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Baseball Notebook: Lewis Mills Is Putting It All Together

Hartford Courant 2017-05-19 21:41:00

All that work with the gloves is working for the Lewis Mills High of Burlington baseball team.

Last year the Spartans committed 67 errors, finished 7-13 and didn't qualify for the Class M tournament.

This year they've made 28 errors, were 16-2 through Thursday's games and already have qualified for the postseason out of the Berkshire League.

"We gave teams too many outs last year," coach Jesse Darcy said. "We took more grounders in the offseason and in season, but the big thing is our guys are more focused on what they'll do with the ball before it is hit to them, and then making plays."

TOM YANTZ

The undefeated Ellington High baseball team moved up five positions to No. 5 in The Courant state ratings with victories over Coventry, Portland and Canton. Holy Cross, the only other unbeaten team in the state, cracked the ratings at No. 6 with a 3-0 week. Despite losing its first game of the...

The undefeated Ellington High baseball team moved up five positions to No. 5 in The Courant state ratings with victories over Coventry, Portland and Canton. Holy Cross, the only other unbeaten team in the state, cracked the ratings at No. 6 with a 3-0 week. Despite losing its first game of the...

(TOM YANTZ)

Fielding alone didn't lift the Spartans to the most victories in Darcy's five years at Lewis Mills.

"Our pitchers have given up fewer walks," he said. "They're pitching to contact."

Senior right-hander Bill Willett was 5-0 and had only allowed six walks before Lewis Mills played Terryville Friday. Jake Jennings is 4-0, Brian Nedley 3-0 and Kyle Alvarez 3-1 with a save.

At the plate, Darcy said his team "is strong one through nine." Leadoff man Will Coughlin, who went 3-for-5 in an 18-9 win at Housatonic Regional-Falls Village Wednesday, has nine doubles and eight triples.

The only losses have been to two tough non-formidable non-league opponents: reigning Class S champion St. Paul-Bristol (12-7) and Sheehan-Wallingford, the 2015 Class M champion (4-3).

"We're confident we can play with any team we meet," Dracy said.

Two Rivers At DD Park

Two Rivers-Hartford plays the final home game in its brief history at Dunkin' Donuts Park Tuesday.

Two Rivers will close after this school year. Students will attend CREC's Academy of Science and Innovation in New Britain in the next school year.

"We've had a varsity team for three years," Two Rivers coach Ryan Anderson said. "Our team has taken its lumps, but the program has grown."

This season Two Rivers (7-8) has qualified for its first state tournament in Class S.

"We emphasize 'family,' that we're all in this together," Anderson said. "Our players encourage each other and how can we get better?"

Freshman shortstop Steven Hicks bats .705 with 31 hits, 36 RBI and a 1.204 SLG percentage. Sophomore center fielder/pitcher Melvin Saylor has a .415 batting average, 19 stolen bases and a 2.13 ERA. Senior pitcher Victor Rodriguez has a 3.17 ERA and three wins, senior outfielder Luis Nazario is hitting .469 with 15 runs, and sophomore catcher Anthony Dones has a .317 batting average.    

Two Rivers plays HMTCA-Hartford at Dunkin' Donuts Park Tuesday and ends its regular season against Aerospace at Martin Park-East Hartford Wednesday.

"It'll be special at Dunkin' Donuts, especially for our four seniors, who've given so much to the program: Rodriguez, Zak Roger, Andrew Helminand Nazario," Anderson said. "We'll be in a new place next season. We're looking forward to Tuesday. To be in that beautiful ball park is special. The spirit, togetherness, and willingness to try and if knocked down, get up and try again, are some of things I'll always remember about this team, the first to play in the states."

Ellington Lone Unbeaten

Of the 178 teams in the state, only one remains undefeated, Ellington.

The Knights, No. 5 in The Courant state ratings, went to 17-0 with a 6-2 win over Granby Thursday. Nick Abbruzzese had three hits and two RBI, and Joshua Sumislaski earned the victory.

Holy Cross-Waterbury's undefeated quest ended in its 19th game with a 8-5 loss to St. Paul Tuesday.  

Ellington faces some tests in its last three regular-season games on the road: Haddam-Killingworth, No. 7 in The Courant area ratings, Sunday; Canton Monday and Tolland, No. 3 in The Courant state ratings, Tuesday.

East Catholic Pitching

East Catholic-Manchester has weathered injuries to its pitching staff to stand at 14-5.

Tyler Flanigan, Jeff Walsh and Connor Williams, who in the preseason were expected to be significant contributors, have combined to pitch only a few innings. Flanigan and Walsh have dealt with shoulder issues and Williams with a sprained ankle.

Coach Martin Fiori said Flanigan just got cleared and will probably work in relief.

Others have done well on the mound. Sophomore Anthony Mozzicato is 3-3 with a 1.96 ERA and one save. He struck out nine and allowed three hits in a 6-1 victory against Manchester in the annual Pink Out game Monday. Zach Simone is 4-1 with one save, Adam Harz 2-0 and one save, and Mickey Howe 2-1 after beating RHAM 10-0 Thursday.

Jake Casey, who sat out the first 10 games after transferring from South Windsor, bolsters the staff, illustrated by his 2-1 win at Southington last Friday.

This victory came after East Catholic had lost 9-3 at South Kingstown, R.I., and 3-2 to Bristol Eastern. "It was a little wakeup call," Fiori said. "The Southington effort was big, a nice win."

The CIAC announces its tournament seeds and schedules Friday. The LL, L, M and S title games are at Palmer Field in Middletown June 9-10.

Follow The Courant's coverage of the high school baseball season on Twitter @CTHSSports.

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Tolland defeated South Windsor 6-5 Tuesday afternoon at Tolland High School.

Tolland defeated South Windsor 6-5 Tuesday afternoon at Tolland High School.

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Tolland defeated South Windsor 6-5 Tuesday afternoon at Tolland High School.

Tolland defeated South Windsor 6-5 Tuesday afternoon at Tolland High School.

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Ellington went to No. 5 In The Courant state high school baseball ratings. South Windsor and Tolland are Nos. 1 and 2 in the area.

Ellington went to No. 5 In The Courant state high school baseball ratings. South Windsor and Tolland are Nos. 1 and 2 in the area.

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A look at the Courant's weekly softball rankings.

A look at the Courant's weekly softball rankings.

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South Windsor's Evan Hapkiewicz on his impressive start and 9-2 win over Northwest Catholic. (Tom Yantz)

South Windsor's Evan Hapkiewicz on his impressive start and 9-2 win over Northwest Catholic. (Tom Yantz)

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Wethersfield boys golf senior A.J. Sanzaro talks about what he likes about the game of golf.

Wethersfield boys golf senior A.J. Sanzaro talks about what he likes about the game of golf.