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    Newton’s Jack St. Clair emerges as an impact player on Holy Cross diamond

    Sixth-graders Anjoli Mathew  and Whitney Janes
    Sixth-graders Anjoli Mathew and Whitney Janes

    St. Clair emerging

    as star at Holy Cross

    No one worked harder at improving himself on the field and at the plate on the 2011 Belmont Hill School baseball team than senior third baseman Jack St. Clair (inset).

    “Jack would spend hours breaking down tape and in the batting cage, and he could flat-out hit,’’ recalled head coach Mike Grant, “and he’d always ask me to hit extra fungos. He made himself into a better all-around player.’’

    Grant told the same thing to his good friend and former colleague, Holy Cross head coach Greg DiCenzo, who has watched St. Clair blossom from a utility player his first two college seasons into the Crusaders’ leading hitter this spring.


    Through 19 games, the Newton resident was hitting .375 (27 for 72) with a team-high seven doubles. He was also second in hits, runs (15), RBIs (13), and total bases (37). He cracked his first homer of the season last weekend when Holy Cross (6-19) won the last three games of a four-game set against Yale.

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    “ ‘Saint’ is tough and hard-nosed, like a lot of players coming out of Belmont Hill,’’ said DiCenzo, who coached alongside Grant at Northeastern University and with the Falmouth Commodores of the Cape Cod League.

    “He’s been hitting cleanup the last few games and gives us some really competitive at-bats.’’

    The 5-11, 200-pound St. Clair, a linebacker and wingback on two New England prep finalist football teams in high school, has caught and played the infield and outfield this season.

    “I’m playing with more confidence but I’m not taking anything for granted,’’ said St. Clair, a .456 career hitter and two-time Independent School League selection at Belmont Hill.


    “It was a matter of making the most of my chance back then, just as it is now,’’ said St. Clair, who has battled back from injuries while playing the past two summers with the Wachusett Dirt Dawgs of the Futures Collegiate Baseball League, the latter season with a broken right wrist.

    “Luckily it healed pretty quickly and when our preseason got underway, I had a sense that my opportunity would come,’’ said St. Clair, who will play this summer with the FCBL’s Torrington Titans.

    “He’s no surprise to me,’’ added DiCenzo. “He’s reaping the benefits of all his hard work in the past. I know his teammates feel good about our chances when’s he’s at the plate.’’

    Jackson Brewer wins Joe Concannon Award

    Newton’s Jackson Brewer (Rivers School), a junior forward at Trinity College, was named winner of the 14th annual Joe Concannon Award as New England’s best American-born hockey player in Divisions 2 and 3. The award is named for the late Boston Globe sportswriter who had a passion for covering college athletics.

    Brewer, the New England Small College Athletic Conference Player of the Year, led the Bantams to the conference regular season title with 14 goals and 42 assists and topped all Division 3 players nationally in assists and points.


    Trinity head coach Matt Greason praised Brewer’s commitment to “doing all the right and little things to be successful. Winning the Concannon Award is hopefully a steppingstone to bigger and better things next year for Jackson and our program.’’ Trinity (21-5) lost to Bowdoin in the NESCAC quarterfinals, 5-4.

    Brewer will be honored at the New England Hockey Writers’ dinner next month following the Division I Frozen Four.

    2 take All-American honors at track meet

    Anjoli Mathew, a sixth-grader at the Lincoln School in Brookline, and Whitney Janes, a sixth-grader at the Buckingham Browne & Nichols School, collectively earned five All-American honors at the USA Track and Field Youth Indoor Championships earlier this month in Landover, Md.

    Both represented the Metropolis Brookline club, founded by former Northeastern University track star Saleena Abdur-Rashed, and were appearing at nationals for the first time.

    They will also compete in July at the AAU club championships at Disney World in Orlando.

    Mathew won the 11-12 girls’ 55-meter hurdles and high jump and was second in the 400 meter dash. Janes, who had never competed in a sponsored track event until last November, was fourth in the 55-meter dash and sixth in the 200-meter dash.

    “Based on their training and talent and their success at regionals, I wasn’t surprised what Anjoli and Whitney accomplished,’’ said Rashed, whose club for boys and girls ages 6-13 practices outdoors at Harry Downes Field and indoors at the Reggie Lewis Center.

    Its website is www.metropolisbrookline.com.

    Here and there

    Bentley University hockey standout Brett Gensler has signed a professional contract with the South Carolina Stingrays of the ECHL, an affiliate of the Boston and Providence Bruins. Gensler ended his college career this season as the Atlantic Hockey League’s leading scorer with 167 points in 145 games. . . .

    The Babson College Department of Athletics and Recreation will host its sixth annual Alumni Game Day April 12. Alumni athletes from all 22 varsity teams, along with their families, are invited back to campus for a day of alumni and varsity contests and a barbecue on the Upper Fields. RSVP by April 7. . . .

    Wheaton College junior Dana MacDonald (Belmont High) has been selected to the 2013 Gladiator by SGI / National Field Hockey Coaches Association Division 3 Scholars of Distinction list for the second time. MacDonald, who led the Lyons in defensive saves last fall, has a 3.98 cumulative grade point average. . . . Regis College junior midfielder Teresa Busiek of Arlington was named New England Collegiate Conference Player of the Week for women’s lacrosse after totaling 12 points, including nine goals, in a pair of wins.

    Marvin Pave can be reached at marvin.pave@rcn.com.