By John Goralski
The Knights have delivered three shutouts since losing to NW Catholic on April 22. Since that day in late April, Southington has won six in a row.
On Friday, May 10, the Knights had their chance for retribution, and in the third inning they swung that bats like they were angry at the air.
Brett Shaw opened the inning with a single. Ted Shaw singled, and Matt DiNello drove a one-out double into right field. With two outs, Andrew Goralski drove a double up the middle and the flood gates opened.
Brett Susi, Justin Rose, and Dave Palladino got hits. Brett Shaw drew a walk in his second appearance of the inning. When the dust settled, 11 Knights had stepped to the plate, and Southington had blown open a 7-0 lead and chased one of NW Catholics big guns off the mound.
“I knew that this was going to be tough coming in, but in that one inning our guys strug together some great at bats,” said Blue Knight coach Charlie Lembo. “I thought they were patient. I thought they were waiting for their pitch, and we started hitting line drives. I’ve been waiting for this all year.”
NW Catholic responded with two runs in the fourth, but Palladino drove in Rose in the fifth inning. Southington held on for an 8-2 win.
“I was very, very happy with our offense tonight,” said Lembo. “I thought we ran the bases well, and I thought Susi pitched really well.”
Susi (6-0) scattered nine strikeouts and five hits over seven innings to get the win. Even with the comfortable lead, Lembo said that he was leaving Susi in for a complete game even though the Knights are going to face four teams next week.
“We’re trying to extend our pitchers pitch counts a little bit,” he said. “We’re six weeks into the season, so it’s time to extend them a little bit longer in case they have to go longer in the tournament.”
The NW Catholic win came on the heels of a 6-0 shutout against Newington on Monday. Joe Rivera escaped a bases loaded situation in the third inning and had runners in scoring position over each of the last two frames, but the junior hurler threw 12 strikeouts with just three walks and two hits over six innings to get the win.
Once again, the offense did their part. Southington drew four walks, reached base on a passed ball, and scored three runs in the first inning without getting a hit.
“Newington gave us three runs in the first inning without a hit, but those were good at bats,” said Lembo. “It wasn’t like they were throwing the ball 20 feet over our heads. We were patient, drew some walks, drew some 0-2 counts, and we moved a couple of guys around. Just because it isn’t a hit doesnt mean that it isn’t a good at bat.”
Southington managed eight hits in the victory. Matt Sirois scored twice. Goralski (2-for-3, 2 RBI) was the only Knight with multiple hits, but Southington cruised to a 6-0 win.
With the victories, Southington improved to 13-2 overall and has moved into sole possession of first place in the CCC West (8-1).