Pitching sparks hot start for Titans. Story by John Nestor
Torrington Titans starter Tyler Dierke prepares to deliver a pitch Sunday during a 4-2 win over Pittsfield. Dierke tossed seven scoreless innings.
TORRINGTON – The Torrington Titans are at the top of the Futures Collegiate Baseball League standings and it is easy to see why. Plain and simple, the Titans are getting great starting pitching.
An outstanding start by Alec Palioca on opening night was followed by a solid road outing by Jordan Lozzi. Torrington then ran its record to a perfect 3-0 Sunday afternoon when Tyler Dierke turned in a gem against the Pittsfield Suns, allowing three hits in seven scoreless innings.
The starters have combined to allow just two runs – one earned – in 18 innings. The numbers keep coming and they are all impressive, 13 strikeouts to three walks and just two extra-base hits allowed in three games.
It all starts with an aggressive mentality and then dictating the at-bats and it seems to be something contagious with this staff.
“We have just been attacking the hitters, getting ahead is a big part of pitching,” Palioca said. “We are focusing on getting ahead in the count, the catchers are calling good games, we're just going after it.”
Dierke echoed Palioca's assessment after dominating a Suns lineup that had scored 33 runs in their first three games.
“Throwing a first pitch strike is my key when I go out there,” Dierke said. “We all are just solid pitchers and the starters have done a good job of keeping us in games early.”
The strong starting pitching has been the foundation of a solid start for first-year coach Misha Dworkin's club. Throw in some solid offense and a deep bullpen and it's been a formula for success.
“It's the best recipe ever invented, your starter goes seven shutout, that's like ordering filet,” Dworkin said. “They are just talented kids, I inherited some good arms. They are good, they were starters in college, had good numbers and they have come out and picked up right where they left off.”
Not that it hasn't at least been a little surprising.
First-year pitching coach Bobby Chatfield played for the Titans last season and knows how tough the league can be, especially in the early going. He knew he had some talent to work with but the talent has actually kept him from having to do much so far.
“I wasn't expecting our first three starters to give up a combined two runs the first three games. I figured they might scuffle a little bit,” Chatfield said. “I didn't think they would come out and dominate those three teams. It certainly makes my job a lot easier.”
Chatfield's job has been a simple one because of the relatively simple approach his starters have taken so far. Get ahead of hitter and go after them. It also helps that they have the stuff to pull it off.
“Get ahead and mix from there. That's the name of the game, especially with wood bats. Get that first pitch strike over and mix pitches from there,” Chatfield said. “They have been getting ahead and mixing from there. These guys got quite a bit of experience in their college season and it is carrying over. I'm enjoying it.”