The St. John’s’ game Wednesday night at No. 7 Paul VI Catholic began innocently enough, with a putout on an attempted bunt and a groundout to second.
Then, assuming it’s okay to say as much at a Catholic school, all hell broke loose. Ten consecutive St. John’s batters reached, aided by about six errors, many on overthrows, to spur an eight-run outburst in an eventual 11-0 five-inning win.
It capped a heady two days for the No. 4 Cadets. The previous night they beat No. 5 DeMatha. St. John’s had lost to both the Stags and Paul VI by one run the first time through the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference schedule.
“It’s definitely a confidence booster,” said Ole Miss-bound senior shortstop Errol Robinson, whose lineout to end the first inning might have been the hardest hit ball during “all that chaos,” as he called it.
“Going down the first two [batters], we know we still have a whole bunch of guys in this lineup who can do a lot of damage,” Robinson said.
Senior Bobby Campbell started the onslaught with a two-out single to left field. Robinson, juniors Brodie Leftridge and Adrian Peralta and seniors Evan Flax and Cory Paton all followed with hits. Two of the next four batters reached on errors, another walked and sophomore A.J. Lee delivered an RBI single.
“I’ve never been a part of anything like that,” St. John’s Coach Mark Gibbs said.
All that early scoring — the Cadets (13-4, 8-2) tacked on three runs in the second — was a welcome disruption to routine for senior right-hander Harry Thomas, who threw a two-hitter.
He was warmed up to pitch at 5:55 p.m., or so. The game started about 10 minutes late, and then with the opening rally, he did not take the mound until about 6:45.
“It was great to watch,” said Thomas, who was not in the batting lineup. “Honestly, I didn’t want to go out there. I love seeing my guys hit. I kept throwing [on the side] and looking back every pitch. New baserunner, new baserunner, score going up.”
Thomas struck out eight, including the side in the second and third innings. He gave up an infield hit to junior Andrew Page to open the bottom of the first and a single to center to junior Jack Morgan in the fourth, the only batted ball to reach the outfield.
“Best he’s thrown all year, best breaking ball he’s had all year,” Gibbs said. “That’s the kind of performance we needed out of him tonight whether it was an 11-0 game or a 1-0 game.”
Paul VI (14-6, 7-4), which gave junior left-hander Alexander Kelley his first start of the season, was playing its third game in as many nights. The lopsided loss Wednesday marked the second time in a week that the Panthers had been blown out. They lost 10-0 to Good Counsel last Thursday and also 14-0 to DeMatha earlier in the season.