Following recent Liberty District losses to Stone Bridge, 6-3, and Madison, 7-4, the McLean High baseball team got back into the win column last Saturday afternoon with a 10-2 win at non-district opponent Annandale High.
Notching the win on the mound for McLean was freshman pitcher Billy Heberton, who allowed two runs over four innings in his first varsity start. He fanned two and walked a batter.
Heberton (1-0) had come out of the bullpen in three previous pitching appearances this spring. And in his first start against the Atoms, he came up with a strong outing.
"He did a good job," said McLean coach John Thomas, of the ninth grader. "We’re working with Billy on mechanics and in attacking the hitters and going after guys. [On Saturday] he did that. He got five groundball outs over four innings."
At the plate, McLean had a big game from Sean Fitzgerald (.474 batting average), who had three hits and three RBIs. Also, senior right fielder Corey Cannon, making his first varsity start, connected for two hits.
"Corey’s a kid that has worked very hard," said Thomas. "He’s a left-handed hitter with a good swing."
McLean led Annandale 2-0 after one inning and 5-0 after three innings on way to the decisive win.
"It was good to step out of the district and play well," said Thomas. "We had contributions all the way around."
Thomas said the field conditions at Annandale were good following the recent rain that resulted in numerous Northern Region games not being played on Friday night.
"The infield played great," he said. "There was not a bad hop all game. The kids liked the field a lot."
<b>IN ITS PRIOR</b> game, McLean lost at Madison in a district contest on April 1. The Highlanders jumped on the Warhawks with three first inning runs before Madison rallied for the 7-4 win.
McLean sophomore starting pitcher Sean Fitzgerald, the team’s ace, pitched well over six innings of work, with the exception of the second inning when Madison plated five runs.
"Sean pitched a very good game, but had a bad second inning," said Thomas.
McLean junior Erik Payne knocked a two-run double in the first inning to lead the Highlanders’ six hit attack. Other hits in the game came from Fitzgerald and sophomore Denis Buckley.
McLean has been getting a good season thus far from sophomore outfielder Riley Beiro, the team’s leadoff hitter. Beiro, an outstanding defensive center fielder, has stolen 14 bases this season. He has reached first base five times after getting hit by a pitch.
"He’s tenacious," said Thomas. "He’s very good in center field and on the bases. He’s very fast. He’s playing center field as well as the position can be played by a high school kid. Honestly, he’s made four or five catches already where you just shake your head."
Last fall, Beiro played at tailback for the McLean football team and is thought of as being perhaps the school’s best overall athlete.
This week, McLean was scheduled to play district games against Jefferson High on Monday, South Lakes on Tuesday and Marshall on Friday. The Friday game against the Statesmen will be played at Marshall.