DANVERS — Though Newburyport native and St. John’s Prep senior captain Evan Roberts tries to avoid the hype, his performance this seson has people calling him the best pitcher in Massachusetts.
“I’m very humbled by people saying that, but I don’t pay attention to that stuff,” Roberts said. “I just go out there every day and try to win games.”
And win games he has. In fact, that’s all he’s done. With a 5-0 record as a starting pitcher, Roberts has not only beaten his opponents but forced them to beat themselves. A ground ball pitcher, the Prep lefty works to keep his pitches below the knees, keeping the defense behind him busy.
“I throw a four-seam fastball, a two-seam fastball, a changeup and a curve ball,” Roberts said. “When I pitch, I try to get ahead in the count by throwing strikes. I don’t like walking people. I like to put the ball in play and let the guys behind me make plays.”
It’s a strategy that has paid dividends, as the Eagles have yet to record a defensive error with Roberts on the mound.
In 26 2/3 innings pitched, Roberts has faced 112 batters and has allowed nine hits, four walks and has been charged with just one run. He has struck out 30 batters, averaging 7.88 strikeouts per seven innings and owns a 0.26 ERA.
Along with his abilities as a starter, Roberts has also found success as a relief pitcher this season, most notably in his outing against Bishop Fenwick on April 22. Relied upon to get four timely outs, Roberts struck out all four batters he faced and earned the save by preserving his team’s 7-5 win.
“One of the kids he faced was 3-3 with three doubles,” said St. John’s Prep head coach Dan Letarte. “He came in under pressure and threw strikes, got outs and really picked up the team.”