South Windsor Poised for Post-season Run

By Danny Atkinson

The South Windsor baseball team entered the 2018 season with high expectations after returning a senior-laden roster that helped the Bobcats finish 17-3 in the regular season last year.

South Windsor has not disappointed thus far. The Bobcats were  16-2 as of last week  and tied with Windsor atop the CCC standings. The Bobcats are currently ranked second in Class LL and are averaging 6.6 runs per game, while allowing just over 3 runs.

Head coach Mike McDermott discussed South Windsor’s outstanding play this season and gave much credit to the solid pitching.

“We have a lot of pitching depth and it’s continuously been strong. Jason Ray, Will Nowak, Brendan Mabey (all seniors), and Hunter Pasqualini (junior) have all been excellent,” McDermott said. “This pitching staff’s depth especially helps when we had three or four games per week, like much of the season.”

McDermott singled out the performance of Ray and the steps he’s taken. The ace is currently 5-0 and has allowed just one earned run in 23 innings while striking out 38 batters, most recently 12 against East Hartford.

“Jason has especially been quite the find,” McDermott said. “He has exceptional control and a lot of confidence.”

Nowak is 3-0, while Zach Donahue is 3-1.  “He’s a big-time competitor and loves the spotlight,’’ McDermott said of Nowak. “Will has a quality fastball and slider he mixes well.”

Donahue won against Avon and East Lyme, holding AHS scoreless.

Defensively, the Bobcats have featured one of the most steady and athletic infield quartets in the area.

“Our guys in the infield (Novak at third, Donahue (jr.) at second, Ben Rapp (sr.) at shortstop and Jimmy Tamburro (sr.) at first have all played very well and anchored us up the middle. Those guys are each very athletic and have strong arms, and Jimmy is reliable at first. Our outfielders are defending well.

Tamburro, who was one of the Bobcats top players last season and has been again so far, also discussed the team’s exceptional success and infield defense.

“Our infield has gotten a lot better. I think Zach moving to second base has really sealed the deal for us,” he said. “The other three guys are athletic and can get to balls and have strong arms. We’re really strong at getting to short flies between the infield and outfield, which is a huge deal for a defense. We communicate well together and with the outfielders on them.”

South Windsor has a number of close games this season – including seven by two or fewer runs. McDermott said the team’s ability to do so shows the player’s focus and chemistry, as well as the benefits of experience.  And offensively Sout Windsor n not only consistent but also timely hitting from its top players.

“Our top 4 or 5 guys in the lineup have been excellent and have a lot of power. Will, Hunter and Zach are hitting over or close to .400, Marco Anastasi (jr.) has been good and driven in a lot of runs and Jimmy has again been very reliable,” McDermott said. “Different guys are coming up big in any given game. Everyone has a good hitting approach and can identify pitches.”

Tamburro agreed with his coach and said patience  and plate discipline have been hallmarks of this year’s team.  “We don’t have an automatic out. We have a lot of power, but no one tries to power the ball and over-swings. Instead, they’re patient and reading pitches,” he said.

Nowak, who has committed to Trinity College in Hartford is batting.445, while Pasqualoni leads the squad in average at .462.  Donahue is batting .390, and four other players have averages above .300, including Anastasi at .336 and Tamburro at .321.

Tamburro and Nowak have been de-facto leaders throughout the season and will be counted on to keep the team focused as it heads into the post-season.  Despite impressive regular seasons South has exited the state tournament earlier than expected the past two seasons.

“Jimmy and Will act as our go-to guys and unofficial captains,’’ McDermott said. “They’ve experienced everything and are trusted to help other guys because of their experience and skills,” he said.

The first round of the Class LL state tournament begins on May 29.

 

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