The Cardinals used their aggressiveness to top Chaney, 9-2.
By ROBERT J. FUSCO
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- For the Cardinal Mooney High baseball team to be successful this spring, the Cardinals are going to have to be aggressive.
They showed exactly that from the start Thursday, scoring three first-inning runs en route to a 9-2 season-opening win over Chaney at the Wick Recreation Area.
"We're going to have to be that type of team all season," said Mooney coach Tom Flynn, in his 16th season. "We have to be aggressive, but at the same time, we have to be disciplined. When the pitch is there, we have to attack it."
Mooney got off to the quick start when Mike McDermott singled on the first pitch of the game. Jon Grist followed with a sacrifice bunt, but an errant throw put runners on second and third.
Jeff Hehr followed with a sacrifice fly, Grist scored on a passed ball and Brian Drummond slapped a two-out single to score Mike Babyak, who doubled, giving Mooney a 3-0 lead.
"When you're on the road, you have to score early and put your opponent on the defensive," Flynn said. "We have to manufacture runs and we did just that in the first inning."
Mooney then broke open the close game in the fifth and sixth innings.
Hehr and Dean Palombaro both reached on errors and scored on Babyak's two-out triple to right in the fifth.
Grist slapped a two-run single and Hehr followed with a line shot down the third-base line that turned into a two-run homer to make the count 9-1.
Hehr led a balanced Mooney offensive assault with two hits, including the home run, and three RBIs.
"He's an exceptionally talented player in all phases of the game," Flynn said of his junior shortstop, who also stole a pair of bases. "He's an intelligent player with all the tools -- good hands, good eye and knowledge of the strike zone. He's a Division I prospect."
McDermott and Babyak had two hits apiece for the Cardinals.
"I'm pleased with our performance in all phases of the game," Flynn said. "I thought we would be a little behind offensively, but we hit the ball well."
Senior Matt Uchinno pitched the first four innings to earn the win. Joe Irwin and Mark Seddon closed out the seven-hit, six-strikeout performance. The trio walked only one.
"I'm very happy with all three of our pitchers," Flynn said. "We really didn't get much of a chance to get outside and didn't scrimmage much before this game. We're not throwing as hard as we can, but that will come as the season progresses. I thought our pitchers changed speeds well and had excellent location."
Adam Boris had two hits, including an RBI double in the first, and Dan Balog added two singles for the Cowboys (1-1). John Shaffo drove in Chaney's other run with a single in the sixth.