St. Anne’s-Belfield’s Greg Wise wasn’t feeling good Thursday, so at practice, an already slightly banged up Saints squad held open auditions for his spot at second base.
Surprisingly, pitcher/outfielder Brett Johnson was all over every ground ball in practice, and suddenly one of the VISAA’s top-3 teams inserted a second baseman into the lineup who’d never played the spot. And they did it in a critical game with St. Christopher’s.
“It was kind of a shock but I just tried to do the best I could,” Johnson said.
Johnson didn’t just survive Friday night, he thrived as STAB rolled 11-3 over St. Chris. The junior started three double plays in the fourth, sixth and seventh innings, with the first two ending the inning. For good measure, he uncorked a solo homerun to put the Saints up 6-1.
“He hit the ball well, he fielded well and he made a bunch of plays,” said STAB coach Alan Swanson. “Brett stepped in and did a great job. We didn’t put him there reluctantly—we put him there with a lot of confidence.”
Johnson’s surprising performance overshadowed a solid all-around night for Charlie Murray, who picked up the win on the mound with four innings of work. The senior struck out four, surrendered just four hits and a single earned run. Murray helped his own cause at the plate going 2 for 4 with a homerun, a double and four RBI. Murray’s home run came in the second and his double brought in three runs in the bottom of the sixth to end any realistic hope of a St. Chris rally. Michael Morris relieved Murray and threw three innings and surrendered just a pair of runs.
“If you throw strikes and go at them, we’ll make some plays,” Swanson said.
Josh Gibson went 2 for 4 with a pair of RBI and a double. David Spinosa posted his own solid offensive outing with two doubles while Brain Yeagle went 2 for 3 with an RBI.
The Saints head to Fork Union Tuesday for another Prep League matchup at 4:30 p.m.