By BRIAN JENNINGS
The Blue Knight baseball team has made mistakes through their first eight games, and they reach the midpoint of the season with a 4-4 record.
Coach Charlie Lembo said that they’re going to make mistakes because they’re inexperienced. They’re averaging over two errors a game with 18 on the season, but the team is starting to gain experience now.
“Mistakes are going to happen because it’s part of the game, but we can’t keep making the same mistakes over and over again,” said Lembo. “We have to learn from our mistakes. If we can do that, we have the guys here on this team that can be successful.”
The Knights will look to climb above .500 for the first time this season when they return to the diamond this week with contests against New Britain (3-3), divisional Conard (2-3), and Bristol Eastern (5-3).
Win at Glastonbury
APRIL 18—The Knights combined for eight runs through the first three innings to begin the week on Wednesday, April 18 with a 13-1 rout at Glastonbury in five innings, scoring at least a run in every inning. They capped off the win with four runs in the fifth before the game was called for weather.
Andrew Paradis sparked the high-scoring affair with a grand slam with one out in the first. He was a single shy of hitting for the cycle with three runs scored, as Southington finished with 13 hits.
Dan Topper went 4-for-4 with three runs scored and a RBI. Kyle Leifert went 2-for-4 with three RBI and two doubles.
Jeremy Mercier (2-1) tossed his first complete game of the season with four strikeouts to pick up his second win on the mound, allowing three hits, an earned run, and a hit batter.
“That was probably the most complete game we’ve played to date,” said Lembo. “I think their ace went one and a third. We just came out hitting right away, and everyone throughout the order swung the bat well. Jeremy pitched great and kept his pitch count down. That’s what we’re capable of.”
Loss vs. Farmington
APRIL 20—In their lowest offensive production of the season, errors continued to pester the Knights a couple days later at the most inopportune time. They suffered their fourth loss of the season after falling by a run, 2-1, to Farmington at home.
Following a scoreless first inning, the Indians put their first two batters of the second in scoring position on a single and infield error. With no outs, a sacrifice fly scored a runner on third, and a base hit brought the deciding run in from second.
Brandon Kohl drove in Southington’s lone run of the game on a sacrifice fly that scored Mercier. Dylan Chiaro hit a fly ball to center field with one out in the sixth that possibly could have resulted in the tying or go-ahead run for the Knights, but a diving catch was made at the fence.
Southington mustered just three hits. Jason Krar (1-1) started on the mound and received the decision after going five and a third innings with five strikeouts, allowing four hits, three walks, and one earned run. Justin Verrilli closed with three strikeouts.
“As a coach, you just scratch your head and wonder how we can play like the way we did on Wednesday and then come back and not be able to even execute the simplest plays on Friday,” said Lembo. “That’s just baseball, and you have to come to play every day.”
Win vs. Hall
APRIL 21—With some help from their opponent, the Knights bounced back from Friday’s loss the next day to cap off the week with their fourth win of the season and first divisional win in an 8-4 victory over Hall a home, getting back to .500 on the season.
The Warriors jumped on the board first with two runs off of a pair of singles in the opening inning, but it didn’t take long for the Knights to respond and take the lead for good. Four Hall errors, four hits, a sacrifice fly, and a walk led to a six-run inning in the second, as the Warriors finished with five errors. The Knights capped off the win with a pair of runs in the fifth, as Hall’s rally fell short with a run in the top of the inning.
Southington finished with eight hits. Mercier (2), JT Martin, and Bryce Worth contributed with RBI off of one hit apiece.
Ryan Henderson started on the mound and was credited with his first win of the season after going four innings with four strikeouts, allowing three hits and a walk. Verrilli relieved Henderson to go two innings, and Jake Neuman closed.
“There were some things that we did pretty well,” said Lembo. “Justin Verrilli came in and threw really well in the fifth and sixth. We had a couple of clutch hits to drive in runs.”
For more in depth coverage, see our weekly print edition. To contact sports writer Brian Jennings, email him at BJennings@SouthingtonObserver.com.