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Michigan State signee powers Mona Shores past Montague in 2023 baseball season opener

Senior standout Jaxon Huffman pitches, hits in leading Sailors to 7-0 win over Wildcats in chilly conditions.

NORTON SHORES — A Montague baseball team with several new faces was facing a tall order in its 2023 season opener Wednesday at Mona Shores.

Montague fell to Mona Shores, 7-0, in low-40s temperatures at Sailor Field where the Wildcats stepped in the box against hard-throwing Michigan State signee Jaxon Huffman of the Sailors.

Mona Shores, which won 30 games last season, scored two runs in the first inning, four in the fourth and one in the fifth.

Here are more details and notables from the game followed by dozens of photos:

  • Montague managed two hits in the game: Singles by senior Kade Johnson and senior Michael Moore.
  • Montague ace Kade Johnson took the loss. In 1 2/3 innings, the right-hander allowed two runs (both earned) on four hits with four strikeouts and two walks.
  • River Jarka pitched two innings for Montague. The left-hander allowed four runs (zero earned) on three hits with two strikeouts and two walks.
  • Bryton Belinger pitched 2 1/3 innings for Montague. The right-hander surrendered one earned run on two hits with two strikeouts and no walks.
  • It doesn’t get much easier for Montague in its next game, as the Wildcats travel to Fruitport next Tuedsay (March 28) to face a Trojans squad coming off a 21-win season in which the team advanced to the Division 2 regional finals.
  • Montague is coming off a 23-15 season in which the Wildcats captured the outright West Michigan Conference title and advanced to the Division 3 regional finals.
  • Jeff Moss is the new head baseball coach for Montague. He has coached baseball for 20 years, but this is his first head-coaching assignment at the varsity level. Moss takes over for Kevin Buchberger, who resigned following last season to pursue other interests. Buchberger was 193-114 in nine seasons at the Wildcats helm.
  • Huffman, a 6-foot-2, 215-pound senior right-hander, earned the win for Mona Shores. He allowed no hits and struck out four in two innings of work. Sailors coach Brandon Bard said that Huffman was throwing in the mid- to high-80s Wednesday, but he’s proven capable of dialing it up to the low- to mid-90s.
  • Huffman, Trevor Cunningham, Javanni Johnson and Brady Recknagel combined for the shutout for Mona Shores. The Sailors pitchers struck out 11 and walked two combined.
  • Isaac Habetler paced Mona Shores offensively with three hits, including two doubles, plus a run scored.
  • Huffman had two hits, including a double, plus three RBIs.
  • Liam Gossett provided a two-run single to help break the game open for the Sailors.
  • Huffman is coming off a monster junior season, when he fashioned an 11-0 pitching record and 0.236 ERA with 123 strikeouts and 21 walks in 59 1/3 innings. Last year, he set school records for ERA and strikeouts in a game (17). He also batted .318 with eight home runs, seven doubles, 31 RBIs and 28 runs scored.

Photos by Scott DeCamp | CatchMark

Lead writer for CatchMark SportsNet and Web Services leader for CatchMark Technologies.

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