Sunday, May 6, 2018

Looking back at Wolcott baseball's big win over Woodland

Junior Jeff Nicol, middle, was all smiles after his two-run homer
in the second inning on Friday. (Copyright, Sports on CT-69)
Wolcott baseball appears to have righted the ship.
After three straight frustrating one-run losses, the Eagles won a close home game against Sacred Heart on Wednesday by a score of 7-5. A much tougher challenge awaited on Friday at home when Woodland, winners of 11 straight, visited Wolcott High School.
The Eagles were up to the task and took down the Hawks 7-3 in a pivotal NVL Iron Division game. Wolcott improved to 11-3, 4-1 in the division, and took over sole possession of first place. Woodland dropped to 12-3, 3-2 in the division.


GALLERY: Here are my photos from Friday's game.


VIDEO: Take a look at my Instagram account for highlights.


Some key points from Friday's win:


PATIENCE
Senior Nick Longo worked two big walks, and his free pass
with two outs in the second brought up Nicol, who brought
him in with a two-run homer. (Copyright, Sports on CT-69)

Wolcott worked seven walks out of three Woodland pitchers, none bigger than the one from senior Nick Longo in the bottom of the second inning.
Longo scratched out a two-out walk, which brought junior Jeff Nicol to the plate. Nicol smacked a 1-1 pitch the other way over the right centerfield fence for a two-run home run and a 2-1 Eagle advantage. The Hawks had just taken a 1-0 lead on back-to-back doubles in the top of the inning, so the response in the bottom half was a big one.
Wolcott drew four walks in the third inning, and Longo's second one of the day, this time with the bases loaded, gave the home side a 4-1 lead. Junior Dane Hassan had led off the third with a walk, and he scored the inning's first run from third base on an errant pickoff throw to first.


ESCAPE ARTIST
Junior Jack Drewry started on the mound, and he found himself in more jams than he would have liked, but he escaped without any major damage.
After Jason Claiborn's ringing double off the wall in right center put Woodland up 1-0 in the second, Drewry picked up a strikeout, flyout and strikeout to keep the damage to one run. Claiborn did reach third on a wild pitch with two outs, but Drewry left him there.
The Hawks had a runner at second with one out in the third, but Drewry got a strikeout and groundout to end the inning. With one out in the fourth, Claiborn hit the fence in right center with his second double, and he again reached third on a wild pitch. Drewry was helped out by senior second baseman Nick Trager, who snagged a line drive for the second out. A grounder to Trager ended the inning with Claiborn on third.
Junior Dane Hassan pitched two scoreless innings of relief
and picked up a save. (Copyright, Sports on CT-69)
Woodland did get to Drewry in the fifth on a two-out, two-run homer by Zack Bedryczuk to make the score 6-3, but the Wolcott right-hander picked up his seventh and final strikeout to end the inning.


INSTANT RELIEF
Hassan was called on to pitch in the sixth, and he yielded a single hit over the final two innings on his way to a save.
The lefty struck out two and walked none on 32 pitches. Hassan's scoreless top of the sixth kept the lead at three runs, then senior Ethan Gillotti's sacrifice fly in the bottom frame put Wolcott up 7-3.


BALANCED ATTACK
The Eagles only had six hits to along with their seven runs, but those hits came from five different people.
Drewry led the way with two singles and was walked twice. Trager doubled, drove in a run and scored twice. Nicol had his two-run homer, and Longo drew a pair of big walks. Gillotti singled, drove in a run on his sac fly and walked, and senior Tino Ciarlo singled and scored a run. Sophomore Owen Yost also scored a run.


LOOKING AHEAD
The second-to-last week of the regular season will see Wolcott play four games.
First up is Naugatuck on the road Monday at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday brings an interesting non-division matchup at St. Paul at 4 p.m. Another Iron clash happens Friday at Torrington at 3:45. The Eagles close out the busy week on Saturday with an 11 a.m. home game against Ansonia.

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