Glastonbury Routs New Britain To Continue Strong Play

GLASTONBURY-Glastonbury High baseball entered Friday’s matchup with New Britain with confidence and playing at a high level. The deep squad had won five consecutive games to improve to 8-2 before Wednesday’s slipup against Simsbury, and resolved to execute better against New Britain. This promised to be difficult however, as the Hurricanes entered the contest having won seven consecutive games, in which it averaged eight runs. The determined Tomahawks rose to the challenge, to say the least.

Glastonbury (9-3) earned a hugely impressive win at Riverfront Park, defeating New Britain (8-4) 15-1 in four and a half innings (due to the mercy rule) in front of an energetic crowd. Its offense was firing on all cylinders, collecting 13 hits while striking out just once and having each hitter reach base. Meanwhile, junior ace Jack DiLauro threw another gem, allowing just one hit and no walks while striking out five, and received strong backing from the defense. The Tomahawk baserunners displayed their speed, stealing three bags and forcing the Hurricane defense into sloppy plays, adding to the runs.

Junior Max Jijinka shined brightest on offense. Making his first start of the season at third base, Jijinka drove in five runs on two hits and a walk and scored three runs, adding a steal. Senior right fielder Zach Tabellione drove in four runs.

GHS head coach Dennis Accomando did not show any surprise when asked about blowing out New Britain.

“We’re a good baseball team. We beat Bristol Eastern and Manchester earlier this week. We don’t go in looking the records of opponents. In the CCC Conference, every team is competitive and can beat you on any day. I don’t care (who’s in) the other dugout, we’ll be ready to go,” he said.

After scoring one run in the top of the first against Hurricanes starter Kevin Rodriguez, the Tomahawks offense went to work in the second, displaying excellent plate discipline in the 5-run frame. Gianni Zarrilli opened things by hitting an infield single, and proceeded to steal second and advance to third on a wild pitch. With one out, junior left fielder James Hendricks worked a walk, laying off multiple outside pitches by Rivera. Senior center fielder Garrett Frick got Glastonbury its second run with a ground ball to second that scored Zarrilli. The Hurricanes second baseman overthrew first wildly for an error, allowing Hendricks to advance to third and Frick to second. Jijinka then wasted no time making an impression, jumping on a high pitch inside from Rivera and smacking a line drive single which scored both runners to make it 4-0. Second baseman Andrew Bothelo drove Jijinka in with a bloop single, with the help of a poor relay to the plate.

Following a walk, New Britain head coach Robert Mercado replaced Rivera with Ruffino Santiago. Tabellione greeted him with a first pitch single that scored the final run of the inning, putting Glastonbury up 6-0.

Rivera ultimately allowed six runs, five earned, and five hits and two walks in just one and a third innings.

Throughout the frame, Glastonbury hitters read the strike zone well and took quality swings, spraying the ball to all parts of the field. At the same time, they avoided swinging at poor pitches and forced Rodriguez to fall behind in counts. The runners consistently advanced multiple bases despite none of the hits being for extra bases.

“After the game on Wednesday, when we didn’t show a great approach at the plate, the guys adopted a great mentality in yesterday’s practice and when warming up today. They worked really hard at getting good pitches to hit, not chasing pitches, and not trying to do too much with the baseball,” Accomando said.

In the third, Glastonbury immediately killed any momentum the Hurricanes gained in the top frame on an RBI by catcher Michael Gajda,  scoring four runs to make the score 10-1. Senior designated hitter Chris Paszek began the attack with a double to deep left field, the team’s lone extra base hit. He would advance to third two batters later on a weak ground ball out to shortstop by Frick, catching the defense off guard. With him there, Jijinka collected another two RBI when he hit a hard ground ball that sneaked past the first baseman’s glove, also allowing the speedy Jijinka to advance to second. Fisher knocked the junior in on a line drive to center following a walk to make it 9-1. The center fielder demonstrated excellent discipline on the hit, waiting back patiently for Santiago’s pitch to reach the middle of the strike zone before smacking the fastball. The Tomahawks scored their final run of the inning on a bloop single to center. While Bothelo successfully crossed the plate, New Britain made a strong relay to catch junior catcher Chris Fisher at home and end the inning.

Santiago finished with a pitching line of six hits and four earned runs in one and two-third innings.

“I was just trying to find my pitch to hit in each at bat and looking for something to drive,” Jijinka said. “I think everyone stepped up and had a really good approach at the plate. We were thinking about getting our pitches and hitting it hard. When we do that, I think we can beat anybody.”

Following another strong inning from DiLauro, the GHS offense concluded its day with another five-run inning against Francisco Alvarado, who had taken over for Santiago. Alvarado, who had poor control of his pitches throughout the fourth, loaded the bases on two walks and a single before Frick singled on a pitch down the middle. Jijinka earned his fifth RBI by walking with the bases loaded to make it 12-1, and Paszek then showed off his speed by scoring on a pop-out to Gajda. The Tomahawks final two runs were unearned.

After leading the Tomahawks to a big 4-2 win at rival Manchester on Monday with a quality six-inning relief appearance, DiLauro was every bit as good against New Britain. He displayed good command, hitting all areas of the strike zone, and kept Hurricanes hitters off balance by mixing his excellent fastball with strong off-speed pitches. New Britain rarely made good contact and regularly fell behind in counts, resulting in its single hit and five strikeouts. DiLauro allowed just five baserunners, two reaching on errors and another pair hit by pitches. In the final two innings, no runner advanced past second base.

“Jack kept the ball down and threw his secondary stuff for strikes, which has been his goal all year,” Accomando said. “He also had great composure tonight and was very focused against a loud and aggressive team.”

“I knew I would have to throw both good fastballs and off-speed pitches. My goal was to mix my pitches well,” DiLauro said. “My control got better towards the end and that definitely helped me. In general, I’m very satisfied with my season so far. My changeup and control has improved. To beat a great team like that was really satisfying.”

“As stated before, Glastonbury has won six of its past seven games and proven itself to be one of the area’s top teams. Both Accomando and DiLauro discussed the Tomahawks biggest strengths at this point.

“We have balance and athleticism. Tonight was the best game I’ve ever seen these guys run the bases,” Accomando said. “Top to bottom, we are very athletic.”

“We’re hitting really well, and our defense is always solid. Our pitching has been more solid as the season’s gone on. We can still improve our focus all-around,” DiLauro said.

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