Jonah Frost looked like he had done this a million times before.
But, in reality, the junior was making his varsity pitching debut for the Keene High baseball team, earning the win in the Blackbirds’ 4-2 victory over Trinity Wednesday at Alumni Field.
Wednesday was the second game of a home-and-home between Keene (2-0) and Trinity (0-2). The Blackbirds beat the Pioneers 14-1 Monday in Manchester.
Frost went six innings Wednesday, striking out seven, allowing only two hits and one run.
“I felt pretty good,” Frost said. “Big boost in morale. Felt really good.”
His lone earned run came in the third inning. After Trinity’s Tyler Nolan started off the inning with a double to left field, on a ball that arguably should’ve been caught, he advanced to third on a passed ball and scored on a sacrifice fly to give the Pioneers an early 1-0 lead.
But Frost kept his poise, and, after getting out of that third inning, didn’t allow another base-runner for the rest of his outing.
“He pitched better than the run,” said head coach Dan Moylan of the junior. “He really wasn’t in trouble much, so it was nice to see him have a good outing for us. … I’m happy for him.”
The Blackbirds’ offense, which struggled for the first four innings, came through for Frost in the fifth, scoring four runs and taking advantage of some mistakes by Trinity.
“We got out of hitting the ball in the air a little bit, we hit the ball on the ground,” Moylan said. “That puts a little more pressure on the defense. We were hitting too many fly balls early.”
Junior Austin Morris got things going in the fifth, taking a pitch right between the shoulder blades for the free base.
Then the Blackbirds rattled off three singles in a row, two of which were infield singles created from hustling out of the box, and the third was a pinch-hit single from senior Aaron Kent that tied the game at one.
“Huge hit there, gets us going,” Moylan said. “And we end up getting four runs on the back side of that.”
With the bases loaded with Blackbirds and only one out, senior Alex Charles popped one up in the outfield, but it was deep enough to score junior Jared Schmitt to give Keene a 2-1 lead.
Senior Jaden Phillips and Kent both came around to score before the inning’s end, and Keene took a 4-1 lead into the sixth.
Frost sat down the Pioneers in order in the top half of the inning, with some help from senior shortstop Zach Mooers, who snagged a line drive out of the air to end the inning.
Charles came out to pitch the seventh and got into a bit of a jam early on. Trinity had the bases loaded with no outs, but a swinging bunt led to a much-needed double play for the Blackbirds.
Another walk loaded the bases again, and a passed ball brought Trinity a run closer and put the tying run on second base.
Before any more damage could be done, Charles got the final out to earn the save and Keene — the team and fans alike — breathed a collective sigh of relief.
If the weather cooperates, Keene will be back in action Friday against Monadnock in Swanzey at 4:30 p.m.