Monday Morning Thoughts. High School baseball and softball get underway this week.
TORRINGTON- It sure doesn’t feel like Opening Day of the 2016 baseball season. Mid-season football weather or Super Bowl temps? That’s more like it, but the calendar says that’s it’s time for hardball and softball action to begin around the area and on the national scene.
Opening day locally was supposed to be Saturday but Mother Nature, who was relatively silent for the past four months, decided to extract a little revenge as most games on Saturday were called off.
The Torrington baseball team will try their luck again on Monday after losing their opener against Woodland on Saturday but the forecast for Monday doesn’t look much better than the weekend did.
Nothing spell misery better than an inside pitch off your hands in 35 degree weather. Talk about a wake-up call.
Torrington is scheduled to take on defending Class L champion North Haven at 4 p.m. at Fuessenich Park in an out of conference match up.
If Monday does not happen for the Raiders, they get another shot on Wednesday when Derby comes to town for a 3:45 start.
Head coach pat Richardson is looking to take a talented group of Raiders, led by Dom Sabia, Nate Manchester, Kobe Covington and Cameron Cerruto deep into the post season this spring.
Sabia, who is getting looks from many Division I schools, will lead a hit squad that features the heavy hitting Covington (who will play first and third this year) and one of the best catchers in the Naugatuck Valley League in Cerruto.
Manchester and Jason Vinisko will lead a pitching staff that also includes Delvin Alvarez and Jake Reynolds, amongst others.
Torrington finished the 2015 campaign with a 13-7 record but the season had started with so much promise when the Raiders jumped out to an 8-0 start only to drop seven of their last twelve.
They lost a first round decision to Pomperaug, 10-0 in Class L action so you could say that the season as a whole was a bit of a disappointment, based on how much promise the hot start gave them.
It’s still a relatively young team with just four seniors on the roster but their junior star thinks they should compete in 2016.
“Even though we are young,” Sabia said. “I think with how hard the young guys have worked overall should help us this year.”
Avoiding the kind of slide the Raiders had after the fast start will be a critical part of this year’s team and Sabia thinks this group will be able to handle the ups and downs of a season.
“If we have a tough loss,” Sabia said, “We just have to put it behind us and get ready for the next game.”
Gone from last year’s squad are two high quality players, Manny Rios and Ben Bonvicini who will certainly be missed.
…..The Raiders softball team is one that is filled with talent at key spots, as soon as they get them all back from pre-season injuries.
Fresh off a 17-5 overall record in 2015 that included a pair of wins in the Class L state tournament, the Raiders return one of the top pitchers in the NVL in Ali Dubois but on a limited basis.
Dubois had a right foot injury that just emerged from a boot as the spring pre-season began and the fire balling junior will be limited to three innings per game for the first two weeks of the campaign.
Those two weeks feature match ups against perennial powers Holy Cross and Seymour along with games versus Derby, Woodland, Kennedy and Crosby.
After her three innings, head Coach Maryanne Musselman (now in her 16th year) has back up help from freshman Julia Fritz on the mound.
The experience Fritz gets should be good for her development and ultimately help the Raiders in the long run.
Torrington will also be missing junior Alexis Tyrell for a time due to her injured arm but an offense by committee, led by junior standout Carissa Carbone will hopefully do enough damage to keep the Raiders success they have had over the years continue in 2016.
Lauren Jamieson, Taylor Rogers, Ashley Dowd, Sidnee Kovall and Amanda Thiel will also be counted on to contribute this spring.
Staying steady until they get fully healthy will be the key to this year’s Raiders softball team.