By BRIAN JENNINGS
Those two-out hits can certainly be as simple as deciphering between winning baseball games and losing them, according to Plainville coach Lou Mandeville. But although the Blue Devil baseball team split the week with a win and a loss, the ball club is still moving in the right direction, as they currently sit a game above .500.
“The attitude, focus, and work ethic are good,” said Mandeville. “Right now, you can see that the goal is common, and that’s to work hard and get better as a player to win ball games.”
Loss vs. Bristol Central
APRIL 13—The Devils began the week on Thursday by hosting Bristol Central at home, but fell short by a pair of runs, 3-1. Plainville registered just four hits.
“It was a well-pitched game,” said Mandeville. “But a couple mistakes on defense led to two unearned runs, and that was basically the difference in the game.”
The Rams took a 1-0 lead off an error in the third inning and added a couple more runs off another error and an RBI groundout in the fourth. Dylan Morrell scored Brady Callahan by drawing a walk with the bases loaded in the seventh for Plainville’s lone run of the game.
A strikeout to the very next batter ended the game, as the Devils left the bases loaded in the seventh.
“We hit the ball hard at times and had guys on with opportunities, but we were unable to get the two-out hit,” the coach said. “If you get two-out hits, you’re going to drive in some runs and win games.”
Jordan Bishop started on the mound and went five innings with a strikeout, allowing seven hits, three walks, and an earned run. Morrell relieved Bishop to close out the game with one hit and one strikeout.
Win at Lyman Hall
APRIL 15—The Devils recovered from Thursday’s loss by rounding out the week by blanking Lyman Hall, 5-0, on the road on Saturday. The Trojans were 3-0 coming into the contest.
“They’re scrappy,” said Mandeville. “They have a nice club over there. They’re always right in the thick of things every year.”
After two scoreless innings, Tyler St. Onge put the Devils on the scoreboard by bringing in Dwight Burns on an RBI groundout in the third. In the next inning, Robert Munson gave the Devils a two-run advantage after driving in Nathan Michalek on a line-drive single to left field. A double by Shaun Simoneau that scored Jon Olson, Bishop, and Munson with two outs in the sixth capped off the victory for the Devils.
Although Plainville mustered just six hits, four of their five runs were scored on two-out hits.
“Two-out hits can be a backbreaker,” the coach said. “They can be good for the offense and a backbreaker for the defense, but on that day, they were good for us.”
Michalek pitched a complete-game shutout with three strikeouts, allowing just four hits and one walk.
“He had good command and hit his spots,” said Mandeville. “He was able to change speeds and keep the ball out of the middle of the plate. That will obviously keep hitters off balance.”
The Devils will be back on the diamond this week when they travel to Bristol Eastern (2-2) on Monday, April 17 and return home to host Rockville (2-2) on Friday, April 21. Plainville is currently 3-2 overall.
To comment on this story or to contact sports writer Brian Jennings, email him at bjennings@ southingtonobserver.com.