It wasn’t perfect, but when the Bethel High baseball team needed a big play it always got it. Whether it was a big strikeout, a sacrifice bunt or a defensive gem, the Wildcats (1-0) did everything they needed to do to hold onto a 4-3 win over Pomperaug (3-1).
“It’s a heck of a win, we’re very happy with it,” Head Coach Ray Turek said. “We were a little fortunate there, but we made a couple of plays when we had to and got out of it.”
Pomperaug put a pair of runners on in the seventh, and were looking to tie the game when first baseman Tyler Slavick made the play of the game. With two outs, Slavick leapt into the air the got just enough of Kevin Maxen’s line drive to knockout it down before picking the ball up and diving into the bag to secure the win.
“We didn’t know he had it in him,” Turek said.
Alex Amaru got the go-ahead run half an inning earlier when he was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. A sacrifice bunt from Nick Spinella followed by a Matt Gallagher single put Amaru on third. John Sorice then drove him in with an RBI single to give the Wildcats the final run of the game.
“We did a good job moving runners,” Turek said. “Both situations where we got bunts down, we ended up getting runs out of them so it was nice.”
Zach Albin made the start and went 5 and a third, he struck out four and gave up three runs, two were earned. Andy Guercio came on in relief and pitched the final inning and two thirds to get the win.
“Zach was great today, for the first start of the year he was pretty sharp,” Turek said. “He ran out of a little steam in the sixth, as to be expected but he battled all game, did a great job against a very good hitting team.”
Ryan Nuzzo led the offense, going 2-for-2 with a pair of doubles and an RBI.
“He’s a sophomore, he swings the bat very well,” Turek said. “We’re very pleased with him, a couple of huge at bats. When we needed a spark that’s where it came from, and anytime you get a spark from a sophomore that’s a great luxury.”
The Wildcats got on the board with a three run fifth which was sparked by Nuzzo’s RBI double. Nuzzo would score on an RBI groundout by Albin, Sorice then scored on a wild pitch.
“I liked our intensity, I thought we stayed mentally focused,” Turek said. “I liked our approach at the plate for the most part today. There was a lot of good things, defensively, we were okay. Nothing spectacular, but we made most of the plays we had to, enough to win the game.”
Bethel’s next game is today at home against Newtown, after that they will travel to Masuk on Monday. Both games are at 3:45 p.m.