By Joseph Staszewski
Archbishop Molly is experiencing plenty of growing plains with its inexperienced club.
After graduating a large group of seniors from a team that reached the CHSAA baseball championship series, the Stanners are off to a .500 start after four games, including consecutive lopsided losses to defending city championship Xaverian.
The Clippers won 7-0 April 15 in Brooklyn and 11-5 the next day in Briarwood. Molloy’s five runs came with help from some Xaverian errors in bottom of the seventh.
“We are starting over,” said senior pitcher/designated hitter Scott Hannon. “It’s hard now. We got new guys.”
Hannon and catcher Vin Moss are the only players returning who saw significant game action last year, but even that was very limited. Hannon was a pitcher and Moss was the team’s designated hitter. There are plenty of new faces everywhere else.
“A lot of learning,” Molloy coach Brad Lyons said.
Sophomore Ruben Jimenez starts at shortstop and classmate Jack Turner drilled an RBI double as a pinch hitter against Xaverian. Seniors Ray Maurer, Matthew Lees and Chris Mshar will play first base, second base and right field, respectively. Classmates and brothers Emmanuel and Vasilis Hatzinikolaou join the hard-throwing Hannon in the pitching rotation.
“You are going to take your lumps sometime when you have eight new starters,” Lyons said.
While Molloy struggled to hit against Xaverian, Hannon believes rebounding will start with his team’s pitching getting on track, however. That is how the team won last year with the trio of him, Anthony Catinella and James McCleary on the mound.
Xaverian led 6-0 after two innings. Good pitching can take the pressure off the team’s young bats to produce.“The offense always helps, but whenever we use to win games here we had good pitching and good defense,” Hannon said. “Even last year we were all-right hitters. We didn’t blow out teams.”
Lyons’s focus right now is improvement. He believes there is plenty of talent on this team, but players need time to get use to playing at the varsity level. Molloy wants to peak late.
“We will get better,” Lyons said. “Our job is to get better every day and be playing our best ball come playoff time”