By Antonio Squitieri (4/22/16)
Link to published article: http://nbcityjournal.com/archives/12794
The New Britain Baseball team dropped their home-opener on Monday as the Lancers of Bristol Eastern broke through a three-run lead in the final inning of the game to clinch the victory.
A trend that began last Wednesday against Bristol Central, the Hurricanes have received their two losses this season in strikingly similar fashion, by way of seventh inning comeback by the opposing team.
“I’ve been telling the guys, we have to finish innings,” said Head Coach Roberto Mercado. “The first three innings, we had runners on second and third, but every inning we weren’t able to score a run. (If we) maybe put up one or two there, that gives us a little less of an issue in the later innings, having a five run lead instead of three.” The Hurricanes jumped out ahead in the bottom of the fifth, a deep hit to right field got things started as Alex Silva scored an RBI triple to bring home Jakari Pellegrini from first. In an inning that saw all but one pitcher bat in a run, Will Homar and Justin Dawson continued the trend with RBI hits of their own to hold a 3-0 lead at the end of the inning.
Held scoreless all game, the Lancers took the top of the seventh as their shot for redemption. As they rolled through the order, New Britain became faced with the all-too familiar scenario of a late-game defeat. A trio of RBI hits, which included a double from Cory Fradette and a single apiece by Zach Marquis and Adrian James, put the Hurricanes in a one-run hole for the last half-inning of play.
With one out to go and the game on the line, Tyler Gibbs hit a line drive single to left to give the Hurricanes a fighting chance. With the next batter up, Gibbs was caught straying from first and was tagged for the final out that dropped the team to 3-2 on the season.
Despite the difficult loss, Coach Mercado saw many takeaways from the game as he highlighted team positives such as their hitting against one of the state’s premiere pitchers in Nate Carney.
“We did a great job against their starter, who hasn’t lost a game in the last two years,” noted Mercado. “So to put up 10 hits, and put up three runs, and having him taken out is a good sign for our team.” Coach Mercado also mentioned a number of things to look forward to in his team this season including their strength in experience and quality pitching rotation.
“We have a lot of seniors. Leadership is getting there little by little,” said Coach Mercado of his team. “They’ve all done a great job; they’ve kept us in ball games. We’ve lost two games and they’ve been by one run, so our pitchers are doing their job, but like I said, we’ve got to execute offensively in base-running and make sure we’re focused in finishing innings defensively.” Will Homar, New Britain’s sophomore starting pitcher, has remained a steadfast force on the team this season. Before a pitching change with three batters into the seventh inning, he allowed only one of the Lancers’ four runs of the game. Other notable performances by the young pitcher have included a seven strikeout game through five innings against Goodwin Tech on April 8 and a let up of only five hits in a complete game versus Bristol Central on April 13.
With the season in its early stages, the team still has some areas of improvement to work on. Base-running in particular will be a focal point in practice, according to Coach Mercado, as mental errors on the bases greatly contributed to the loss to Bristol Eastern.
The Hurricanes will next face Wethersfield on the road on Friday, April 22 at 3:45 p.m.