South Windsor Legion Baseball Coasting Through Zone 8

For the South Windsor American Legion 19U team, the player’s good chemistry and moral has paid off in a big way. South Windsor is 16-2 as of July 8 and has won 10 consecutive games. It leads Zone 8 by 1.5 games over Tolland, and will earn a first-round playoff bye by winning the zone.

“The players get along and enjoy each other’s company and are focused on winning,” head coach Mark Plourd said.

South Windsor has strong depth and balance, and is outscoring opponents by 3.5 runs per game.

“Our offense is great at putting the ball in play and forcing pitchers and the defense to adjust,” Plourd said. “Adam Bettigole and Mike Kelly have been our two top hitters, and a number of other guys are doing well.”

The pitching staff has allowed just 1.5 runs per game. The team’s main hurlers include Bettigole, Jonathan Falletti, and Nick Romaniello. Plourd said that Bettigole and Falletti have been especially effective, praising their ability to hit their spots.

Plourd said South Windsor will focus on improving its base running heading into the playoffs. When it gets there, he is confident in their chances to make some noise.

“We are playing with a lot of confidence, and can beat anyone if things go in our favor. We’d like to win the zone and give ourselves an advantage,” Plourd said.

ELLINGTON

Ellington, which also features players from Somers, is 3-16 and last in Zone 8 as of July 8. Head coach Rob Roberts attributed much of the team’s struggles to its inexperience.

“We lost a few players from last year’s squad, and the town has neither 15U or 17U teams nor a Fall Ball program,” Roberts said. “It has taken guys a while to get acclimated to playing at this level, and especially to hitting with wooden bats.”

Ellington’s hitters have struggled to make contact and move runners along at times. However, Roberts said they have improved at making contact.

The offense has been led by the trio of Dave Roberts, Shaun Lavey, and Aiden Tiernan.

Roberts said that while his pitchers have good stuff, they have struggled to throw strikes and maintain focus. He praised Frank Rinaldi’s stuff and the leadership he has given the team.

Roberts and his players have been pleased with the team’s steady development and improvement. They have specific goals to work towards during its final two weeks.

“We are determined to improve at making contact and throwing strikes, and would love to play .500 ball the rest of the way,” Roberts said.

ROCKVILLE

Rockville, which features players from both Vernon and Coventry, is 6-13 and seventh in Zone 8 as of July 8. It is two games behind Windsor and East Hartford, who are currently tied in fifth place. Rockville dropped in the standings when it suffered a six-game losing streak in the final week of June.

“It has been a challenging season,” head coach Nick Wheelock said. “Our games have been very competitive, and our offense hasn’t come through much of the time. Pitching has kept us in games.”

Shane Bogli has been Rockville’s best pitcher.

“Shane has been exceptional. He is always throwing strikes,” Wheelock said. “Shane is a great kid who loves baseball.”

Riley Aafedt has also pitched well.

The offense has struggled mightily at times, and Rockville is scoring just 2.4 runs per game.

“We’ve struggled with moving runners over and making contact with runners in scoring position,” Wheelock said. “The kids are working hard in practice to get better.”

Jared Guminak has been Rockville’s best hitter, He is skilled at making contact and has demonstrated good plate discipline.

Wheelock said his players have constantly maintained their effort and confidence and remain determined to improve.

Rockville must win more close games in order to finish in the top five and earn a playoff berth. It will certainly have a great opportunity to make up ground in the zone, as it faces Windsor, Manchester and third-place East Hartford in the final week.

“I am confident that we can keep pitching well and earn a berth. I really want to see it happen for them,” Wheelock said.

TOLLAND

Tolland, which also features players from Stafford, is 14-3 and 1.4 games behind Zone 8 leader South Windsor as of June 8. It has won six consecutive games and nine of its last 10.

Tolland’s success can mainly be attributed to its pitching and defense. It has allowed just 1.4 runs per game. The staff has been led by the terrific trio of Matt Curtis, Ben Clough and Nick Paasch.

“Matt has great stuff, and recently threw a 28-inning scoreless streak,” head coach Steve Paasch said. “Ben Clough has a lot of experience and has really improved his pitch location. Finally, Nick is a power pitcher who is able to limit quality swings.”

Tolland’s offense has slowly improved over the course of the season. Paasch said this is due to a better plate approach. Infielder Luke Broadhurst and outfielders Kevin Salina and Alex Hoss have been its top hitters.

Tolland will focus on improving in the fundamentals and at the plate during the remainder of season. It is confident it can do so and possibly win the zone and earn a bye.

“Right now, we are focused on one game at a time,” Paasch said. “With our pitching, I think we are definitely capable of earning g a bye and going on a playoff run.”

 

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