By BRIAN JENNINGS
The strain from losing most of last year’s starting lineup has shown in the early season, but the Blue Knight baseball team rebounded from a winless week one. Southington ended their two-game skid with a pair of wins to start week two.
It could have been three wins with their final game of the week well in hand early on in the contest, but the game slipped through Southington’s grasp with the aid of two errors in the final inning.
“Physical errors are going to happen, but we made five, six, or seven mental errors in that game that also cost us runs,” said Southington coach Charlie Lembo. “That’s where the learning curve is. That’s where the little things happen that win or lose a ball game for you.”
The experience may not be there yet with this team, but Lembo said that the talent is. He said that the team is trying to clean up the mental errors, and although they’re inexperienced, they still have the ability to play the game and play it well.
“They’ve shown that in almost every game,” said Lembo. “It’s just that we’ve made a few too many mistakes in some of the games.”
The Knights will be back in the diamond next week with contests against divisional Hall (1-2), Glastonbury (3-1), and Farmington (1-3). Southington is 2-3.
Win at Berlin
APRIL 9—The Knights began the week on Monday, April 9 by earning their first win of the season with a two-run victory, 9-7, at Berlin. The Knights took a one-run advantage after the second inning, but the Redcoats rallied back to jump up by four with five runs in the fourth until the Knights regained the lead for good in the fifth.
With runners on first and second with no outs, Kohl cleared the bases with a triple. Andrew Paradis brought Kohl in with a single, and a pitching change and walk later, Josh Panarella drove Paradis in on a base hit. Jake Neuman scored Kyle Leifert on a sacrifice bunt that resulted in an infield error, and Bryce Worth capped off the win with a sacrifice fly that tagged up Panarella from third.
Southington finished with 13 hits, limiting Berlin to just five. Panarella went 3-for-4 with two runs scored, two doubles, and a RBI. Dan Topper went 3-for-5 with a pair of runs scored.
Mercier started on the mound and was credited with his first win of the season after going five innings with five strikeouts, allowing six earned runs, five hits, and three walks. Neuman closed to get the save.
Win vs. Tolland
APRIL 11—A combined no-hitter helped the Knights earn their second-straight win and first shutout of the season a couple days later, as they blanked Tolland, 5-0, at home. Following a pair scoreless innings to start the game, the Knights scattered runs in the next three innings with two in the third and two in the sixth.
Southington finished with seven hits. Kohl went 2-for-3 at the plate with two RBI and a double. Mercier went 2-for-4 with a RBI.
Jason Krar started on the mound and was credited with his first win of the season after going six innings with five strikeouts, allowing just one walk. Worth closed.
Loss vs. Fitch
APRIL 13—The Knights capped off the week by suffering their third loss of the season on Friday, falling by a run, 13-12, in the final inning against Fitch at home. The Knights held a four-run lead after the third inning with the help of 10 runs in the second and third combined until the Falcons rallied back with three runs in the fourth to trail by one heading into the final inning.
The Falcons began the seventh with runners on first and second off of an infield error and a walk. A sacrifice bunt moved the runners over to second and third, and Nicholas Helbig drove in the game-winning runs on another infield error, which were Southington’s lone two errors of the game.
Along with the two errors, the Falcons put 22 runners on base with the help of 12 hits, seven walks, and a hit batter. Southington finished with 11 hits.
Dylan Chiaro was a triple shy of hitting for the cycle, going 3-for-4 with four RBI and two runs scored. Jake Romano went 2-for-3 with a pair of runs scored.
Ryan Henderson started the game on the mound and went two and two-thirds innings with four strikeouts, allowing eight earned runs, five hits, and three walks. Worth received the decision after closing with two runs, one hit, and one walk.
For more in depth coverage, see our weekly print edition. To contact sports writer Brian Jennings, email him at BJennings@SouthingtonObserver.com.