Banche and Cerruto team up to handle rival Naugatuck, 6-3.
TORRINGTON: A battery starts a car or truck, gives it the power, spark and energy that it needs to succeed at the task of getting us somewhere.
There’s a different kind of battery on the baseball diamond but at times, like Friday, it can function just the same in the spark and energy department.
Sophomore pitcher Kyle Banche and his catcher, West Point bound Cam Cerruto, were all that one could hope a battery would be on Friday afternoon at a sundrenched (no misprint) afternoon at Fuessenich Park where the Torrington baseball team did an awful lot of good things in a 6-3 win over rival Naugatuck.
The win, their second in a row, improves the teams record to 3-2 and more importantly, seems to point to a season that while slow to get underway because of the weather, may turn out to be something special is certain key factors continue.
Their head coach Pat Richardson is extremely pleased with what he has seen so far, even if it is early.
“Five great baseball games,” Richardson said. “I just told these guys that I know we’re just five games in, but I am so proud of them. In my eight years as head coach, the team chemistry that we have right now is the best we’ve ever had. The selfless attitudes by a lot of these guys, wanting to do whatever is in the best interest of the team is something that I can’t put a price on.”
On his eighteenth birthday, Cerruto, with a member of the West Coast coaching staff on hand, put on an early show that continues a hot start that is helping make the Raiders a tough team.
His big day started with an absolute blast over the left centerfield fence that drove in two runs and nearly cleared the Naugatuck river that runs behind Fuessenich Park and is certainly on its way down towards the southern reaches of Litchfield County.
The Cerruto home run gave Banche a two-run lead early after the righty hurler had worked out of a second and third jam with just one out in the top of the first.
In the bottom of the second, Cerruto struck again with a two-run triple driven down the right field line that plated two more. Two at bats. Two hits, a home run and four driven in.
Good day for West Point to come to town.
That rally almost didn’t happen if not for a hustle play by Aaron Bainer who reached first after striking out on a pitch that went to the backstop. Without the heads up play by their centerfielder, the inning is over.
Bainer has been something else so far this season, playing a terrific centerfield and showing off an arm that will be his pitchers best friend this season. He showcased it again on Friday in a key spot.
After Banche had retired 10 straight, he ran into some trouble in the top of the fifth when the Greyhounds scored twice and were threatening to score more.
With two outs in the frame and runners first and second, Greyhound centerfielder Mike Patton lined a single to center that Bainer charged and fired a bullet to Cerruto who waited to make the tag for the rally killing out.
The Greyhounds would get one more back in the top of the sixth to close within one at 4-3 but Banche hung tough, wanting to finish what he started.
“There was no way I wanted to come out of that game,” Banche said. “We got those two runs in the sixth which helped a lot.”
The pair of insurance runs were significant and may typify what this team’s identity looks like going forward.
Naugatuck starter, Nathan Deptula had settled down after the early runs, retiring eight in a row until with one out in the sixth, Casey Navin singled to center.
Ben Richardson followed with a single to left center after the Greyhounds had changed pitchers, putting runners on first and second.
In an example of the unselfish play is head coach had talked about, Adam Vanotti put down a perfect sacrifice up the first base side, forcing the pitcher to make the play at first while the moving runners up to second and third with two outs.
Two out hits.
How critical are they? Plenty and when they needed them, they got them.
Bainer stepped in and lined a single to right for one large insurance run and was followed by another key RBI by CJ Root for the three-run lead.
With that three spot in his back pocket, Banche was not about to let the Greyhounds come back again and despite a two-out double, got the final out that settled in the reliable glove of Bainer for the final out and the “W”.
“We have not made mistakes in the field, by and large,” Richardson said. “And we have played some of the best teams in the league with more tough ones to come. As long as we stay within ourselves and guys are doing what they are, we should be alright.”
NOTES: The Raiders are back in action on Monday at home when they face off against Woodland, followed by another home cooked meal on Wednesday when they host Wilby. They travel to Wolcott on Friday.