Moran, Hilltoppers Win Home Opener

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Jack MoranST. JOHNSBURY— Following a dominant first win of the season against Vergennes High School, the St. Johnsbury Academy baseball team hosted its home opener Thursday afternoon against BFA- St. Albans.

Jack Moran, a junior making his varsity pitching debut, led his team to a 6-4 victory before a nice crowd.

Moran got off to a shaky start, hitting the first batter of the game. He quickly settled down and retired the next three hitters, with two of those outs being his first two strikeouts of the 2017 season. 

"Jack came in throwing strikes," said captain Garret McDonald, a four year varsity player and the Hilltoppers' starting shortstop. "We had the bats going all game.”

St. Johnsbury was able to get on the board early. After Austin Wendell reached first base on an error and advanced to third,  McDonald drove him in with a sacrifice fly to centerfield.

Moran kept BFA off the board for the first three innings, but ran into trouble in the fourth. The Bobwhites were able to string together five hits and plated four runs off of Moran, but the right-hander was able to stop the bleeding. 

After getting one run back in the bottom of the fourth, the Hilltoppers' offense exploded in the fifth. With one out, Wendell smacked a double and then scored on a triple by sophomore Jacob Cady. McDonald then picked up his second RBI of the game on another sacrifice fly, making it a tie game. 

Patrick Greenan stepped to the plate with two runners on and two out in the bottom of the fifth. On an 0-1 count, Greenan knocked a single, driving in two and giving St. Johnsbury a 6-4 lead. 

“That momentum swing in that inning got us to that point,” said St. Johnsbury head coach Marc Choiniere. “Once we got those two runs and made it 6-4, Jack did his job.”

The two-run advantage was more than enough for Moran, who wound up going the distance for the Hilltoppers and earned his first win of the 2017 season.

“Jack did a great job in his first varsity start,” said Choiniere. “He’s the kind of guy who’s going to give up a few hits and he’s not going to strike out a ton of guys.”

Junior Jake Choiniere finished 3-for-3 with two runs scored and third baseman, Shane Alercio flashed the leather today, making a key diving stop in the lfifth inning. Looking ahead, the Hilltoppers next game will be Tuesday, April 25th at Missisquoi Valley High School.

"We're still taking things one game at a time but I'm very excited to see what the rest of the season brings," said McDonald.







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