Winning the arms race; Jordyn Moquin is The Observer’s Female Athlete of the Year

By John Goralski

Sports Writer

Mercy batters were desperate to erase Southington’s one-run lead in the Class LL championship game, and Coach John Bores trudged to the mound when a two-out double put the tying run in scoring position.

Jordyn Moquin never blinked. The senior pitcher listened, nodded her head, and ended the threat. Over the next four innings, the only ball to escape Southington’s infield was a weak pop-up handled easily by the Lady Knight left fielder.

The Southington coach never had to say another word to his senior co-captain.

“The mental toughness and resolve that she’s shown from her freshman year to her senior year is just unbelievable,” said Bores. “When I looked into her eyes that night at the championship game, I could just tell that we weren’t going to be losing that game.”

It may look easy as Lady Knight pitchers mow down batters like a marksman at a country fair, but it isn’t an easy position to play. There’s no hiding. There’s no excuses. Nobody feels the pressure like a Lady Knight pitcher. It’s enough to crush anybody’s spirit.

Moquin’s no stranger to disappointment. As a junior, the Knights raced into the final game as the top seed before crumbling in defeat. Moquin was pulled from the lineup as Amity hitters dismantled the Southington defense. It wasn’t all her fault. Lady Knight defenders committed a season’s worth of errors in the bright lights of the championship game.

But it’s the pitcher that takes the heat. News of the loss swept across newspaper headlines, and Moquin, herself, knew that her starting position was never guaranteed. With a young pitcher rising up through the ranks, Moquin could have just walked away.

But that’s just not in her character.

“I don’t think it woke her up or anything because I don’t think she needed that, but I think she was embarrassed,” said Bores. “I knew that she worked really, really hard in the off-season. We’d talk on the phone, email, or text. I knew that she was working on her pitching and hitting. I knew that she was bound and determined to have a memorable senior year, and she did.”

It didn’t take long for Moquin to quiet any lingering critics. She fanned nine batters on opening day. She didn’t walk a single person. The 14-0 victory was her first of 15 shutouts as a senior. It was her first of six no-hitters and first of three perfect games.

Moquin was just getting started.

“I don’t think she had one bad game to her credit. She went 24-1, and we certainly can’t fault her for our one loss,” said Bores. “We made three or four errors in one inning to give Bristol Central four unearned runs. She’s not the kind of pitcher that’s going to strike out everybody and give you no-hitters every day. We still have to make the plays.”

On the other hand, Moquin wasn’t just the queen of the defense. Over her four-year career, she was just as deadly at the plate. As a sophomore, she only earned four wins on the mound, but she worked her way into the every day lineup with a .372 batting average. As a junior, she edged above .400 and finished third in RBIs (25) and doubles (6). As a senior, she ranked fourth in batting average (.434), second in RBI (37), and third in extra-base hits (13).

As a senior and a junior, Moquin allowed just 18 earned runs as a pitcher. As a hitter, she drove in 52 Southington runs.

“We batted her fifth as a senior because we had a lot of kids that could set the stage for RBIs, and she came in with some really key hits throughout the course of the year,” said Bores. “She had some surprising power. When she hit one over our center field fence, I hadn’t seen that since Sarah Plourde did it to us with Bristol Eastern (2008). I told her that, in college, she could be a designated hitter or a first baseman on the days that she doesn’t pitch. She’s that good.”

But it was her pitching that drew college scouts. As a sophomore, Moquin went 4-0 as a backup pitcher with a 0.56 ERA. The next year, her ERA dropped to 0.38 as she collected 106 strikeouts with just 17 walks in 145.2 innings. As a senior, Moquin’s ERA climbed to 0.47, but she set career bests in strikeouts (139), complete games (22), and shutouts (15), including a 1-0 victory over Mercy that clinched the first Lady Knight state title since 2004.

“It was her confidence and the ability to hit her spots,” said Bores. “She had unbelievable confidence that she could put the ball wherever she wanted it. She hit the outside corner, the inside corner, high, low. It didn’t matter.”

Most importantly, Moquin had become a solid, dependable leader for the Knights. Bores lists her among his best captains of all time. She was tough on herself, but always easy on others.

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