Raiders Find Plenty To Build Off Of In Loss To Oxford (By Rich Elliott)
POSTED April 14, 2017
By Rich Elliott
TORRINGTON – The Torrington High baseball team has been looking for something positive to build off of during what has been a challenging start to the season. With this in mind, Coach Pat Richardson issued a challenge to the Raiders prior to facing a talented Oxford team Wednesday.
Richardson desperately wanted them to walk away feeling good about themselves and with some momentum. And despite suffering a 10-4 loss at Fuessenich Park, Torrington did just that. Senior right-hander Jake Reynolds delivered a solid start and the offense came alive in the late innings.
``That’s what we needed,’’ Richardson said. ``And I think we got a little something to build on in all facets of the game. It wasn’t perfect, but I’m hoping we’re building something here. I thought that we made some noise. And a couple plays are made and a couple hits with runners in scoring position, it’s a whole different game.’’
The Raiders (0-4, 0-3 NVL) were without first baseman Delvin Alvarez, who is expected to be sidelined for two weeks after sustaining a sprained medial collateral ligament in his right knee in Monday’s loss to Holy Cross. Second baseman Austin Todd continues to deal with a left shoulder injury that leaves him unable to hit.
Dom Sabia was 2-for-3 with a home run and two runs scored the Raiders. Ben Vanotti also had two hits, while Cam Cerruto doubled, drove in a run and scored a run.
Torrington will look to continue its building process at Naugatuck Thursday. The Greyhounds (1-1) were defeated 14-1 by Wolcott at home Wednesday.
``I saw improvements as a team as a whole,’’ Reynolds said. ``I just know that it’s coming if we stay focused, keep positive and keep bringing each other up. I think we’ve got some good guys here. We’ve got the bats to do it. We’ve got the fielders to do it. We’ve just got to string it all together at the right time and that’s what comes with growing as a team. Get it out of the way early rather than late. I expect us to be a late hot team and make a run. (Wednesday) showed me our potential.
``Hopefully, we’ll get Austin back. Hopefully, we’ll get Delvin back and we’ll improve. I’m not giving up on this team whatsoever. I just know we have the guys to do it.’’
Reynolds (0-2) allowed three earned runs on seven hits over five innings. He walked two of the first six hitters he faced before failing to walk any of the final 20.
Reynolds managed to escape a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the first inning by allowing just one run. He was unlucky in the second inning when Oxford scored three unearned runs on a two-out throwing error and an RBI single by Andrew Cuomo and again in the third when Jason DeNigris delivered a two-out, two-run single following a pair of infield singles and a sacrifice bunt.
``I was more settled in (Wednesday),’’ Reynolds said. ``I was working off my curve and I was locating well. I know I had these guys second time around. The first time around I was still settling in. But I knew I had them second time around. I just threw too many pitches. That’s what it comes down to.’’
Reynolds retired five of the last six hitters he faced in an 88-pitch outing.
``I thought he did a really good job,’’ Richardson said. ``The defense let him down there a little bit one inning. He kept his composure and mixed his pitches real well. He had them off-balance. And I thought he looked real good in the fifth inning. His pitch count was getting up there. But I thought he did a great job. You take away a couple miscues in the field and that’s a real quality start for him.’’
DeNigris (1-0) allowed three runs on six hits, struck out six and walked two in six innings to earn the win. He was also 3-for-5 and scored twice at the plate.
Michael Michaud (two runs) and Matt Stordy (RBI, run) also had three hits for Oxford (5-0, 4-0). Cuomo added two hits, two RBIs and scored a run.
``That was a great performance,’’ Oxford coach Brian Hourigan said of DeNigris. ``We knew they had some big hitters and he kind of kept them at bay. And he also kind of sparked our offense, which we were looking for from him. So he had a great day.’’
The Raiders generated one run and two hits through the first five innings. However, sparked by Sabia and Cerruto in the No. 3 and 4 spots in the lineup, they produced three runs and five hits in the final two innings.
Sabia drilled a solo home run to left with one out in the fifth. Cerruto followed with a double off the fence in right-center and scored on a single by Mike Paniati.
In the seventh, Torrington loaded the bases with one out on a walk by Aaron Bainer, a single by Reynolds and Sabia was hit by a pitch. Cerruto then lifted a high sacrifice fly to the base of the fence in left.
The Raiders had scored a combined four runs in the first three games.
``We have 16 games left so I think it’s a bridge,’’ Richardson said. ``If we came out here and looked like we did against North Haven (a 17-1 loss) or against Holy Cross (19-1) it definitely would not have been a good thing. But I think we have something to build upon now.’’