Mike D'Acunti's double drives in two runs in the fourth...

Mike D'Acunti's double drives in two runs in the fourth inning against St. John the Baptist. (May 4, 2012) Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Mike D'Acunti entered the three-game series against St. John the Baptist in a slump. He ended the series as one of the key cogs in St. Anthony's ascent to first place.

D'Acunti went 2-for-3 with a double, walk and two RBIs on Friday and finished the series 5-for-9 with two doubles, a triple and a home run as St. Anthony's, the home team, defeated St. John the Baptist, 7-2, in CHSAA baseball at St. John the Baptist.

"I was just trying to match our fourth hitter Dave Groeneveld, who has been demolishing baseballs," D'Acunti said. "I had to simplify things and get on base. I was grounding out and he was hitting home runs, so I needed to step it up a little bit."

He did. Matt Costleigh walked to lead off the bottom of the fourth and Mike Gentile reached on his second bunt single of the game. The throw to first base went into rightfield allowing Costleigh to score to put the Friars ahead 2-1.

After a walk, a failed suicide squeeze resulting in an out at home plate and another walk, D'Acunti delivered a two-run double to extend the lead to 4-1.

"I wasn't trying to do much," he said. "I just wanted to put the bat on the ball. We needed one solid hit to get us rolling."

Brian Tinney pitched six innings and allowed six hits, one walk and struck out seven for St. Anthony's (11-4, 9-4) to improve to 4-1. SJB is 8-5, 8-5.

"I was hitting the outside corner and the curveball was working," Tinney, a junior, said. "Getting those runs in the fourth boosted the team."

St. Anthony's coach John Phelan said of Tinney: "He has really stepped up. He had good command and pounded the strike zone. He has figured it out. He has become a presence on the mound. He knows he belongs now. He will challenge hitters. He didn't do that early in the season."

St. Anthony's has won seven consecutive games and leads the league by one game over St. John the Baptist and Holy Trinity with five games left in the regular season.

"It was a very big series for us," Phelan said. "We have been getting better. Guys are figuring it out. We raised the expectations for them and they're performing well."