By KEVIN ROBERTS
Southington baseball won both of the games it played last week to improve to 15-3 on the season. The fact that the Blue Knights won both games, and the fact that each contest was home, are where the similarities end.
Southington used the combined efforts of Nico Gaudio and Vinny Spizzoucco on the mound, and a fourth inning solo home run from Jack Meade, to beat NFA 2-1 on May 14. On May 17, the Knights routed the Warriors from Hall, 14-4 in six innings.
In the game against NFA, pitching ruled the day. Gaudio made his first start and took a no-decision. He pitched 3 1/3 innings and gave up one run on four hits. Gaudio struck out five, walked two, and hit two batters in 70 pitches.
“Nico did a really good job in his first start,” coach Charlie Lembo said.
Spizzoucco threw the final 3 2/3 innings in relief and was the winner. Spizzoucco gave up four hits, struck out five and walked none on 42 pitches.
“He did a great job. We’ve been getting very good pitching all year long from everyone that we’ve put out there,” Lembo said.
The game was deadlocked 1-1 into the bottom of the fourth inning. That was until the left-hand hitting Meade got a belt-high fastball and deposited it over the right field fence to put Southington ahead 2-1.
“I did not think it was gone. It kind of went off the end of the bat, but it just carried out,” Meade said. “I’ve been in a little slump the past couple games, but it felt good to come back and contribute to the win.”
“You don’t have a lot of home runs at this park. That’s the first one hit for us, and only the third one [all year],” Lembo said. “I thought he got a good piece of it, and I kind of thought it was gone.”
Meade (2-for-4), Jake Romano (2-for-3, RBI) and Jake Neuman (2-for-2, stolen base) had multi-hit days for the Knights. Kyle Leifert tripled, Andrew Paradis had a triple and run scored, and Billy Carr doubled. Unfortunately for Southington, 10 hits only led to two runs scored.
“We left a lot of runners on base today. Hopefully we can get that cleaned up and start stringing some hits together,” Lembo said.
Southington didn’t have much of an issue scoring runs against Hall on May 17. The Knights had 17 hits, including three apiece from Meade, Jake DelMonte and Tyler Strong. Meade had a double, two singles, two walks, two stolen bases and scored four runs. DelMonte scored three runs and drove in two more. Romano had a double, sacrifice fly, walk, stolen base, run scored and three RBI. Bryce Worth had two RBI while Paradis, Neuman and Leifert added one RBI each.
Ryan Henderson started the game and pitched the first four innings for the win. Henderson gave up one run on six hits, struck out four and walked one on 62 pitches. Jason Krar returned to the mound after missing a couple of weeks with an injury and gave up three runs (one earned) on four hits to go along with a strikeout. Krar threw 28 pitches.
“It was great to get Jay back out. He’s been a couple weeks off of the mound, and it was good to get him back,” Lembo said. “I thought he was throwing well. They got a few base hits, but it was just good to see him back out on the mound.”
Neuman struck out the side in the top of the sixth inning. The game was Senior Night for Southington, which honored Worth, Strong, Romano, Gaudio, Krar, J.T. Martin, Brendan Kavanagh, Leifert and Henderson.
“The one thing that I worry about on Senior Night is trying to get everybody at bats and in the game,” Lembo said.
The Knights took care of everything else in the lopsided win.
Up next: Southington hosted NW Catholic on Monday and Conard on Tuesday in the final two games of the regular season. State tournament pairings will be announced by the CIAC on Friday.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Kevin Roberts, email him at KRoberts@SouthingtonObserver.com