Newington baseball closed out their regular season on a high note, defeating Wethersfield 11-4 at WHS last Monday night to capture the CCC-North Colonial Divisional title.
The win was the Indians sixth straight, ending the regular season with a division best 14-6 mark.
“I believe baseball is a big-time momentum game and right now we have momentum on our side. We look for spots in-game to steal momentum, we look for spots during the season to steal momentum,” said Newington head coach Ben Alaimo, “This is our second six game winning streak of the season, so we have the ability to go on a run.”
Cooper Johnson had a stellar day from the plate, connecting on two hits and driving in two. Fellow senior Jay Vereneau also had two hits and an RBI.
“Early in the season you’re trying to find what you’ve got and you’re moving guys around,” added Alaimo, whose team was 6-4 entering the month of May, “All year we’ve had great pitching and defensively I think we’ve figured a few things out in the second half of the season. Prior to today our last five victories we gave up a total of five runs. That’s phenomenal pitching but more importantly we saw some great defense and as you noticed today we put 11 runs on the board against a very good Wethersfield team, which I’m really excited about because if you can put all three phases of the game together you’ve got a good shot to win.”
Senior ace Joey Zawisza earned another win from the mound, his sixth of the season. The hard-throwing righty tossed five solid innings before giving way to Josh LeClair, who closed it out.
“He’s been our #1 for three years. This will be his third year pitching in the state tournament and I think that experience will serve him well,” Alaimo said of Zawisza, “He’s able to handle hitters who are very good. He locates the fast ball extremely well, can locate the curve ball and throw the change-up. He can keep hitters off balance. He’s got a bulldog mentality and was able to battle through, and a couple of times he had bases loaded with no out and I think we gave up one in those spots. We bend but don’t break. That mentality in baseball can take you far.”
Zawisza got himself out of a base loaded jam with no outs in the third inning, surrendering only one run, and polished off his night in the fifth when he struck out a pair of batters and forced a ground out after Wethersfield had narrowed the margin to 8-3.
The Eagles got as close as 8-4 in the sixth when Jimmy Sullivan, who is headed to the University of Virginia, smacked a double to the gap, driving in Roan Moran. But that was as close at the home team would get the rest of the way.
Newington officially put a stamp of the three hour game in the seventh inning when they scored a trio of runs. Ethan Errera was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, sending home John Kelley, and Gunner Johnson was walked, sending home LeClair. Errera then crossed the plate following a wild pitch.
The win was Newington’s second of the season over their rivals, also defeating the Eagles 4-0 at NHS on May 2.
“We talk about not having to coach effort, energy, attitude, and motivation. That stuff should come from the kids, but anytime that you’re playing Wethersfield the kids get excited about it. I tell them to treat it like any other game and continue to stay focused with laser intensity for seven innings and today we did that and capitalized on some of their mistakes which is something that we need to be able to do if we want to extend into the postseason,” stated Alaimo, whose team earned the #10-seed in Class LL.
During the recent six-game winning streak, the Indians also defeated Rocky Hill 11-0 in sixth innings on May 17. LeClair pitched a complete game, allowing only two hits, and Zawisza did the most damaged from the plate, connecting on three hits (two doubles) and driving in two.
”The mentality to the team, they have tremendous chemistry right now. They’re playing well at the right time,” Alaimo said of the team’s mindset, “We talked earlier in the year about climbing the ladder and continually climbing the ladder throughout the season and we’re starting to see us get to that top rung. We have room to go. One of our goals was to get into the tournament and one of our goals was to have an opportunity to win the division.”
Wethersfield ended the regular season with a 6-4 victory over Maloney last Thursday in their home finale. The Eagles finished 13-7, giving them the #11-seed in Class L.
Terriers Softball Wins Division
Rocky Hill softball won the CCC North Colonial Division after defeating New Britain 7-1 last Monday night. The Terriers were celebrating Senior Night and needed the win to secure the division championship; otherwise the Golden Hurricane of New Britain would have been crowned champs. Senior Rachel Roncaioli pitched a complete game, striking out five, and sophomore Megan Khanna drove in two runs and scored another. Pictured is Roncaioli (#3) with fellow seniors #6 Gina Genovese, #1 Sophie Kurdziel, #4 Kiana Lebron-Rivera, #9 Maddi Santo, #2 Melanie Tejeda, #18 Yineirie Tejeda
Eagles Girls Tennis Celebrates Seniors
Wethersfield girls’ tennis won 13 of their 20 meets this spring, including four straight to end the regular season. Last Monday the Eagles celebrated Senior Night before a win over E.O. Smith. The seven seniors recognized were Kendall Cathcart, Lily Gaunt, Caroline Logan, Heather Mayo, Emma Rocheleau, Taylor Simone and Chloe Troy.
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Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin