prep coach explained.

On the offensive side, the Eagles have been just as impressive, drawing 61 walks so far, turning many of those free bases into earned runs. Batter Tony Buonapane has 15 runs scored and 11 RBIs while Crehan is leading the team in average, hitting .423 at the plate.

“He’s been a pleasant surprise,” Yanchus said of Crehan.

Crehan is one of Eagles hitting .400 or better.

“That’s tough to do against good pitching,” said Yanchus.

As for the rest of the season, the Prep has four more Catholic Conference battles to go and several tough nonleague games left.

“All conference games are tight or at least they start out that way. We’ve got some tough nonleague games like St. John’s of Shrewsbury, Danvers [which is] undefeated and Chelmsford has been playing well. We approach all games the same way and just try to do what we do. We don’t really look ahead too much right now we’re just thinking about Xaverian on Wednesday,” Yanchus said.

“Xaverian is a good team. They’ve got good pitching and hitting. They definitely beat us the first game, that wasn’t a fluke,” the Eagles coach said of their upcoming opponent.

Games of the Week

 BC High at Lincoln-Sudbury, Wednesday — While the Prep and Xaverian are battling it out, BC High will be involved in a tough nonleague game. Lincoln-Sudbury is 5-3 and is in first place in the Dual County League large division. The Eagles just beat a very good Chelmsford team and will need to carry that momentum.

 Amesbury at North Reading, Saturday — The Hornets are running away with Division 1 of the Cape Ann League at 8-0 but they’ve got a tough test coming up. Amesbury (4-4) is the second-place team in the Cape Ann League Division 2.