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Titans Notebook: Cleaning things up, Odenwaelder and more draft thoughts

POSTED June 11, 2015
BY John Nestor
Twitter: @nestorjdn

TORRINGTON - At 2-3 on the season thru five games and with a pair of one-run losses in their last two games, the Torrington Titans would definitely like to have a better record, but no one at Feussenich Park is hitting the panic button.

The Titans have shown signs of being the contending team Dan McNamara saw in the preseason and now it's just a matter of putting it all together.

On Wednesday night the Titans gave up three runs in the sixth and ended up with a 4-3 loss to the Martha's Vineyard Sharks. Torrington had a rally going in the ninth but ran itself out of the inning, having a runner thrown out at the plate for the second out and committing two errors in the game.

"We need to tighten things up in the field defensively and every game has been a close game," Titans coach Dan McNamara said. "We're playing good baseball but it just hasn't shown up on the scoreboard."

McNamara and assistant Kyle Decker like the team's work ethic and what they have in their pitching staff, now they just have to put it all together, especially in the field since the Titans have not had an error-free game yet this season.

"Once we shore up the defense we'll be fine and you'll see a championship level team playing out there," McNamara said. "We are doing a lot of good things we just have to clean up a couple areas."

ORIOLES GET IT RIGHT WITH ODENWAELDER - McNamara was thrilled for former Wamogo and Titans star Mike Odenwaelder when he was selected by the Baltimore Orioles in the 16th round of the MLB Draft on Wednesday. McNamara was only surprised he was around that long.

It may have been he's from and plays in the Northeast, plus he is at a D-III school in the NESCAC, but despite all that McNamara believes Odenwaleder should have come off the board sooner.

"Maybe I'm biased but I think he could have went much higher," McNamara said. "I called him to congratulate him and just tell him I'm really happy for him. He was thrilled."

Odenwalder has shown power and the ability to hit for average at the plate and can pitch as well. His versatility will serve him well as he embarks on a professional career.

"Mike is kind of a jack of all trades in that he can be a position player or a pitcher, it's whatever the organization wants him to be," McNamara said. "There's no end in sight to what Mike can do, it's just putting him in the best position for him to succeed."

Decker has a unique perspective having been a teammate of Odenwaleder's with the Titans last season.

""He's a great player and he's still raw," Decker said. "He didn't start playing summer baseball until he figured out he was going to play in college and you can just see, his mental approach, he was as locked in as anyone at the plate last season."

Both coaches expect big things from Odenwaleder in the coming years.

"I think the skies the limit for him," Decker said.

"They got it right in picking him and if you ask me in five years we'll probably see him in the big leagues," said McNamara.

DRAFT DAY CONNECTIONS: Titans Zach Wood and Joe Paparelli are teammates at Bryant College and Nick Lamberti just finished his freshman year at UConn and all three saw friends and teammates get the call in the MLB Draft this week.

Bryant pitcher Kyle Wilcox was selected by Seattle in the sixth round

"I know his really well and the kid is a freak of nature, just one of those kids," Wood said. "He's a really athletic kid. Any sport he plays he's good at."

Wilcox is especially good at pitching and he left an impression on Wood starting in the offseason.

"I never faced him in a game situation but in live cages in the winter, the first time stepped in wasn't expecting his deuce and he fooled me," Wood said.

Paparelli wasn't surprised Wilcox heard his name called either.

"He's deserving. He has a gifted arm that very few people have and he's worked really hard during his time at Bryant," Paparelli said. "It's great that he's getting a shot at the next level."

Despite being a smaller school in Rhode Island, Wilcox isn't the first Bryant player to be selected recently. The Bulldogs have had eight players drafted in the past three years.

"It lets me know I'm at the right place to get to the next level," Paparelli said.

Lamberti has been productive for the Titans after a redshirt year at UConn and had a feeling going into the draft that catcher Max McDowell, second baseman Vinny Siena and pitcher Carson Cross were all going to get the call.

"All three of them are tremendous guys, hard worker and great players, I knew they were going to get drafted," Lamberti said. "They went out and did things the right way, overcame adversity and now get a chance to move on. I'm happy for all three of them."

POWER OUTAGE: It's a small sample size but the Titans have just one home run through their first five games. During the team's spring training, Coach Dan McNamara liked the pop he saw in the bats and while it hasn't manifested itself in home runs, he feels those will be coming.

Wood homered in the season opener and that has been it for the Titans.

"Very surprising from what we saw in spring training," McNamara said. "We saw a lot of pop but now we have just one home run."

The season just starting, guys are still working their way into the lineup and some guys not playing every day are all factors in the slow home run start but McNamara is confident the ball will start jumping off of some Titans bats.

"It's early and it's just a matter of time," McNamara said. "A lot of these guys are coming in and seeing the most live pitching they have all season. They will have to make some adjustments and then the pop will be there."

NOTES: The Titans have scored six runs in two of their first five games and lost both. They have scored a combined seven runs in their two wins. ... Former Titans Gus Craig and Jordan Serena were both drafted on Wednesday. Both players recently finished up senior seasons at Columbia and were major contributor for the Lions, who went to the NCAA Tournament as the Ivy League champs the last three seasons. Craig, an outfielder and the Ivy League co-player of the year, was drafted in the 30th round by the Seattle Mariners. Serena, who played some infield in Torrington, was also drafted as an outfielder in the 35th round by the Angels. ... While we are on the subject of former Titans, Delmarva Shorebird slugger Conor Bierfeldt was named a South Atlantic League All-Star on Tuesday.  Bierfeldt leads the league and is fifth in all of minor league baseball with 48 RBI this season.

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