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Early Woes Continue for Raiders in 19-1 Loss To Holy Cross (By Rich Elliott)

POSTED April 11, 2017
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By Rich Elliott

TORRINGTON – The pitching staff and the productivity of the starting lineup were concerns of Torrington High baseball coach Pat Richardson throughout the preseason. Thoughts of a slow start certainly crossed his mind.

Through the first three games of the season, Richardson’s concerns have become reality. The Raiders have struggled on the mound and at the plate in what has been a winless opening week.

The frustration continued Monday as five pitchers combined to allow 16 hits and walk nine in a 19-1 loss to Holy Cross at Fuessenich Park. Torrington was outscored 16-0 over the final four innings.

``It’s frustrating to lose. There’s two games we really weren’t in,’’ Richardson said. ``But it’s going to be one of those years we have to take it game-by-game. We have to build for the rest of this year and build for the future and try to win some games in between.

``We need our pitching to be there. We need to score a lot more runs, which already this year has been a struggle. We need just to figure it out and jump on teams early and put their backs against the wall instead of us having our backs against the wall.’’

The Raiders have allowed 39 runs over the first three games. They have scored four.

Senior Dom Sabia was 2-for-4 and drove in a run against Holy Cross (2-0). His seventh-inning single was the lone hit for the Raiders after they had produced five over the first 2 2/3 innings.

``It’s a little frustrating, definitely,’’ Sabia said. ``We’ve definitely got some bats in the lineup that can do a lot of damage. We’re just waiting for it to click on and definitely string some hits together at the right times and score some runs. (Monday) we had a couple shots. A couple more hits here and there we might have had a couple more runs. But, overall, we’ve definitely just got to grow a little bit more. Some younger guys on the squad, it’s their first year on varsity. They’re hanging in there, definitely getting their work in. But I see going down the road we’ll definitely turn things around.’’

The Raiders lost their opener 17-1 at North Haven April 5 before falling 3-2 at Derby Saturday. They will host Oxford (4-0) Wednesday before traveling to Naugatuck (1-0) Thursday.

``Hopefully, we could get two wins out of that or at least one win and get things rolling,’’ Sabia said.

The Raiders, who scored once despite loading the bases twice in the third inning, trailed 3-1 heading to the fourth. Richardson went to the bullpen and Holy Cross blew the game open by scoring eight runs on five hits and three walks.

The Crusaders added six more runs in the fifth on one hit, three walks and a hit batter.

``With the number of games we have… It’s our first game of the week and plus they had scored three runs there already (off junior starter Brian Bassler),’’ Richardson said. ``And I was hoping that a little mix there would put us in the game. It was a two-run game at that point. But I have him for the rest of the week now.’’

Sophomore Connor Goggin powered Holy Cross with a three-run home run in the fourth and a grand slam in the fifth. The Crusaders have scored 27 runs in their first two games.

``Once someone gets a hit we just keeping adding it,’’ Goggin said. ``We get used to the pitching. We just keep hitting.’’

The Raiders also suffered a loss in personnel. Senior first baseman Delvin Alvarez, who is also a member of the pitching staff, was forced to leave the game at the end of the second inning. He injured his right knee fielding a throw from Reynolds at third for the final out.

``Sounds like his knee cap popped out,’’ Richardson said. ``It sounds like it’s day-to-day, but he’s got to go get it checked out.’’

Senior Jake Reynolds also had two hits for Torrington. Sophomore C.J. Root singled and scored a run.

``The league the way it is, and the schedule the way it is, it’s all about what you do at the end,’’ Richardson said. ``The hottest team at the right time of the year can win the tournament. There’s been teams that come out of nowhere and win. And I hope we have one of those teams. Our guys keep their heads up out there. So they’re not quitting by any stretch of the imagination. I’m just telling them take it game-by-game, inning-by-inning, pitch-by pitch. It’s really the only option we have.’’

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