Sunday, April 30, 2017

WATERBURY'S SPRING ROUNDUP #4: Heron will stay at Auburn, Petteway on his way to Robert Morris

Two former Sacred Heart standout basketball players made important decisions recently.
Auburn freshman Mustapha Heron decided to return to the Tigers for his sophomore season. Northwest Florida State College sophomore Malik Petteway gave a commitment to Robert Morris, a Division I school located in Pittsburgh, Penn.
Heron was looking at the NBA Draft, but decided to stick around Auburn.
"After a careful study of his draft position for this year and next, he and his family have decided not to declare, return for his sophomore season and help lead the resurgence in Auburn basketball," Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl said in a story on the team website. "He is going to play in the NBA someday soon, just not next season."
Petteway played at Northwest Florida State for two seasons. Assistant coach Tevin Baskin had some great words for his pupil.
"Malik Petteway has officially committed to Robert Morris University," Baskin posted on Facebook. "Leek it's been a great experience helping and watching you grow on and off the court all year long."
Baskin added: "RMU is getting a great player but even better person!"

A pair of 22's for Holy Cross: The Crusaders scored 22 runs in two different games this week, Monday against Ansonia and Thursday against Wilby.
On Monday, Lizzy Diorio homered twice, drove in two runs, scored four times and was a perfect 4-for-4. Val Nobrega (homer), Sarah Lawton (2 triples) and Alexandra Lombardo drove in three runs apiece.
Diorio and Aubry DeFoe collected two hits and three RBI apiece on Thursday.
Holy Cross beat Oxford 6-0 on Friday to improve to 10-1. The Crusaders host 11-1 St. Paul in a showdown Monday at 4 p.m.
Three, two and one for WCA duo: Briana Montoya-Medina and Vanessa Santiago had something in common in an 11-7 Spartan victory over Wolcott Tech on Thursday.
Both players had three RBI, two hits and one double in the victory. Montoya-Medina also scored two runs.
Big day for DeSantis: Kaynor Tech's Maggie DeSantis allowed three hits and struck out 10 in a 23-3, five-inning win over Bullard-Havens. At the plate, DeSantis had two hits, RBI, four stolen bases and five runs scored.

Doubles galore for Sacred Heart: In wins over Watertown and Kennedy, the Hearts tallied 10 doubles.
Larry Zapata, Evan Laferriere, Jimmy Edwards and Justin Stephens had doubles apiece while Bryan Fernandez and Noah Knappe each had one.
On Saturday, Sacred Heart celebrated the 20th anniversary of its state championship team with a 7-0 win over Derby at Municipal Stadium. The Hearts are 7-4 on the season.

Holy Cross wins battle of unbeatens, twice: The Crusaders handed both Torrington and St. Paul their first losses of the season.
Holy Cross defeated Torrington 178-194 at Western Hills on Wednesday, then took down St. Paul 173-205 at Chippanee Country Club in Bristol on Thursday.
Vincent Graziano was the medalist on both days, and he did it at six-over-par each time. Graziano had a 42 on Wednesday and a 41 on Thursday.

Eight for Aiyana: Holy Cross' Aiyana Ward scored eight goals in a 21-11 win over Amistad Academy on Wednesday.

Two relay sweeps for city schools: The Sacred Heart and Crosby boys both swept all three relays in meets held on Thursday.
Sacred Heart did it in a tri-meet against Naugatuck and St. Paul. The Hearts are 5-4 on the season after a loss to the Greyhounds and a win over the Falcons.
Crosby did it in a meet that also featured Oxford and Wolcott. The Bulldogs improved to 4-4 with a win over Wolcott.

Kennedy gets first win: The Eagles defeated Crosby 8-1 on Friday to get into the win column.
Camilo Barrera, Mehdi Namaz, Joni Pasholli, Edgar Yeper and Yasim Azizoglu won singles matches. Redjan Cipi and Braeden Gorman teamed up for a doubles win. Kennedy also had two wins via forfeit, one in singles and one in doubles. The Eagles improved to 1-7 on the season.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

BRISTOL'S SPRING ROUNDUP #4: Erin Girard pitches perfect game for Bristol Eastern softball

Erin Girard threw a perfect game Monday. (File photo)
There was no way Erin Girard could have been better on Monday.
After all, who throws a perfect game in five innings and strikes out all 15 batters faced?
That's what Girard did in a 17-0 Bristol Eastern softball victory over Avon in five innings on Monday. The Lancers improved to 6-1 with the win.
Girard threw 46 of her 60 pitches for strikes. She threw a first-pitch strike to 10 of the 15 batters that she faced. Girard reached just one three-ball count, 3-2 with two outs in the top of the fourth inning. You know what happened on the 3-2 pitch.
Girard also had a good day at the plate. She was 3-for-4 with four RBI and a run scored. Girard was helped out offensively by Paige McLaughlin, who doubled, tripled, drove in four runs and scored two more.
Avon was playing just its second game of the season due to postponements.
Bristol Central on a winning streak: After losing five straight games to fall to 1-5, the Rams have won two in a row.
Bristol Central knocked off East Catholic and Wethersfield on Thursday and Friday by identical 3-0 scores. 
"Solid performance today resulted in a 3-0 win!" tweeted head coach Monica Hayes on Thursday after the East Catholic victory. "Way to get back in the win column! See you all tomorrow!"
The winning continued Friday against Wethersfield. Central played both games at Casey Field because of poor field conditions on campus due to rain.
The Rams improved to 3-5, and they host their rivals from Bristol Eastern on Monday at 3:45 p.m. The Lancers are 6-2 going into the contest.
St. Paul on a tear entering showdown: The Falcons are 11-1 entering a big game this Monday on the road against Holy Cross in Waterbury. That game starts at 4 p.m.
St. Paul blew out Wilby (18-0), Ansonia (21-0) and Kennedy (21-1) before picking up a nice win 3-0 road win over Naugatuck on Saturday. The Falcons were ranked third in Class S as of Saturday afternoon. The Crusaders (10-1) were fifth.

Greater Bristol Invitational: Bristol Central hosted a meet Friday which brought teams from not only the area, but from around the state to the beautiful all-weather facility at Bristol Central High School.
Athletes from Bristol Central, Bristol Eastern and Wolcott competed in the invitational, along with several nearby schools such as Lewis Mills, Plainville and Southington. There were some local winners, led by Central's Kaynan Conrod, who won the 100-meter dash in 11.37 seconds. Central was also strong in the boys relay races. The Rams took first in the 4x100 in 43.93 seconds behind the team of David Bowes, Conrod, Sean Fitzgerald and Luis Medina. Central was first in the 4x400 relay in 3:29.36 behind the team of Medina, Bowes, Pat Kjornrattanawanich and Fitzgerald.
The best finish for the Bristol Eastern boys was Felipe Rodriguez, who took third in the 100-meter dash. For the Lancer girls, Brooke Dauphinee placed third in the javelin.

Seven RBI for Owsianko: St. Paul slugger Andrew Owsianko had a huge day on Monday, collecting four hits and seven RBI in a 23-3, six-inning victory at Wilby.
Owsianko had a RBI double, two RBI singles and a three-run home run. Owsianko blasted the home run over the center field fence. St. Paul improved to 6-2 with the victory.
First Eastern-Central clash Monday: The Lancers host the Rams at 7 p.m. at Muzzy Field on Monday.
Bristol Eastern beat Middletown 10-0 on the road Friday and was 5-3 entering Saturday's game against Platt.
Bristol Central lost a pair of one-run games to Glastonbury and Wethersfield. The Rams were defeated 5-4 by Glastonbury on Monday, then went down 3-2 at Wethersfield on Friday. Bristol Central goes into Monday's game at 4-4.

St. Paul loses for first time: The Falcons saw a great season to the season end with a 205-173 loss to Holy Cross on Thursday at Chippanee Country Club.
St. Paul did defeat Kennedy 205-249 and its record sits at 7-1 for the season. Ryne Salius was a co-medalist at six-over-par 41, along with Vincent Graziano of Holy Cross.
St. Paul has another big match Monday against Torrington at the Torrington Country Club.

St. Paul compiled three wins and a loss to improve to 7-2 on the season. The Falcons won 7-0 over Wilby, Kennedy and Crosby. St. Paul lost 6-1 at Watertown.
Bristol Central gets first win: After starting the season 0-2, the Rams got in the win column Monday by beating Maloney 4-3 at home.
Bristol Central lost 5-2 against Wethersfield on Friday to drop to 1-3.

St. Paul 4-4 on the season: The Falcons knocked off Wamogo 14-8 at home on Tuesday to get back to the .500 mark.
St. Paul hosts Bristol Eastern this Monday at 6 p.m., then goes to Holy Cross on Wednesday.

WOLCOTT'S SPRING ROUNDUP #4: Eagle girls get first lacrosse win

Wolcott girls lacrosse claimed victory for the first time on Friday. (File photo)
Wolcott girls lacrosse picked up the first win in program history on Friday on the friendly confines of the Joe Monroe Field turf.
The Eagles defeated Amistad Academy 11-9 to notch the historic victory. With the win, Wolcott is now 1-8 on the season.

Matt Hove has been named head coach of the Wolcott football team.
Hove replaces Jason Pace, who moved on to the same position at Newington High School. Hove was head coach of a nine-man football team at Kenmare High School in North Dakota, according to a story from the Waterbury Republican-American. Kyle Brennan reported that Hove was approved by the Wolcott Board of Education on Monday.
Hove ended up in Connecticut because of his wife, who transferred to the Coast Guard station in New London. Hove looked for coaching jobs in Connecticut and applied when Wolcott became available.
Hove went to Mayville State University in North Dakota, where he earned a Bachelor's Degree in Physical Sciences, according to his LinkedIn profile. Hove collected a Master of Arts in Sports Administration after attending Henderson State University in Arkansas.
Before his stint with nine-man football in North Dakota, Hove was a coach at Ironwood High School in California. He also coached professional football in France.

Jack Drewry, right, had two homers and seven RBI
in a win over Enfield on Thursday. (File photo)

Seven RBI for Drewry: Jack Drewry had a huge day for Wolcott on Thursday in a home makeup game against Enfield.
Drewry homered twice and drove in seven runs in a 15-1 Eagle victory. Drewry's first RBI came on a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the first inning. In the second inning, Drewry smacked a three-run homer to center field as a part of a seven-run outburst from Wolcott. In the fourth inning, Drewry launched another three-run homer to right center field.
Drewry finished the day a perfect 3-for-3 and also scored two runs.
Holy Cross up next: After wins over Waterbury Career Academy (12-2), Enfield and Seymour (2-0), the 9-2 Eagles have a big home game on Monday.
Undefeated Holy Cross comes to town with its 10-0 record for a 3:45 p.m. game.

Cynthia Dias finished fourth in the 100-meter hurdles at Friday's Greater Bristol Invitational held at Bristol Central High School.
Dias was also fifth in the javelin.
Earl Snyder and Jonathan Maldonado each took third place in their respective events. Snyder was third in the 1600 meters while Maldonado was third in the 800 meters.

Undefeated Holy Cross baseball does a little bit of everything in big win over Oxford

Holy Cross baseball had reason to smile following Friday's big 5-2 home win over Oxford. The Crusaders finished the first half 10-0.
Good pitching, good defense and timely hitting is usually a great formula for success on the baseball diamond.
Add some redemption into the mix, and you get what Holy Cross threw at Oxford on Friday afternoon at Holy Cross High School.
The Crusaders stayed undefeated with a 5-2 win over the Wolverines. Holy Cross is 10-0 on the season with another showdown looming Monday at Wolcott. The Crusaders lost to the Wolverines in last year's NVL Tournament championship game, and they didn't forget it. 
"We wanted it," said complete-game winner Chris Flynn. "We were thinking about it."
Redemption can be a nice motivation, and it helps to do things right in all facets of the game.
First, the pitching.
Chris Flynn made big pitches and let his defense do the work for him.
Flynn gave up two runs and scattered nine hits. He didn't strike out a ton of batters (three), but he allowed zero walks, he kept the ball down most of the time, and he let his defense do the job behind him.
"I missed a couple spots, but I knew my guys have my back," Flynn said.
Fran Phelan, who came up big at the plate, praise Flynn's effort.
"He did a great job," Phelan said. "He hit his spots, let the ball be put in play."
Speaking of the defense, Adam Razza got the day started with a bang when he secured the second out of the top of the first with a diving catch. The grab fired up a Holy Cross team that already had energy going into the game. 
"You got to start it somewhere," Razza said. "If I start it, the guys will build off the positive energy."
Connor Goggin hustled all the way in from left field to run down a foul pop to end the first. 
Fran Phelan fires to first to complete a huge 6-4-3 double play.
In the third inning, Matt Cipriano, Fran Phelan and Matt Bonvicini combined for a rally-killing 6-4-3 double play to end that frame. Oxford had just cut the Holy Cross lead to 2-1 and had runners on first and second with one out, but the double play squelched any opportunity for a tie game.
"When it came down to get an out, [Flynn] made the big pitch, we made the big play," Holy Cross head coach Mike Phelan said.
And then there was the timely hitting. The Crusaders made it a habit to get hits with two strikes, including some with two outs. Down 1-2, Tim Zupkus doubled the other way to right center to bring home Fran Phelan with the game's first run in the bottom of the first. A Goggin grounder to second brought home Bonvicini (hit by pitch) to make it 2-0.
Mike Keating was hit by a pitch to lead off the fourth. Oxford pitcher Cole Chudoba got the next two outs, then Brian Parzyck hit a line drive single to right. Chudoba got ahead of Razza out 0-2, then Razza fouled off two consecutive pitches. Razza surprisingly got a fastball on the next pitch and blasted it over the left fielder's head to bring in Keating and Parzyck and put Holy Cross up 4-1.
Adam Razza came up with a big two-run triple to open the game up.
"I just try to be relaxed, not tense," Razza said of his approach at the plate.
The Crusaders weren't done with the clutch hitting. Fran Phelan was the next batter, and he went behind 1-2 in the count. After a ball and a foul ball, Phelan doubled over the right fielder's head to drive in Razza for a 5-1 lead.
"I try to relax and see it out of the pitcher's hand," Phelan said of his approach.
Oxford got a run back in the sixth and Fran Phelan warmed up in the bullpen, but Flynn came back for a 1-2-3 inning in the seventh to finish the game off. Temperatures in the low 80s helped Flynn get ready for the game. Of course, so did the game itself.
"It was a lot easier getting loose," Flynn said. "Big game, big atmosphere, biggest crowd of the season."
Holy Cross responded well to pressure, kept its composure for the most part, and didn't stop playing until the final out.
"I think it means a lot, in a sense," Mike Phelan said. "We continue to do what we do well."
Despite three days off because of rain, the Crusaders were able to come away with a big win and get to 10-0. An undefeated season will be nice, but Holy Cross has two big goals in mind. One is a NVL championship, and Friday's opponent could be waiting in the league tournament.
A Holy Cross huddle before the start of an inning.
"They're a good team," Flynn said. "We know we're going to see them down the road."
The other goal, as said by Mike Phelan, is to be playing on either June 9 or 10. Those are the dates for the state championship games at Palmer Field in Middletown.
Holy Cross is only halfway done with what it hopes will be a long season, but what a great first half it was. The second half begins with a big one Monday at Wolcott.

PHOTOS: Click here for images from Friday's game.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

St. Paul, Wolcott softball teams continue strong starts to season

St. Paul's Alessandra Milardo launches a home run during Thursday's home game against Ansonia.
If you told St. Paul softball head coach Gary Hovhanessian his team would be 9-1 at the halfway point of the season, he probably would have signed up.
The Falcons made 9-1 a reality with a 21-0 mercy-rule blasting of Ansonia in five innings on Thursday afternoon in Bristol. Alessandra Milardo was as usual solid in the circle, and she had a long home run to boot. Brigid Johndrow, Brooke Perez, Lindsey O'Bright and Jessica Persechino all had a hand in the offensive attack.
St. Paul put overmatched Ansonia (1-8) away early with several big innings. All nine Falcons batted in the first inning, and five runs were in before it ended. 
Wolcott's Nicole Antonowicz was again solid in the circle Thursday against Derby.
Wolcott improved to 7-2 on the season with a 16-1 mercy-rule win over Derby in five innings at Wolcott High School. The Eagles had to play on their JV field, since baseball was playing Enfield at the same time on the baseball field. The varsity baseball field is next to the varsity softball field.
Wolcott has just two seniors -- Carrigan Costello and Kaitlyn Moore -- yet has had a strong season. The pitching of Costello and Nicole Antonowicz has certainly helped.
Antonowicz was strong in the circle again for Wolcott on Thursday. She also got a big first inning going at the plate with a leadoff walk. Antonowicz stole second base and scored on a base hit from Madison Rotella. Marissa Morales doubled to bring Rotella in, and the Eagles were on their way with hits contributed up and down the lineup. Rotella, Morales and Alayna Greene each had three hits and three RBI.
Wolcott faces a big test Friday when its Seymour at 5:30 p.m. St. Paul plays at Holy Cross on Monday, followed by a road game against Torrington on Wednesday.

PHOTOS: Click here for images from today's St. Paul softball game.

PHOTOS: Click here for images from today's Wolcott softball game.

HIGH 5 OF THE WEEK: Walker hits her way to player of the week honor

Chandler Walker, Pfeiffer University softball
Walker (Pfeiffer athletics)

In a span of two innings in one game last week, this former Bristol Central star had a three-run home run and a three-run double for the Falcons.
No wonder why Walker was named Conference Carolinas Player of the Week. Pfeiffer, ranked nationally in one poll, clinched its first regular season championship since 2000 last week. Walker was right in the middle of it.
Walker, a junior at Pfeiffer, hit .462 with two doubles, a home run and nine RBI. The three-run homer and three-run double came in her first two at bats against Belmont Abbey.
The Falcons finished the regular season with an incredible record of 40-4, including an 18-2 mark in the conference.
Walker played in all 44 regular season games and hit .358 with 11 doubles, one triple, five homers, 33 RBI and 17 stolen bases. She compiled an on-base percentage of .408 and a slugging percentage of .567. Walker ranked second on the team in home runs, second in stolen bases, second in slugging percentage, third in RBI, third in hits (48), and tied for third in doubles.
Pfeiffer opens conference tournament play Friday against Lees-McRae.

Plasczynski (WCSU athletics)
Charline Plasczynski, Western Connecticut State University softball
Another week, another top rookie honor for the former Bristol Eastern star.
Plasczynski was named Rookie of the Week by the Little East Conference, and all she did was go 11-for-24 at the plate. That effort included five extra-base hits and 11 RBI. She had three doubles, one triple and one home run. Plasczynski also had three stolen bases.
For the season (31 games), Plasczynski leads the team in extra-base hits (16), homers (5), RBI (36), on-base percentage (.466), slugging (.714), walks (12), hits (36), runs scored (24) and total bases (65). She is tied for first in triples (3), second in doubles (8), second in stolen bases (6) and second in sacrifice hits (2).

Mihalek (ECSU athletics)
Adrianna Mihalek, Eastern Connecticut State University volleyball
Mihalek had a decorated career with the Warriors, and she was recognized for it by the school.
Mihalek was chosen for the Bonnie J. Edmondson Senior Female SportsPerson-of-the-Year Award. The award recognizes athletic excellence, dedication, loyalty, enthusiasm, integrity, spirit and devotion to the team, according to a story put out on ECSU's website.
Mihalek was strong on and off the court for the Warriors. She is one of only two volleyball players to compile 1,000 kills and 1,000 digs. Mihalek was a four-time All-Little East Conference selection, 2013 LEC Rookie of the Year, a three-time LEC All-Academic qualifier and a nominee for Academic All-America.
Off the court, Mihalek has been involved in a whole bunch of extracurricular activities. According to her team bio, Mihalek is a History major and has plans for a career in law.
Mihalek played for Holy Cross High School and is a resident of Woodbury.

Lombardo (Salve Regina athletics)
Elizabeth Lombardo, Salve Regina University softball
Lombardo came up big in the clutch for the Commonwealth Coast Conference's best team on April 20.
The Thomaston native and former Holy Cross standout delivered a run-scoring double to right field to lead the Seahawks to a 4-3 walkoff win over Eastern Connecticut State University in the first game of a doubleheader. Lombardo had a huge day, compiling five hits and four RBI over the two games.
For the season, Lombardo played in 30 games and hit .351 with 25 runs scored, 21 RBI, 11 walks, 13 stolen bases, 33 hits, six doubles and an on-base percentage of .417. She ranked second in runs scored, walks, tied for second in RBI and tied for second in stolen bases. She was third in hits, tied for third in doubles and fourth in on-base percentage. Lombardo compiled a bushel of two- and three-hit games this season.
Salve Regina is the top seed in the upcoming CCC Tournament.

Matt Warren, Albertus Magnus College baseball
Warren (Albertus Magnus athletics)

His batting average may not be where he wants it, but this freshman from Wolcott is still contributing to the offensive effort.
Warren is tied for third in doubles (5), fourth in doubles (18), fourth in walks (10), tied for fourth in hits (18) and tied for fourth in runs scored (13). He is one of three Falcons to triple this season, and he is also one of three players to hit a home run. Warren has one triple and one homer each. He has stolen three bases without being caught. Warren is hitting .228 for the season.
It's been a tough season for Albertus Magnus, which has a record of 8-18-1. The Falcons are scheduled to close the regular season with doubleheaders today and Saturday.

Statistics compiled from the websites of each athlete's team.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Wolcott boys tennis undefeated, but two tests against Torrington await them in May

Wolcott's Alex Hale hits a backhand during his No. 3 singles match against Woodland on Wednesday.
Wolcott No. 1 Matt Spina serves during his match.
Wolcott boys tennis added another win to its resume when it beat Woodland 9-0 on a windy Wednesday afternoon at Wolcott High School.
The Eagles are 10-0 and have lost only two matches all season long. Big tests await Wolcott on May 5 and May 11. The Eagles will host fellow undefeated Torrington on May 5, then travel to Torrington on May 11. Those are two of the final three matches of the season for Wolcott, with the middle one coming at Naugatuck on May 8.
The match of the day was at No. 1 singles, where Wolcott's Matt Spina outlasted Woodland's Josh Powanda 8-5. Spina and Powanda went back and forth, with Spina holding leads at 5-4 and 6-5. Spina used his awesome soft shot play near the net to win the last two games and take the match.
Matt Mastropieto had a dominant No. 2 singles win by a final of 8-0. The left-handed Mastropietro used his long, lanky frame to get to every shot offered by his opponent and controlled the match.
Of the No. 3-6 singles players for Wolcott, only Alex Hale gave up a game. Hale won 8-1 at No. 3, Jackson Yost was 8-0 at No. 4, Mike Perreault was 8-0 at No. 5, and Qasim Gondal was 8-0 at No. 6.
It was a typical strong performance for Wolcott. Spina, Mastropietro, Hale and Yost haven't lost a singles match yet this season.
In doubles, Perreault and Gondal teamed up for an 8-4 win at No. 1. Raheel Chowdhury and Ryan Watts won 8-3 at No. 2 doubles and the team of Tyler Shoban and Alex Fishbein swept No. 3 doubles 8-0.
Wolcott was already supposed to have a match played against Torrington, but rain postponed the showdown. The teams go at each other for the first time on May 5.

PHOTOS: Click here to see images from Wednesday's Wolcott boys tennis match.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

St. Paul softball (8-1) having a great season so far

Senior Alessandra Milardo has been a leader in the circle and at the plate. (File photo)
St. Paul softball is 8-1 after nine games in the 2017 season.
The Falcons are already more than halfway to their win total of the 2016 regular season (13-7), and the season is not halfway over yet. St. Paul is one close loss to Seymour -- 5-3 at home on April 17 -- away from being 9-0.
How have head coach Gary Hovhanessian's Falcons done it?
Start with senior pitcher Alessandra Milardo. Milardo has been a mainstay in the circle for St. Paul throughout her career, but she has been at her best this season. Milardo is also a solid hitter for the Falcons.
Senior Brooke Perez has also been good at the plate. She had four hits in a win over Plainville in the second game of the season.
Fellow senior Brigid Johndrow has been hard to keep off the bases as well. Johndrow had a four-hit game against Woodland and a three-hit game against Watertown. The athletic Johndrow stole six bases on six attempts in that Woodland win.
Sophomore Abby Poirot also had four hits in the Woodland game, three of which went for doubles. Poirot has also spelled Milardo in the circle.
Freshman Janessa Gonzalez burst onto the scene with three hits in each of her first two games.
St. Paul doesn't beat you with home runs. The Falcons do hit a bunch of doubles, led by Poirot, Milardo and sophomore Jessica Persechino.
St. Paul is scheduled to host Ansonia on Wednesday, followed by Kennedy on Friday. Next week brings big tests on the road at Holy Cross on Monday and Torrington on Wednesday.

Holy Cross baseball pitches its way to perfect 9-0 start

Holy Cross senior pitcher Nick Hernandez fired a complete game in a 4-0 win over Waterbury Career Academy.
Holy Cross baseball is off to a 9-0 start this season, and pitching has been a big reason why.
The Crusader staff has yielded a grand total of 11 runs in nine games. Three runs are the most Holy Cross has given up this season, and it has happened on only two different occasions. The Crusader staff owns four shutouts.
Junior Fran Phelan has been the ace of the rotation. Phelan is 4-0 with three complete games and he was one inning away from a fourth. In 27 innings, Phelan has given up eight runs on 26 hits. 
Chris Flynn delivers a pitch during last year's NVL semifinal against Wolcott.
Senior Chris Flynn is 3-0 and has given up three runs on 13 hits in 14 2/3 innings. Flynn owns the other complete game on the staff.
Senior Nick Hernandez fired a complete game in his one start, yielding just three hits. Hernandez struck out eight and walked three in that effort, which gave him a victory.
Sophomore Tim Zupkus pitching four innings in his lone start and gave up just two hits. Zupkus struck out five and walked one on his way to the win.
Several others have done their part on the mound for Holy Cross. Those pitchers are: Senior Matt Cipriano; junior Macellan Fauth; and sophomores Brian Parzyck, Austin Brown, Joe Bonvicini and Zach Lerner.

Waterbury Career Academy baseball working hard, looking to improve

WCA reliever Zack Schaffner delivers a warm-up pitch while Justin Torres (20) looks on.
It's been an up-and-down first season in the Naugatuck Valley League for Waterbury Career Academy baseball.
The Spartans are 3-6 after Monday's 12-2 loss at Wolcott, but there have been some good moments. WCA started 1-3, but picked up an 18-8 win over Kennedy on April 17. The Spartans had a good chance at a second straight win on April 19, but lost 5-4 in extra innings to Derby. WCA lost 7-1 to Seymour on April 20, but rebounded with a 17-6 victory over Kennedy on April 22.
"Boys continue to fight and improve each day," Spartan head coach Joe Russo said on the team's Facebook page. "That's all I can ask for. Love this group of guys."
On Monday, WCA showed some fight despite falling into a 7-0 hole against Wolcott. Jordan Layman led off the top of the fourth inning and reached on an error. After a pop out, Layman was erased on a fielder's choice hit by Adrian Velez.
The next batter was Justin Torres. Torres hammered the first pitch he saw from Wolcott's Ethan Gillotti over the left field wall to get WCA within 7-2.
WCA's Celestino Toucet (15) jogs back to the dugout as teammate Jon Castro (6) looks on.
The Spartans actually got off to a solid start against the big bats of the Eagles. WCA starting pitcher Jacob Torres, who is only a sophomore, retired Wolcott 1-2-3 in the first inning. Torres got a groundout to second baseman Eduardo Huertas, then fielded a comebacker for the second out. The last batter of the inning popped out to left fielder Mike Matta.
Torres sandwiched two outs around a single in the second inning. After that, the game came unglued for WCA. The Spartans were hurt by an error, a balk and four walks. When the inning finally ended, Wolcott was ahead 7-0.
Russo implored his pitchers to throw strikes.
"If you let them put the ball in play, we have a chance," Russo said during one inning.
WCA has been playing better, but it was reminded of how far it needs to go Monday. The Spartans are scheduled to host Crosby on Wednesday at Municipal Stadium, then travel to Woodland on Thursday.

PHOTOS: Click here to view images from Monday's game.

Wolcott baseball (7-2) disciplined, but also having fun

Wolcott senior Ray Bartoli scores a run in Monday's 12-2 win over Waterbury Career Academy.
One thing Wolcott head baseball coach Tary Scott stresses to his teams is to have fun.
You can say that the 7-2 start these young Eagles have had has been enjoyable.
"Now, they're finally figuring out the program," Scott said after a 12-2 home win over Waterbury Career Academy on Monday. "Just have fun."
This Wolcott team can swing the bats, which it showed big-time in the game against WCA.
The Eagles had 10 hits against the Spartans and scored in two big bursts. Wolcott erupted for seven runs in the bottom of the second inning, then added five more in the fourth.
"They're very disciplined, they want to get better every day," Scott said.
Jeff Nicol (11) led Wolcott with three hits.
Seven different Eagles had a hit, led by three hits, two RBI and two runs scored from Jeff Nicol. Nick Trager had two hits, two RBI and two runs scored while Ray Bartoli blasted a two-run homer and scored twice. Bobby White doubled, drove in two runs and scored once. Steve Urbanski added a hit, two RBI and a run scored. Jack Drewry had a hit, RBI and run scored while Tino Ciarlo also added a hit.
After going down 1-2-3 in the first, Wolcott used patience at the plate and took advantage of a two-out WCA error to strike for seven runs in the second. Trey Nastri reached on an error off a grounder, and Nicol scored from second base with great hustle for a 1-0 lead. More hustle from Urbanski on an infield single allowed Nastri to score and make it 2-0. A two-run single from Trager upped the advantage to 4-0. With the bases loaded, Drewry walked to bring home Urbanski to put Wolcott up 5-0. Nicol followed the walk with a two-run single to make it 7-0 Eagles.
In that second inning, Wolcott forced WCA starter Jacob Torres to throw 45 pitches.
"It starts with confidence," Scott said. "This team has confidence. They just have to gel."
The Spartans got two runs back off of Ethan Gillotti on a two-run home run by Justin Torres in the top of the fourth inning. The Eagles had an immediate response.
Trager led off the bottom of the fourth with a single. Bartoli then sent the next pitch from Zach Schaffner well over the left field wall for a two-run home run and a 9-2 lead.
"He's just one humble kid," Scott said of Bartoli. "Very coachable kid, he's great with the younger kids."
Bartoli is one of Scott's senior leaders, along with White. Both have stepped up big-time this season, according to Scott. The leadership is big for the Eagles, who lost a lot to graduation following their 2016 Class M state championship.
"We had all young kids come back," Scott said.
Wolcott kept the pressure up after Bartoli's dinger. Drewry and Nicol had back-to-back singles, then White doubled in both of them to put the Eagles up 11-2. White advanced to third on a fly ball by Nastri. An Urbanski sacrifice fly scored White and made it 12-2.
Ethan Gillotti pitched five innings of two-run ball on Monday.
The two-run homer by Torres was the lone mistake Gillotti made. Gillotti threw the first five innings and gave up two runs on three hits. He struck out five and walked one in an efficient effort. Urbanski and Reece Ketchum threw an inning apiece in relief.
Everybody seems to have a hand in the success of Wolcott baseball. There have to be several arms available, and the Eagles make sure they stay fresh as possible. After the game, assistant coach Dom Angiolillo showed a sheet of paper with the pitch counts and amount of rest required when those thresholds are met. Wolcott keeps a close eye on its pitchers, especially when the schedule gets backed up with several games in one week. The Eagles are scheduled to play three more times this week against Derby, Enfield and Seymour.
Scott would love Wolcott to keep showing the confidence it has displayed. With a combination of youth, experience -- Urbanski and Nick Baldwin are the only other seniors on the roster -- and confidence, the Eagles have been doing just that.
They have also been having fun, which is a big part of the Wolcott program.

PHOTOS: Click here to see images from Monday's game.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

WATERBURY'S SPRING ROUNDUP #3: Austin a multi-event winner for Holy Cross girls track and field

Meah Austin has been one of the top performers this season for the Holy Cross girls track and field team.
Junior Meah Austin continues to win multiple events for Holy Cross girls track and field, even when the team score is not enough for victory.
Austin won both hurdles races -- the 100 and 300 meters -- during Tuesday's meet against Naugatuck and Woodland at Holy Cross High School. The Crusaders defeated the Greyhounds 84-49 but lost 107-31 to undefeated Woodland.
Austin ran the 100 hurdles in 15.4 seconds and the 300 hurdles in 50.7 seconds. Holy Cross is 4-2 on the season.

After an 0-5 start, WCA softball has won four straight games.
WCA: The Spartans won four games in a five-day span to get to within a victory of .500.
That's right, WCA started the season 0-5, but is now 4-5 because of a strong week. 
The Spartans started the streak Monday with an 18-4 pounding of Kennedy. Tuesday brought a 24-8 rout of Kaynor Tech. On Wednesday, WCA edged Derby 7-5. The last game of the week was Friday, and the Spartans shut out Wilby 15-0.
In the Kennedy game, Ariana Torres had four hits, including two doubles, to go along with three RBI and three runs scored.
Gabie Rocco and Megan Romaniello each had three hits in the Kaynor Tech game. Micahlyn Vaichus blasted a three-run home run in the first inning to open up an early 5-0 lead. Romaniello also homered in the game.
On Wednesday, WCA scored five runs over the final two innings to rally past Derby. Vaichus hit a two-run single in the top of the sixth inning to tie the game at 4-4. In the seventh, Rocco drew a bases loaded walk for a 5-4 lead. A Romaniello sacrifice fly put the Spartans up 6-4, then Katiana Batista's groundout made it 7-4. Derby got a run in the bottom of the seventh, but WCA held on for the victory.
Vaichus homered again and drove in three runs in the Wilby game. Vanessa Santiago had a double, single, three RBI and two runs scored. Torres had three hits and two RBI while Rocco added a double and two RBI.
Shyra Fisher also came up with some hits for WCA during the week, including a homer and two doubles.
Near no-no for Holy Cross: The Crusaders came within three outs of a combined no-hitter on Thursday at Municipal Stadium in a 7-0 win over Sacred Heart.
Sarah Lawton tossed six no-hit innings, then turned the ball over to Brandi McIntosh. Victoria Turrell singled to lead off the seventh inning, which broke up the no-hitter. McIntosh retired the final three hitters to finish the game.
Holy Cross improved to 7-1 on the season.
Abdul-Lateef goes deep, again: Freshman Jade Abdul-Lateef launched another home run in another Kaynor Tech win on Thursday.
Abdul-Lateef homered, doubled, drove in five runs and scored three more in a 27-11 Panther victory over Bullard-Havens. Kaynor improved to 4-1 with the win.

Crusaders still undefeated: Holy Cross parlayed wins over Crosby, Naugatuck and Sacred Heart into a perfect week and extended their fantastic start to 8-0.
The Crusaders blasted Crosby 18-2, shut down Naugatuck 2-0 behind a complete game four-hitter from Fran Phelan, then defeated Sacred Heart 6-2 in an ugly contest at Waterville Park.
Kaynor Tech picks up two wins: The Panthers were 0-5 to start the season, but they were able to snap that streak with wins over Whitney Tech and Bullard-Havens.
Kaynor won 13-1 and 5-0 to pick up its first wins of the season and is 2-5.
WCA spreads the love at the plate: Six Spartans had two or more hits in a 17-6 win over Wilby on Saturday. Jacob Torres had two doubles and triple to go along with three RBI and two runs scored. Celestino Toucet led in RBI with four and chipped in a pair of doubles. Mike Matta finished a homer short of the cycle, drove in two runs and scored two more out of the No. 9 spot in the batting order. Adrian Velez had three hits, including a triple, and three runs scored. Mark Cummings had two hits and two RBI while Jordan Layman added a double, a single and a run scored.

First loss for Holy Cross: The Crusaders lost 6-1 to Naugatuck on Tuesday at Naugatuck High School, their first defeat of the season.
Holy Cross still has the city's best record at 5-1.
Hearts not far behind: Sacred Heart has won four straight matches to improve to 5-2 on the season.
The Hearts and Crusaders still have to play each other twice this season. Postponements have been an issue, and both matches are listed as TBA.

First win for Crosby: The Bulldogs knocked off Sacred Heart 7-2 at Fulton Park on Wednesday to get in the win column.

Chalk one up for Holy Cross: The Crusaders picked up their first win of the season Monday when they knocked off Wolcott 15-10 in Wolcott.

WOLCOTT'S SPRING ROUNDUP #3: Boys tennis undefeated; boys lacrosse gets first wins

The Wolcott boys tennis team is off to an 8-0 start this season, and it has been a dominant start for the defending NVL champions.
The No. 1 through No. 4 singles players have not lost a match. Those Eagle singles players are Matt Spina (No. 1), Matt Mastropietro (No. 2), Alex Hale (No. 3) and Jackson Yost (No. 4).
Wolcott has also received solid singles play from Mike Perreault, Raheel Chowdhury, Tyler Shoban and Alex Fishbein in the No. 5 and 6 singles slots.
Wolcott is also solid in doubles, with the team of Spina and Mastropietro leading the way. The Eagles have given up just two team points so far this season.
Wolcott was supposed to face fellow undefeated NVL squad Torrington (6-0) Friday at Torrington, but rain postponed the match. The makeup date was TBA as of Friday night.

Wolcott made history on Monday when it picked up the first win in program history.
It took sudden death overtime, but the Eagles were able to nip Bristol Eastern 11-10 at Bristol Eastern High School.
Wolcott added a second win on Friday, 18-10 over Wamogo at home. The Eagles improved to 2-3 on the season.

Junior Nicole Antonowicz caught the attention of CPTV Sports, and Wolcott supporters helped her earn an honor from the organization.
Antonowicz was voted as Student-Athlete of the Week after winning three games in a four-day span last week.
Antonowicz began her week with a no-hitter against Thomaston on April 12. Antonowicz also pitched Wolcott to a 13-1 win over Woodland on April 13. On April 15, the Eagles beat Naugatuck 9-2 and Antonowicz was again the winning pitcher.
Wolcott has a 5-2 record on the season.

The Eagles improved to 5-2 on Wednesday with a 4-3 victory over Ansonia at Nolan Field.
Tied 2-2 entering the top of the sixth inning, Bobby White led off with a single. Trey Nastri doubled to drive White in for a 3-2 lead. After Nick Longo did his job with a sacrifice bunt, Anthony Ligi tripled home Nastri for a 4-2 advantage.
Ansonia had a double and triple leading off the bottom of the sixth to cut Wolcott's lead to 4-3, but White came on in relief and didn't let the Chargers get any closer.
The Eagles improved to 6-2 with a 6-0 shutout of Torrington on Saturday.

Wolcott girls track and field lost for the first time in 2017, defeated by Watertown 80-70 on Tuesday.
Cynthia Dias won the 100-meter hurdles and the javelin. Wolcott defeated St. Paul 112-31 at the same meet, which was held at Wolcott High School.

Wolcott lost for the first time this season against Torrington on Monday at Farmingbury Hills Country Club. The Eagles had a score of 189, three strokes more than a 186 for the Raiders.
Wolcott rebounded with a 179 in a win over Kennedy on Thursday at Western Hills Golf Course. The Eagles are 2-1 on the season.

BRISTOL'S SPRING ROUNDUP #3: St. Paul softball picks up biggest win of the season

St. Paul softball picked up the signature win of the season on Thursday at Oxford when it won 1-0.
The game was scoreless through six innings, then the Falcons were able to break through for the lone run of the game in the top of the seventh. Brooke Perez singled to drive in Abby Poirot on a two-out, 3-2 pitch.
Alessandra Milardo pitched a complete game and gave up four hits. Milardo struck out four on her way to victory.
Both teams came into the game 6-1, but in the end, St. Paul did enough to get to 7-1.
Martin's mash paces Lancers: Mikayla Martin picked a perfect time to launch a home run.
Trailing 1-0, Martin's two-run blast in the bottom of the fifth inning put Bristol Eastern ahead of Simsbury 2-1 on Wednesday. Erin Girard made it stand up, despite struggling in nasty weather conditions, and the Lancers improved to 5-1.

700 for the Lancers: Bristol Eastern recently had a four-game winning streak, and the last of those wins made for a major milestone.
The Lancers picked up the 700th win in program history by beating Glastonbury 10-2 on Wednesday at home. That win total was reported by Eastern stats guru and Bristol Observer writer Michael Letendre.
First start, first win for Rembish: St. Paul sent freshman Ethan Rembish to the mound on Thursday, and he picked up a win in his first varsity start.
Rembish led the way on the mound for the Falcons, who blew out Crosby 14-2 in a rain-shortened game.

Several winners for Central at Panther Invitational: The Rams had several winners at the meet, held Saturday at Plainfield High School.
At the varsity level, Adalia Malick was the winner of the 400-meter dash with a time of 1:02.75. The Bristol Central boys 4x400-meter relay won the varsity race in 3:35.14. The members of that relay were Luis Medina, David Bowes, Sean Fitzgerald and Kaynan Conrod. Bowes also won the freshman 400-meter dash in 52.31 seconds. Freshman Mark Petrosky won the 1600 meters in 4:53.78.

Bristol Central broke into the win column with an 8-5 victory over Wilbur Cross on Tuesday at home.
The Rams had lost their first four matches of the season before coming up with the win.

Friday, April 21, 2017

HIGH 5 OF THE WEEK: Driscoll earns top rookie honor while playing for University of Saint Joseph

McKenna Driscoll, University of Saint Joseph softball
Driscoll (USJ athletics)

Driscoll was a solid catcher for Bristol Central, and now she's playing well for the Blue Jays of West Hartford.
Driscoll earned Great Northeast Athletic Conference Rookie of the Week honors after blasting her way to a .688 batting average. She went 11-for-16 at the plate in six games. Driscoll had three hits in two separate games, and three of her 11 total hits went for extra bases. She tripled twice, doubled once, drove in three runs, scored five and drew four walks.
In 21 games played, Driscoll has collected a .442 batting average, .517 on-base percentage and .635 slugging. In 52 at bats, Driscoll has 23 hits, including three doubles, two triples, one home run, to go along with 15 RBI.

Beliveau (AIC athletics)
Sarah Beliveau, American International College softball
The former Bristol Eastern standout has been pitching well for the Yellow Jackets.
Beliveau found herself on the Northeast-10 Conference Honor Roll after putting together four solid efforts in the circle. Beliveau went 2-1 in three games with a 1.38 ERA in 20.1 innings of work. She compiled 18 strikeouts and gave up four earned runs. Beliveau tossed 5.1 shutout innings against New Haven on April 14. At the plate, Beliveau had three hits, two RBI and a .500 batting average.
Beliveau has appeared in 14 games, including nine starts. She has a 6-4 record with a 2.25 ERA. Beliveau has tossed five complete games and given up less hits (63) than innings pitched (68.1). She has walked 27 and opponents have a .240 batting average against her.

Danisha Craig, Marist College track and field
Craig (Marist athletics)

The former Bristol Central star has been putting up solid performances, but one on April 16 took the cake.
Craig didn't just break a nine-year-old outdoor track school record in the 400-meter dash, she shattered it. Holly Burns ran a 58.32 in 2008. At the Bucknell Bison Outdoor Classic on April 16 in Lewisburg, Penn., Craig ran a 57.83.
It's not the first time Craig has been part of a record-breaking performance at Marist. At the David Hemery Valentine Invitational on Feb. 10, Craig ran a 58.28 in the 400 to break the indoor track program record.
Craig and Marist are scheduled to compete in the Wolfie Invitational on Saturday at Stony Brook College.

Kawiecki (WNEU athletics)
Jake Kawiecki, Western New England University baseball
The former St. Paul standout was a nominee for Commonwealth Coast Conference Pitcher of the Week honors for his performance in an April 12 game.
Kawiecki pitched six scoreless innings in a 3-1 win at Curry College and gave up just four hits. He struck out four batters and walked one in a strong effort on the mound.
Kawiecki has appeared in five games, all starts for Western New England. He has the third-best ERA on the staff at 1.73. Kawiecki has posted a 2-1 record and has pitched 26 innings. He has given up just seven runs, five earned, on 20 hits. Kawiecki has struck out 23 while walking just seven.

Kyle Bonicki, Clark University baseball
Bonicki (Clark athletics)

Chase Collegiate's former star player has been one of the top hitters again for the Cougars this season.
Thirty-three games into the 2017 season, Bonicki is first in at bats (137), runs scored (40), doubles (16), triples (6) and slugging percentage (.644). He is second in hits (51), home runs (4) and batting average (.372). Bonicki is tied for second in RBI (27) and stolen bases (10). He is third in on-base percentage at .429.
When looking at Clark's offense, it starts and ends with Bonicki. On April 11, Bonicki blasted a go-ahead, two-run homer to center field in the bottom of the seventh inning of an 8-3 win over Babson College. Bonicki ended up a triple shy of the cycle that game.
Bonicki has had one four-hit game and four games with three hits. He has had 18 games of at least two hits.

Statistics compiled from the websites of each athlete's team.