Baseball: Sam Connors, Mahar get past Smith Academy for win No. 2 (PHOTOS)

Mahar pitcher Sam Connors (0) gets his glove on a pop up in foul territory during the Senators’ 13-6 victory over Smith Academy on Monday in Orange.

Mahar pitcher Sam Connors (0) gets his glove on a pop up in foul territory during the Senators’ 13-6 victory over Smith Academy on Monday in Orange. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

Smith Academy’s Garrett Willard (7) heads home to score a run after a passed ball against Mahar during the Senators’ 13-6 victory  on Monday in Orange.

Smith Academy’s Garrett Willard (7) heads home to score a run after a passed ball against Mahar during the Senators’ 13-6 victory on Monday in Orange. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

Mahar pitcher Sam Connors (0) throws out a Smith Academy batter at first base during the Senators’ 13-6 victory on Monday in Orange.

Mahar pitcher Sam Connors (0) throws out a Smith Academy batter at first base during the Senators’ 13-6 victory on Monday in Orange. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

Mahar’s Luke Connors (11) makes contact against Smith Academy during the Senators’ 13-6 victory on Monday in Orange.

Mahar’s Luke Connors (11) makes contact against Smith Academy during the Senators’ 13-6 victory on Monday in Orange. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

Smith Academy shortstop Cam Graves (13) hauls in a pop up for an out against Mahar during the host Senators’ 13-6 victory on Monday in Orange.

Smith Academy shortstop Cam Graves (13) hauls in a pop up for an out against Mahar during the host Senators’ 13-6 victory on Monday in Orange. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

Mahar second baseman David Vitello (1) throws out a Smith Academy runner at first base during the Senators’ 13-6 victory on Monday in Orange.

Mahar second baseman David Vitello (1) throws out a Smith Academy runner at first base during the Senators’ 13-6 victory on Monday in Orange. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

Mahar right fielder Tristen Gaj (23) tries to collect the ball during the Senators’ 13-6 victory over Smith Academy on Monday in Orange.

Mahar right fielder Tristen Gaj (23) tries to collect the ball during the Senators’ 13-6 victory over Smith Academy on Monday in Orange. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

By THOMAS JOHNSTON

Staff Writer

Published: 04-15-2024 8:13 PM

ORANGE — The Mahar baseball team couldn’t have asked for a better first inning on Monday against Smith Academy. 

After Sam Connors shut down the Falcons in the top of the frame, it didn’t take the Senator bats long to get going when it was their turn at the plate. 

Mahar’s first five batters reached base in the first, and it finished the inning with five hits and four walks to ultimately put 10 runs on the board to take a commanding early lead. Errors allowed the Falcons to get back in it but Smith Academy was unable to overcome that first frame, with the Sens walking away with a 13-6 Bi-County North victory. 

“We jumped out with the bats early,” Mahar coach Dan Guertin said. “Then we proceeded to make it a game with very poor defense. I expect them to be better than that. It was just a very bad day defensively.” 

Smith Academy coach Jacob Butler said he was proud of the way his team clawed back after falling into a steep early early hole. 

“We came back and hit,” Butler said. “Our baserunners did a better job. We just have to find a way to be better across the board defensively. We’ll dig in the dirt and find some gold.”

Sam Connors and Luke Connors opened the bottom of the first with consecutive walks before Morgan Softic knocked Sam Connors in with a base hit up the middle to put Mahar on the board. 

Will Barnes was hit by a pitch, Lucas Isrow singled to drive in Luke Connors and David Vitello grounded out, but Softic scored in the process before Hunter Brooks singled in Isrow, putting the Senators ahead, 4-0. 

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The scoring didn’t stop there. Matt Vitello walked to load the bases for Sam Connors, who singled to drive in Vitello and Brooks. Matt Vitello scored on a wild pitch and later, an error sent Connors home before wild pitches brought in Luke Connors and Softic, giving Mahar its 10-0 lead after one. 

The Senators added a run in the second. Isrow drew a walk to open the inning, moved to second on a Brooks base hit and an error allowed Isrow to score and give Mahar an 11-0 lead. 

Smith Academy (0-2) began chipping away in the third, taking advantage of some Mahar errors in the field. The Sens made three miscues in the field on three consecutive at bats, resulting in Cameron Graves and Garrett Willard crossing home plate to cut the lead to 11-2. 

In the fourth, Smith’s Jake Wilcox reached on an error and Ryan McCoy walked to put two runners on for Graves, who put the ball in play. The throw to first was offline which allowed Wilcox to score and the throw to get McCoy at third was also offline, allowing him to score and give Smith a pair of runs. With Wilcox on third following the errors, he scored on a wild pitch, cutting the lead to 11-5 going into the bottom of the frame. 

An error put McCoy on to open the top of the sixth for Smith Academy. He moved to second after a walk, stole third and crossed home on a passed ball to cut it to 11-6. 

Mahar (2-0) got two back in the bottom of the sixth to put the game away. Brooks cracked a single, Tristen Gaj got on with an error before Sam Connors hit a sacrifice fly to drive in Brooks. Luke Connors singled in Gaj to give the Sens a 13-6 lead going into the seventh. 

Sam Connors tossed the opening six innings for Mahar, giving up just one infield single to Issak Baranoski in the sixth and striking out seven. Barnes came on in the seventh to seal the win. 

Due to the number of errors (seven), it wasn’t the kind of win Guertin was hoping his team would snag on Monday. 

“It’s always nice to walk away with a win,” Guertin said. “We don’t feel good about this win but you feel even worse if you take a loss. You can’t feel good when you have as many errors as we had.” 

Darren Caney came on to pitch in the second for the Falcons and slowed down the Mahar bats the rest of the way. With a young squad, Butler is looking for better execution moving forward. 

“We have to learn how to show up and execute,” Jacob Butler said. “Each and every player holds each other accountable and I think we’ll fix the errors. We have a game at home on Wednesday and we’re looking for a different outcome.”