HOLY GHOST PREP 11, DEVON PREP 3

A hip injury, slow start at the plate and an already crowded outfield were factors in keeping Julian Turner out of Holy Ghost Prep's starting lineup most of last season.

"That made me focused on getting off to a good start this year," the 6-foot, 180-pounder said. "Also, since we graduated a lot of key players, I knew I had to be ready to contribute right away."

Turner continued a solid beginning in Thursday afternoon's  Bicentennial Athletic League showdown against Devon Prep. He went 3 for 4 with two runs and a stolen base as the host Firebirds cruised past the young Tide, 11-3, at Ted Grabowski Field.

The senior centerfielder and tricaptain is batting .480 (12 for 25) with 14 RBIs, 12 runs, 11 stolen bases, three home runs, and a double.

"He's very patient at the plate, he can work the count, and he's hitting to all fields," Holy Ghost first-year manager Vince Rossomando said.

Turner performed well in front of the 40 or so major-league scouts on hand to watch teammate Nolan Jones. The hard-hitting shortstop and closer is a possible first-round selection in June's first-year player draft.

The scouts stayed around to watch Jones, a 6-foot-4, 215-pound senior who has committed to Virginia, take batting-practice swings

The Phillies were represented by Joe Jordan, the club's director of player development, and Gene Schall, an area scout who starred at La Salle High and Villanova.

"I don't think it's a distraction for us," Turner said. "Actually, I like the atmosphere. I think it's more exciting to play with all those guys here. It's a pretty big deal."

From the No. 3 spot in the order, Jones went 1 for 2 with a pair of walks. The feared lefty hitter flew out to left field in the third inning and produced a one-hop single to center in the sixth.

"He handles it all so well," Turner said. "He doesn't change his approach no matter who's watching. He's really mature."

The Firebirds (7-0 overall, 7-0 BAL) banged out 13 hits vs. the Tide. Batting behind Jones, Turner singled in the first, fourth, and sixth. He reached base on an error and scored in the third.

Junior righthander Peyton Birch held Devon Prep (7-3, 6-1) to three hits and fanned eight in six innings. Jones came on in the seventh and, with his fastball reaching 93 m.p.h. on the radar gun, struck out the side.

Birch, who upped his record to 3-0, belted a solo homer to left in a three-run fifth. He drew a bases-load walk in a four-run sixth.

Turner was a staring wing for Holy Ghost's PIAA District 1 Class AAA basketball title squad this year. The 17-year old from Yardley plans to attend Penn State and concentrate on his studies.

Of playing for longtime Firebirds hoops coach Tony Chapman, Turner said, "He helped me a ton with my qork ethic and being a leader. I got a lot from him."

Devon Prep 100 101 0-3 4 5

Holy Ghost Prep 003 134 X-11 13 1

WP: Peyton Birch. LP: Danny Brace. 2B: DP-T.J. O'Reilly, Tony Gallo; HGP-Philip Stahl. HR: HGP-Birch.