MONTPELIER —w If you want to know what wins baseball games, talk to the coach.
Montpelier put it all together against Hazen on Wednesday, walking away with a 6-2 victory. And Solon coach JB McCarthy was quick to praise his team’s pitching and defense.
“We got a good pitching effort from Marshall Donahue, who threw a lot of strikes,” McCarthy said. “He made some big pitches and got some curveballs over, and we’ve been playing good defense in the field all year. That continued today, and that was good for us. We’ve got to continue to put the ball in play with the bats though. We had a good inning early getting on base and it really helped.”
Donahue was solid on the mound, scattering eight hits during six innings while striking out nine batters and walking two. It was the sophomore’s first career win for Montpelier.
“We’ve been struggling at bat lately – three runs in the past three games,” Donohue said. “My curveball was working pretty well today but I had some trouble hitting the corners with the fastball. But my team picked it up when we needed them to. Last year we didn’t do so well, so I think so far we’re doing pretty good.”
At the plate the Montpelier’s best weapon proved to be patience. With Hazen starter Finn Rooney struggling to find the plate, the Solons loaded up on walks and hit batsmen to build a 3-0 lead. Nicholas Beavin (double, walk), Avery Paull and Micah Bloomberg (one RBI) all crossed the plate.
“There was some good things out there and some not-so-good things,” Hazen coach Spencer Howard said. “We battled hard, but made some mental errors and physical errors. We had a few situations were we didn’t capitalize. We missed a couple of bunts and a couple of signs and failed to put pressure on them.”
A double from Rooney followed by a single off the bat of Hunter King set the table for Wyatt Bellavance to drive in Hazen’s first run of the game. They made contact against Donahue again in the top of the fifth inning as Tyson Davison led off with a single and stole second. Singles from King and Bellavance brought Davison home, closing the gap to 3-2.
“It helped that we jumped out early after Hazen got a little rally going and got back to 3-2,” McCarthy said. “We get men on base and then start taking good pitches. When it’s close like that anything can happen – we started popping up instead of hitting line drives. We’ve got to get over that.”
Fortunately for the Solons they managed to load the bases in the bottom of the inning. Taking advantage of a hit batter, a single from Aiden Murphy and a walk to Marshall Donohue, Isaak Donohue singled and Oliver Plavin walked to bring home two more runs. The Solons tacked on their sixth run of the game when pinch runner Jeffrey Harries crossed the plate to make it 6-2.
After a quick sixth from Marshall Donohue, Beavin picked the ball up for Montpelier in relief for the top of the seventh and struck out two of the three batters he faced.
Montpelier (5-4) will host Randolph on Friday. Hazen (2-8) will face Lamoille today.