Assistant Sports Editor
HOOSICK, N.Y. -- Sophomore right-hander Kealan Hitt had one inning under his belt -- a smooth, 1-2-3 frame at that -- but the scene was quite different during his second trip to the mound in his debut.
Two walks had runners on base behind him and a third, with two outs, loaded them. His response, an inning-ending strikeout, was just what Hoosick Falls Central School baseball coach Mike Lilac wanted to see in the first test for the youngest arm in the rotation.
"That was a very good sign for us because I didn't know what would happen," Lilac said.
Hitt wasn't perfect in his first varsity start but he was sturdy and plenty effective, pitching into the seventh inning for the Panthers, who claimed a 6-3 victory over Mount Anthony on Wednesday.
The Hoosick Falls (4-0) rookie scattered six hits with eight strikeouts and five walks on 92 pitches. He only exited after Shea Mooney lofted a home run over the left field fence to start the seventh inning -- leaving senior Billy Pine to nab the save.
"[Hitt] was chomping at the bit," Lilac said. "Games have been kind of spread out so we haven't needed him yet but we're going to need him a lot now. He can go out and win varsity games for us."
Logan Brogue and Tyler Rondeau set the tone for Hoosick Falls at the plate, each going 2-for-2 with a walk.
But the most painful blow for the Patriots was a third-inning error on a Pine ground ball with two outs that plated two runs and gave the Panthers the lead for good.
"That right there, that takes two runs off the board, it's 4-3," said MAU coach Walt Parmenter. "Maybe you change your thoughts in the last inning a bit, but that's baseball."
It was the day's only miscue on either side.
"We definitely stole a couple there -- a tough break for [O'Neill], but on the other hand, you put the ball in play and they have to field it," Lilac said.
Mount Anthony nosed in front in the top half of the frame when Marcus LaFlamme, who came off the bench to replace Zach Bahan after an injury, flared a two-out single over second base. Cameron Bow, already on second after smacking a double to right-center, motored home for the early lead.
But it was the only time MAU starter Bailey O'Neill saw the lead. O'Neill went six innings, yielding six hits, striking out six and walking three while frustrating the top half of the Panthers' order.
"[O'Neill] did well for us but just didn't get the support at times when he needed it," Parmenter said.
In the seventh, Pine loaded the bases with three walks, giving the Patriots some late hope, but shut the door with three straight punch-outs.
"It was like night and day. That's the Billy we know," Lilac said.
Mooney finished 2-for-4 for Mount Anthony, while LaFlamme went 2-for-2 with a walk.
Hoosick Falls travels to face Tamarac today at 4:15 p.m. while the Patriots are off until Tuesday.