The Register Citizen (Torrington, CT)
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Coming off its first loss in almost a month — a 1-0 loss to East Hartford last Monday — South Windsor coach Mike McDermott didn’t know how his team would respond.
But he knew they would be ready. “We have had a couple of good practices,” McDermott said. “The kids are upbeat and are strong mentally.”
The No. 5 Bobcats won on Friday, 3-2, over Manchester and improved their record to 16-2.
“It’s a combination of that and experience,” McDermott said of his team. “We have 10 seniors on the roster and a lot of them have varsity experience and that goes a long way.”
“We all knew we had a good team going into the year,” he added. “Baseball is different. Everything has to come together.”
It seems it has for Souther Windsor. The Bobcats opened the season winning their first eight games before losing to Windsor on April 26. It won its next seven games before falling to East Hartford.
The formula is simple for the Bobcats: Good pitching and contributors up and down the lineup.
With University of Hartford commit Will Novak leading the staff alongside fellow senior Jason Ray and junior Zach Donohue, the Bobcats have the pitching.
“Will Nowak and Jason Ray have really carried the load this year,” McDermott said.
McDermott added that Ray has really established himself.
“Everyone knows Will,” he said. “In April, Jason Ray was under the radar. In May, everyone knows Jason around here.”
Before the state tournament starts, everyone should know about Ray. The senior pitcher has struck out 38 in 291⁄3 innings and has given up one run all season according to McDermott. Ray is also 5-0.
“He has had quite the year so far,” McDermott said.
On the offensive side, players like Hunter Pasqualini, Jimmy Tamburro and Brendan Mabey are anchoring a lineup that is averaging over six runs a game.
“We really do have a lot of contributors,” McDermott said. “Every kid so far this year has pitched in. We don’t strike out a lot as a team.”
With no CCC conference tournament, the Bobcats will wrap up their season this week and look forward to the Class LL tournament.
“In another week,” McDermott said. “It’s a new season and anything happen.”
UNBEATEN NO MORE
It took until its 19th game but Shepaug finally lost. Lewis Mills knocked the Spartans from the ranks of the unbeaten with a 3-1 victory on Wednesday.
“Our guys are just confident, they don’t care who shows up each day,” Lewis Mills coach Jesse Darcy said of the win. “We prepare like we’re going to play the best team each game. Every day you have to come ready to play.
“Shepaug or anyone else who showed up. We’re coming with the same approach.”
Lewis Mills starter Kyle Alvarez pitched well holding Shepaug to just two hits in the win.
IN LIKE LAMB, OUT LIKE A SPARTAN
Speaking of Lewis Mills, the reigning Class M finalists are getting hot at the right time.
While most teams were able to at least play one game during the first week of the season, which started on March 31, the Spartans were not one of them.
The weather was not a friend of the Spartans and postponement after postponement piled up until April 12 when Lewis Mills finally played a meaningful game. A 6-3 loss to Sheehan capped off a 13-day wait for the Spartans.
“It’s been interesting,” Darcy said. “We’ve done pretty well with it, all things considered.”
On Friday, the Spartans beat Thomaston 7-0 to finish their regular season at 14-6.
The season might have started slow for Lewis Mills, but in only 36 days the Spartans played all 20 of their regular-season games, including three straight times on four separate occasions.
“We’ve had more game time than practices in that span,” Darcy said. “Our guys have played tough. Our pitching has been solid. Defense has been great this year.”
With seniors Alvarez, Jake Jehnings, junior Jack Foley and sophomore Blair Harris leading the rotation, the Spartans have four solid starters that have helped them get through the tough stretches.
“Each guy has held their own,” Darcy said. “When we went through our stretches with our back-to-backto-back games and each kid had a start during that. They kept us in games and did their job.”
Recently, though, Lewis Mills has found its groove winning 10 of its last 12 games to end the season.
The Spartans are beginning to look a lot like the team that reached the Class M finals a year ago.
“You can never take tournament for granted, have to be good and get lucky at some times,” Darcy said.
While most of the schedule was washed away last Tuesday due a storm and even two tornadoes, some teams actually did play.
In one game, Platt defeated Coginchaug 11-7 and while that’s a big win for the Panthers (11-6), what happened after game was a tad more interesting.
Because of the tornado warnings across the state the Panthers team was sent to the basement at Coginchaug.
The team made the best of it though as senior Carson Coon posted a photo of the team in the dark basement and even posted a video of them shutting the lights off on each other, scaring a teammate or two.
The eighth and final spot of the FCIAC playoffs came down to either McMahon, Ludlowe or Wilton. Ludlowe beat Wilton, 8-5, to knock the Warriors out of contention.
On Friday, Wilton needed to play the end of its suspended game against McMahon from Tuesday. McMahon needed to win to get in, but Wilton walked off on the Senators in nine innings, sending McMahon home and the Ludlowe to the FCIAC tournament.
To recap: Ludlowe beat Wilton to end the Warriors’ FCIAC hopes. Then Wilton ended McMahon’s FCIAC hopes, but by doing so helped Ludlowe, the team that had knocked the Warriors out in the first place.
Makes sense right?
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