Prep shows resilience in comeback win

Coach Eric Shepperson fist bumps Prep’s William Shaheen after making it to first. Photo by Libby O'Neill file

MALDEN — It wasn’t pretty, but the St. John’s Prep Eagles fought back from a six-run deficit to earn a 17-9 away-from-home victory against Malden Catholic.

The Eagles found themselves down 7-1 going to the top of the fourth inning. Nothing was clicking and the Eagles needed players to step up. That’s when Nic Lembo (four RBI), Cam LaGrassa (five RBI), and Henry Hebert took over.

“A lot of guys contributed. Just not panicking and letting the hitting do the work, and the pitching started to do well again,” Eagles coach Dan Letarte said.

Lembo brought in a run in the fourth inning, and eventually scored off of a balk to make the game 7-3 with LaGrassa up to bat.

LaGrassa crushed a solo home run to right field, to continue the Eagles’ momentum and get them back to within three (7-4).

Fast forward to the next inning, it was again LaGrassa who came up clutch at the plate, driving in two RBI to cut it to a one-run game (7-8).

“It’s typical baseball. Timeless and it could have gone either way. Both teams struggled for a while, but then we started hitting,” Letarte said.

It was up to Hebert to keep the Lancers offense quiet and after a tricky first inning, he found his groove. After every inning, Hebert was full of emotion.

“I thought he was a momentum shift for the team. Having Henry come in and play well really helped us,” Letarte said.

Hebert finished the game with seven strikeouts and earned the win.

The Eagles scored four runs in each of the final four innings. Lembo was a big part of that.

Lembo finished the game 5-for-5 with a walk and a three-run home run to left-center field that gave Prep a 17-8 cushion in the sixth inning.

“That’s a deep shot. That’s at least a 400-foot drive to left-center field. For him to have that big of a day as a lead-off hitter was huge,” Letarte said. “He had a big day. He’s a sophomore and a strong football kid.”

When asked about the team’s resilience, Letarte mentioned the impact it will have on his young team.

“You’re down 7-1 and you find a way to win. Being the young team that we are, it’s a good confidence builder for them,” Letarte said.

Letarte was complimentary of the Lancers’ team, and knows his team will have to be focused when they meet again.

“Malden Catholic always plays us tough. We see them again on our field this year and we need to make sure we come out ready to play like they did today,” Letarte said.