By BRIAN JENNINGS
The errors that have pestered the Blue Knight baseball team all season long reached a new high this past week, and Southington lost two out of three. The Knights have committed 34 errors to date, and are averaging more than three a game.
Coach Charlie Lembo said that he can’t keep harping about the physical and mental mistakes.
“They have to make the plays,” said Lembo. “We’re trying to get them into the mindset where if you make an error, you just flush it and get over it. Make the next play and want the next ball.”
The Knights are a game over the midpoint of the season now, and they have yet to get over .500. However, Lembo said that he is not giving up on the team or the season.
“We’ve lost a couple of games, but we haven’t lost what our real goals are,” said the coach. “No one in our conference is running away with it right now.”
The Knights will be back on the diamond this week with road contests at East Catholic (7-3) on Monday, April 30 and divisional NW Catholic (4-5) on Wednesday, May 2. Southington is 5-6 overall and 3-1 in the CCC West Region.
Loss vs. New Britain
APRIL 23—The Knights came up short in their first extra-inning contest, losing 9-8 to to New Britain. The Hurricanes finished with four errors, but the Knights committed a season high of nine.
The Hurricanes rallied for seven runs in the second and third innings, but the Knights cut the deficit to two with five runs in the bottom of the third and tied the game with two runs in the seventh to force extra innings. All it took was one extra frame.
New Britain regained the lead with a pair of runs in the eighth off of a sacrifice fly and single. Their first batter got on with an infield error and moved over to second base on a sacrifice bunt. The third batter struck out but ended up advancing to first on an error by the catcher.
The Knights began the bottom of the inning with a strikeout and came within a run after Jake Neuman rounded the bases on a base hit and two errors. Their rally ended with two ground out to shortstop.
Southington finished with 12 hits. Andrew Paradis (3-for-4) had three RBI and a run scored. Jeremy Mercier went 2-for-3 with a RBI, a run scored, and a walk. Bandon Kohl drove in two runs.
Mercier (2-1) lasted two innings with two hits and a walk. Nico Gaudio scattered four hits, three earned runs and a strikeout over one inning, but Neuman (0-1) received the decision despite seven strikeouts and allowing just one hit.
Win at Conard
APRIL 24—The Knights aimed the frustrations of Monday’s loss at divisional Conard the next day to earn their fifth win of the season with a 15-3 mercy-rule on the road. The Knights took a five-run lead by the fourth inning with four runs in the third, but went on to mount 10 runs in the sixth off of nine hits, an error, and a hit batter.
Southington finished with 15 hits. Paradis went 3-for-5 at the plate with three RBI, two runs scored, and two doubles. Josh Panarella went 2-for-3 with three RBI, two runs scored, a three-run homerun, and a walk. Neuman went 2-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored, and Dylan Chiaro contributed with a pair of RBI as well.
Bryce Worth (1-1) started on the mound and was credited with the win after going four and a third innings with three strikeouts, allowing eight hits, three earned runs, and a walk. Justin Verrilli relieved Worth to go two thirds of an inning, and Jake Weed (0-1) closed.
Loss vs. Bristol Eastern
APRIL 26—After blowing out a divisional opponent by 12 runs on the road on Tuesday, inconsistency continued for the Knights on Thursday. They gave up seven runs in one inning to suffer their sixth and largest loss of the season after falling, 9-1, to Bristol Eastern at home, dropping a game below .500.
The Knights took a one-run lead with a run in the third inning, but it was all Lancers after that. Bristol Eastern blew the game open with seven runs in the fourth off of five hits (including a grand slam), two walks, and an error, and capped off the win with a pair of runs in the seventh.
Southington finished with seven hits and committed five errors. Chiaro went 2-for-3 at the plate with a run scored, a double, and a walk. Dan Topper went 2-for-4.
Jason Krar (1-2) started on the mound and received the decision after going three and two-thirds innings with three strikeouts, allowing six hits and three earned runs. Weed relieved Krar to go two and one-third innings, and Gaudio closed.
For more in depth coverage, see our weekly print edition. To contact sports writer Brian Jennings, email him at BJennings@SouthingtonObserver.com.