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Hartford Rides Young Arms to Easy Victory

  • Hartford's Connor Brooks jumps to catch the ball during the second inning of the Fair Haven at Hartford boys baseball game in White River Junction, Vt., on May 2, 2014. <br/>Valley News - Sarah Priestap

    Hartford's Connor Brooks jumps to catch the ball during the second inning of the Fair Haven at Hartford boys baseball game in White River Junction, Vt., on May 2, 2014.
    Valley News - Sarah Priestap Purchase photo reprints »

  • Jacob Perkins, left, fist bumps his teammate Nick Terino after they each scored in the first inning of the Fair Haven at Hartford boys baseball game in White River Junction, Vt., on May 2, 2014. <br/>Valley News - Sarah Priestap

    Jacob Perkins, left, fist bumps his teammate Nick Terino after they each scored in the first inning of the Fair Haven at Hartford boys baseball game in White River Junction, Vt., on May 2, 2014.
    Valley News - Sarah Priestap Purchase photo reprints »

  • Hartford's Connor Brooks jumps to catch the ball during the second inning of the Fair Haven at Hartford boys baseball game in White River Junction, Vt., on May 2, 2014. <br/>Valley News - Sarah Priestap
  • Jacob Perkins, left, fist bumps his teammate Nick Terino after they each scored in the first inning of the Fair Haven at Hartford boys baseball game in White River Junction, Vt., on May 2, 2014. <br/>Valley News - Sarah Priestap

White River Junction — Jarrod Grassi has been coaching Hartford High baseball for 10 years. He has coached a state champion (2009) and a team that lost its first six games (2013), but he’s never had a team that jumped out of the starting gate with four straight wins.

“Let’s just say I’m happy, but not satisfied,” Grassi said after his Hurricanes scored five runs in the first inning en route to a 9-1 win over Fair Haven on Thursday.

Highlighting the happiness part is a youthful pitching staff that is six and maybe even seven arms deep. On Thursday, a freshman started, a freshman finished and a junior worked in between.

Grassi says all the pitchers are still auditioning, but Thursday marked the second appearances of starter Dylan Spencer and closer Jordy Allard.

Spencer pitched the first five innings, giving up one run on four hits with six strikeouts. Grassi was not lavishing praise on anybody, but he acknowledged that Spencer had a couple of pitches that impressed him. The other freshman, Allard, had a clean seventh inning with two strikeouts.

Steve Cerrone gave up a couple of hits, but got key strikeouts when he needed them. The trio of hurlers combined to strike out 10 batters.

The defense, meanwhile, made just one error and the offense had eight hits.

“We’re still trying to find out which nine will play where,” Grassi said.

Hartford pretty much put the game away in a first inning that saw a lot of everything. It started with a Connor Brooks infield hit. Cerrone forced Brooks at second, but an error and a walk loaded the bases for Brandon Gaudet, who singled home two.

Moments later, a Jake Perkins single scored two runs and Perkins scored on an Allard double.

Hartford added a run in the second on a Codi Smith double and a Greg Shinn single. The final three runs trotted home in the fourth and Smith had his second double and two more came in on a two-out throwing error.

It’s been a tough season so far for the Slaters, who are 0-4 and have been outscored 57-6. Thursday, they not only struck out 10 times, but made four errors and had just four hits.

“We’re just not making good baseball decisions,” veteran coach Kyle Ruby said. “We don’t think what we’re going to do when the ball is hit to us. We make too many errors and take too many pitches. We’ve got to put the ball in play.”

Nate Bowen started on the mound for the Slaters and gave up four runs. Sam Eaton did not give up a hit in the 21⁄3 innings he worked.

Smith and Shinn had two hits apiece for the Hurricanes, who go to Lyndon on Saturday.