Luneau takes over Westies
Long-time assistant named next head coach
By MIKE MADERA
(January 20, 2015) - As expected, West Haven assistant baseball coach Ron Luneau was officially named the head baseball coach at West Haven High, replacing former coach Mike Anquillare who stepped down in September after 15 years at the helm of the Westies to spend more time with his family.
Luneau has been an assistant with the Westies for seven years and was also the head baseball coach at Derby for eight years, ending his run in the Valley in 2003.
Ron Luneau (l.), seen here with assistant football coach Rusty Dunne (r.), has been named the next baseball coach at West Haven High.
"He is well-deserving of the job,” West Haven athletic director Jon Capone said. “He did a great job as an assistant coach and I think he will continue to move the program in the right direction. He knows the West Haven tradition.”
Luneau inherits a team which fell in the second round of the CIAC Class LL state tournament in walk-off fashion to Southington this past spring and last won a state title under Anquillare in 2009.
“I am honored I was picked to be the head coach at West Haven,” Luneau said. “There have been so many great coaches and great friends here. I feel very fortunate to be one of the few coaches here. We hope to continue the winning and tradition here.”
Luneau came on board under Anquillare’s leadership in 2009 and was part of the state championship team. He would later take over the junior varsity program, which should help over the next few years as Luneau has first-hand knowledge of the players he will be coaching on the varsity level.
“I love the kids of West Haven,” Luneau said. “They are hard-working, blue collar-type kids. They come from families they are hard workers. The families only want what is best for the kids. I love working with kids who do not feel entitled. They earn what they get. I love working with that type of kid.”
Luneau has an impressive resume. He has coached at the AAU level, directing the Connecticut Bombers 16U program for three years and most recently coaching the Connecticut Grind 18U program the last few years.
“I feel very fortunate to get this position,” Luneau said. “I hope I can do what coaches (Mike) Anquillare, (Jon) Capone, (George) Hanchette and (Whitey) Piurek did the last sixty years. I think it’s a challenge we play in the best league in the state year in and year out. The main thing is we want to make sure we are always competitive. We always want to be as competitive as we can and win as many games as we can.
We always want to make the state tournament and advance every year.”
Luneau, who recently stepped down from his paid position on the high school football staff, will stay on as a volunteer coach under Ed McCarthy. Luneau feels baseball is a year-round sport and needs to dedicate his time to continue the winning tradition.
“We want the kids to play hard all the time.” Luneau said. “The kids know I care about them. I will do whatever I can for them as baseball players and people to put them in the position where they always feel like they got something out of the program for baseball and their life ahead.”
In his seventh year, Luneau is a social studies teacher at West Haven High. He is in his 23rd year of teaching overall.
“I think the big advantage of being in the building as a coach is you use the school as your base of operations,” Luneau said. “You can control the moves. You make sure the academic part is taken care of. You help make the kids successful in all aspects of life.”
Anquillare has no doubts Luneau will be successful.
“He’s done all you can ask for in his seven years with me,” Anquillare said. “He’s ready. He has a lot of knowledge of the game of baseball. He has a lot to offer the kids. I think he will do a great job.”
As the spring season quickly approaches, Luneau knows he has big shoes to fill.
“I can’t say enough good things about coach Anquillare,” Luneau said. “In my opinion, he is a college coach who coached in high school. He is one of the most organized coaches I have ever been around.”
With all the planning and preparations for the coming season ongoing, Luneau will look to finalize his coaching staff in the next few weeks.
Anquillare steps Down
Head coach to spend more time with family
By MIKE MADERA
(September 15, 2014) - West Haven baseball coach Mike Anquillare resigned from his head coaching position of the West Haven baseball team Monday afternoon. After 15 years as head coach of the Westies, Anquillare wants to spend more time with his family, including his children, Michael, 11, and Alexandra, 7.
Mike Anquillare, seen here with son Michael after an upset win over Fairfield Prep in 2014, resigned from his head coaching position to spend more time with his family. File photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
""I have been saying for a a long time, as soon as I feel coaching high school baseball forces me to miss too much of what my kids did, I know it would be time," Anquillare said. "The last couple of years, I have missed too much of what they are doing. I don't want to miss anything anymore. I have coached hundreds of kids. It's time to coach my own.
"I have thought about it for a long time. I will still be around. I might be back coaching again some time. But, right now, I want to watch my kids play their sports."
Anquillare, who will be inducted into the West Haven Athletic Hall of Fame in November, also coached three years at Platt Tech, where the Panthers were 44-19 and won a Connecticut Vocational Technical Conference championship in 1994.
"I will miss the interaction with the kids," Anquiillare said. "I will miss the competition level. I enjoy playing in the SCC and the coaches. I will miss the every day practices and games."
The long-time West Haven coach won a state title as a West Haven player in 1984 and as a coach in 2009, when the Westies were voted the state's top team.
Anquillare was named the State and Area Coach of the Year following the 2009 season.
"I would say the state championship is my fondest memory," Anquillare said of the 2009 title. "A lot of people did not know I coached those kids on an All-Star team where we won the league title in fall ball when they were younger. It was nice to watch them grow up and win a state championship."
Under Anquillare's direction, West Haven won three SCC Quinnipiac Division titles (2003, 2004 and 2009) and the SCC league championship in 2003.
Anquillare compiled a 192-143 record during his 15-year reign at West Haven. He will remain actively involved coaching youth baseball in North Haven and youth hockey in West Haven.
"I will still coach," Anquillae said. "I am very involved with the North Haven Junior Indians. That is a program I started when the kids were eight. Now, they are ten.
"I am still involved in youth hockey. I am either all in or all out. I put everything I had into the program. Now, it's time to watch my kids."
Anquillare stated he will recommend assistant coach Ron Luneau, who has been with the team for seven years, to be his replacement. Luneau has head coaching experience as the former head coach in Derby.
Southington ends Westies' season with walk-off HR
By MIKE MADERA
(June 3, 2014) - It was all there for the taking. Unfortunately for the Westies, Liam Scafariello did the taking.
Scafariello's second homer of the day, a long three-run shot in the bottom of the eighth inning, lifted third-seeded Southington to a 6-4 win over No. 19 West Haven Tuesday afternoon in Southington.
Trailing 4-3 in the eighth inning, Johnathan Mikosz led off with a single off Matt Carter and moved to second on Joseph Daigle's sacrifice. After Zack Susi grounded out on a great play at first by Jake Kelly, Joseph Rivera walked to put runners on the corners.
Looking to be careful to Scafariello, who homered earlier, Carter went 3-0 on the power hitter. Scafariello then swung at Carter's next pitch and scorched it over the fence in left center to end West Haven's season.
"We were trying to be careful, but we didn't want to put the winning run on second base," West Haven coach Mike Anquillare said. "He just put a good swing on it. It is a very tough loss."
West Haven took a 4-3 lead in the eighth inning as Kelly singled to left, but was forced when Carter reached on a fielder's choice.
Mike Savino followed with a single to left to put runners on the corners and Gary Donovan singled to right to score Carter. West Haven could not push across another run as Jesse Tejero and Joe Sette struck out with runners on the corners.
The Westies never trailed in the contest as they took a 1-0 lead in the second when Savino doubled to score Carter who had reached on a two-out double to center.
Southington evened the contest in the fourth when Scafariello drilled a two-out homer to left off Nick Price.
West Haven again took the lead with a run in the fifth as Brand's single scored Savino who had reached on an error. The Westies took a 3-1 lead in the sixth when Kelly scored on an error.
Southington scored two in the sixth to even the contest and force the extra innings.
"I am proud of the kids," Anquillare said. "I have not seen that emotion before a tournament game like I did this week in the last few years. The kids were into every pitch."
Brand and Savino each had two hits for the Westies, Savino scored once and drove in a run, while Carter had one hit and scored twice.
Scafariello led Southington with two hits, two runs scored and four runs batted in, while Daigle had a pair of hits.
Price went the first six innings for the Westies, allowing five hits and three earned runs while striking out five and walking two.
"I thought Nick threw great," Anquillare said of Price. "He kept them off balance."
Rivera pitched 6 1/3 innings, allowing four hits and three runs, while walking four and striking out three. Kyle Cole finished up and allowed three hits and one run.
Westies pound NFA in State Opener
Carter throws gem as Westies advance to second round
By MIKE MADERA
(June 2, 2014) - It has been ten days since the West Haven baseball team played in a meaningful game. To say the Westies were ready would be an understatement.
Behind the five-hit pitching of Matt Carter and two hits apiece from Jesse Tejero, Rick Balzano, Mike Savino and Carter, No. 19 West Haven defeated No. 14 Norwich Free Academy, 6-0, at Dodd Stadium in the opening round of the CIAC Class LL state tournament. With the victory, the Westies (12-9) advanced to the second round, where they will play at No. 3 Southington Tuesday afternoon at 3:30 p.m.
Carter was on his game as he tossed a complete game, striking out nine and walking four. The Westie senior threw 113 pitches.
Matt Carter was on his game against NFA, June 2, 2014. File photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"He was on his game," West Haven coach Mike Anquillare said of Carter. "He struggled a little early, but he got some big outs. Rick Balzano threw out a guy at third and I thought that was a big play in the game.
"He got stronger as the game went on. He was really dominant."
Carter pitched in and out of trouble through the first four innings, escaping a first inning jam when Rick Balzano caught Brandon Russo stealing third, then striking out Caleb Bierman to retire the side.
After a perfect third inning, Ed Gates and Bierman opened the fourth with singles. Balzano again helped his pitcher as Gates was caught stealing and Carter struck out William Trask to end the inning.
West Haven catcher Rick Balzano had a solid game in a victory over NFA, June 2, 2014. File photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
With a 6-0 lead in the sixth, Carter gave up a two-out double to Gates and a single to Bierman to put runners on the corners, but Carter struck out Andy Grant to end the frame.
West Haven went quietly against Zach Podurgiel in the first two innings and left two on in the third when Tejero reached on a fielder's choice and Joe Sette singled.
West Haven capitalized in the fourth, taking a 2-0 lead. Balzano led off with a single, moved to second on a sacrifice by Nick Price and scored on Carter's two-out single to left. Carter went to second on the throw and scored on Savino's single to right.
The Westies opened up the contest in the fifth with four more runs. Tejero opened the inning with a single, moved to second on a sacrifice by Sette and scored on Mike Brand's single to left. Brand went to second on the throw and moved to third on Balzano's single.
Price followed with a single to left to score Brand fora 4-0 lead and after Balzano stole third and Price stole second, Carter singled to center for a 6-0 lead as both came around to score.
"Our bats came alive," Anquillare said. "We used some small ball and we got some big two-out hits. It was a dominant performance in every aspect of the game.
"We had some clutch hits. We are swinging the bats well. We made adjustments."
The rest was up to Carter. The senior finished in style as he allowed a one-out single, but retired the final two batters in the seventh to end the contest.
Carter leads Westies past Hand
West Haven defeats Tigers to improve to 11-9
By MIKE MADERA
(May 23, 2014) - West Haven baseball coach Mike Anquillare is constantly reminding his team it is not how you start the season, but how you finish. Those words by Anquillare could not be any more encouraging to his team.
Riding the arm and bat of Matt Carter, West Haven defeated Hand-Madison 8-2 Friday evening at Piurek Field. The win was West Haven's fifth in a row as the Westies head to the postseason with an 11-9 mark.
Matt Carter tossed a 5-hitter in an 8-2 win over Hand, May 23, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"I always say it is how you finish the season that we are more concerned with," Anquillare said. "We always want to finish strong as we head to the tournament. We are playing with confidence and hopefully we can bring that to the state tournament.
"We are ready to go. We will have some scrimmages and get everything together. We like the way we have played to end the season."
Rick Balzano laces a run-scoring single in the first inning against Hand, May 23, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
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Going Four It
West Haven wins fourth in row with victory over Platt Tech
By MIKE MADERA
(May 21, 2014) - The West Haven baseball team is back over the .500 mark for the first time in three weeks. Riding the pitching of Nick Price and some timely hitting, West Haven defeated Platt Tech, 5-0 on Senior Night at Piurek Field Wednesday evening.
The win was West Haven's fourth in a row and improved the team's record to 10-9.
Price was on his game with his second straight win, allowing just two hits, walking one and striking out 10.
Nick Price tossed a gem against Platt Tech, May 21, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
West Haven took a 1-0 lead in the second inning as Mike Savino reached on an error, Matt Carter followed with a single and Jake Kelly also singled for the first run of the game.
The Westies had a chance to extend the lead, but could not do so. After Rick Balzano singled and Price was intentionally walked in the third to load the bases, West Haven failed to score as Savino struck out and Carter flied out to end the inning.
West Haven put the game away with four runs in the sixth inning. Kelly walked, Gary Donovan reached on an error and both advanced on Jason Wilkerson's sacrifice.
Joe Sette walked to load the bases, Mike Brand hit a sacrifice fly to score Kelly for a 2-0 lead and Donovan scored on an error for a 3-0 advantage.
The play also scored Sette with the fourth run. After Price walked, Savino reached on an error to score Makiem Miller.
Mike Savino bats against Platt Tech, May 21, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Price was the story of the game for West Haven as he allowed just a two-out double in the first and was never threatened the rest of the way.
Platt Tech's best opportunity came as Sean Clark tripled with two outs in the seventh, but Price struck out Justin Plantamura to end the game.
Jake Kelly (r.) makes a play against Platt Tech, May 21, 2014 with Rick Balzano (15) looking on. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Balzano had two of West Haven's five hits and a run batted in, while Brand and Kelly each drove in a run.
West Haven wins third in row over Career
By MIKE MADERA
(May 19, 2014) - The West Haven baseball team is starting to play better. While the Westies are not getting many hits, they are capitalizing on those they are getting.
Despite picking up just four hits, the Westies defeated Career 2-1 at Piurek Field Monday afternoon to improve to 9-9 on the year.
Matt Carter came up big for the Westies on the hill as he went the distance, allowing four hits, striking out three and walking three.
"The key was pitching and defense," West Haven coach Mike Anquillare said. "Matt did real well and the defense was great behind him. We made all the plays. That was the remedy for victory.
"We were fundamentally sound. We pitched well and played solid defense. We bunted to move runners over in key spots and that was the difference in the game."
Jose Negron was equally impressive for Career as he allowed just four hits and one earned run, while striking out two.
West Haven took a 1-0 lead in the fifth with a two-out rally. Jake Kelly reached on an error, went to third on a single by Gary Donovan and scored as part of a double steal.
"We played a lot of small ball and ran the bases well," Anquillare said. "The last couple of games we have manufactured runs. We have gotten ahead and have been able to keep the lead."
Career responded in the sixth as L.J. DeWar singled to score Will Jackson for the equalizer. As has been the case of late, the Westies got a clutch rally late.
In the sixth, Joe Sette singled, Mike Brand reached attempting to sacrifice and both advanced to scoring position on a sacrifice by Ricky Balzano.
Nick Price singled to score Sette, but West Haven never built on the lead as as Mike Savino and Carter flied out to end the inning.
"Nick had a big hit," Anquillare said. "That was after two bunts. We were able to bunt and move runners over."
Carter then made sure the lead held up as he retired Career in order in the seventh. West Haven had a golden opportunity to get on the board in the second inning as Savino reached on an error with one out and Carter singled. With two runners in scoring position, a double play ended the frame.
West Haven qualifies for postseason with win over Indians
By MIKE MADERA
(May 16, 2014) - Knowing games were dwindling away, the West Haven baseball had to feel the importance of Friday afternoon's contest against North Haven.
The Westies made sure they capitalized.
Scoring five times in the first inning and riding the four-hit pitching of Nick Price, West Haven defeated the Indians 6-0 at Piurek Field. The win allowed the Westies to qualify for the postseason with an 8-9 record.
West Haven set the tone of the game early with five runs in the first inning. Joe Sette started the rally with a leadoff double, moved to third on a sacrifice by Mike Brand and scored on Rick Balzano's single.
After Price struck out, Mike Savino walked and Matt Carter reached on an error to score Balzano. A wild pitch scored Savino for a 3-0 lead and Gary Donovan's single to right scored Carter and Jake Kelly for a 5-0 advantage.
An error and two singles by the Indians in the third inning loaded the bases with one out, but Price got a pop out and a line out to end the inning.
Price allowed a leadoff single to Rich DePalma in the fourth, but did not allow another hit the rest of the way. DePalma walked with two outs in the sixth and Gio Torres was hit with a pitch to lead off the seventh, but Price easily got out of the inning.
Price needed just 85 pitches in the game, 55 thrown for strikes. The West Haven senior struck out four and walked one in the victory.
West Haven made the score 6-0 in the sixth with a double steal.
Wilkerson leads Westies
West Haven rides stellar pitching in 2-1 win over Cheshire
By MIKE MADERA
(May 14, 2014) - If the West Haven baseball team ever needed a well-pitched game and a win, Wednesday afternoon at home was the perfect time for it. Having used many arms for plenty of pitches over the last two weeks, and losing six of its last seven contests entering the game, West Haven got the pitching performance it needed.
Jason Wilkerson was on his game from start to finish as the West Haven pitcher allowed just five hits and struck out four in a 2-1 win over Cheshire at Piurek Field. The win was big for the Westies as not only did it save arms in the bullpen, but it put West Haven one step closer to the postseason with a 7-9 record.
Jason Wilkerson pitched a five-hitter in a 2-1 win over Cheshire, May 14, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Wilkerson had to be good as he was matched up against Cheshire's Liam Davey, who allowed just two hits in the loss for the Rams.
West Haven took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Joe Sette reached second on an error and scored two batters later when Nick Price reached on Cheshire's second error of the inning.
Joe Sette reaches second against Cheshire, May 14, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Cheshire evened the game in the third off Wilkerson when Matt Hickey walked, moved to second on a ground out and scored on Ryan Pierpont's single to right.
After Davey retired seven in a row for the Rams, he was hurt again by poor defense in the fourth.
Rick Balzano reached on Cheshire's third error of the game, Price singled to left and both advanced on a sacrifice by Mike Savino. Matt Carter grounded out to short to score Balzano for a 2-1 lead.
Wilkerson retired six in a row until Wes Robertson singled in the sixth without any damage. The Rams tried to rally in the seventh as Cooper Mrowka singled to left, moved to second on a sacrifice and third on a ground out.
With two outs and the tying run on third, Wilkerson got Jason Strollo to fly to left for the final out of the game.
Matt Carter makes the play against Cheshire, May 14, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Mrowka led the Rams with two hits.
West Haven falls to Tigers to drop to 6-9
By MIKE MADERA
(May 13, 2014) - The West Haven baseball team is running out of games. Having lost six of its last seven contests, the Westies dropped to 6-9 on the season.
With the 5-2 loss to Hand on Tuesday, the Westies now need to win two of their final five games to qualify for the postseason.
"It is just a case of one day we have the pitching, but not the offense," West Haven coach Mike Anquillare said. "Then it is vice versa. It is not for a lack of trying. We got the pitching against Fairfield Prep. We did not hit. The consistency level is not there."
West Haven led against Hand, but could not close the door. Instead, the Tigers rallied for five unanswered runs in the win.
A run-scoring double by Gary Donovan and a run batted in by Mike Savino gave West Haven a 2-0 lead in the fourth. Hand bounced back against West Haven starter Matt Carter with single runs in the fourth and fifth innings to tie the game and three more in the sixth for a 5-2 lead.
"I thought he pitched well," Anquillare said of Carter. "He wiggled in and out of trouble."
West Haven took a 2-0 lead in the fourth inning, After Rick Balzano lined out, Nick Price singled, but was erased on a fielder's choice by Mike Brand.
With two outs, Brand stole second and scored on a single by Savino. Carter reached on an infield hit and Donovan doubled to score Savino.
West Haven could not catch a break as the ball rolled under the fence, preventing another run from scoring. Jason Wilkerson followed with a walk, but the threat ended when Joe Sette popped out.
The Westies had other opportunities, but did not capitalize. In the second, Brand walked and Carter reached on an error with two outs, before the rally ended.
In the fifth, Jesse Tejero reached on an error and moved to second on a sacrifice, but was left stranded. The Westies had one more opportunity in the seventh, putting a pair of runners on base with two outs, but Price popped out to end the game.
"We are playing good defense," Anquillare said. "The balls are just finding holes."
Jack Pancak had two hits and drove in two runs, Ray Miklos had two hits and Scott Braren and Sean Scoopo each drove in runs for the Tigers.
Westies fall to Jesuits
Fairfield Prep gains revenge with 5-1 win over WH
By MIKE MADERA
(May 12, 2014) - The first time the West Haven baseball team met Fairfield Prep, the Westies pulled off an upset victory over the then second-ranked Jesuits. Much has changed in the two plus weeks since the first meeting.
Unfortunately for the Westies, they have won just once in the six contests since. Monday afternoon in Fairfield saw the Jesuits exact some revenge with a 5-1 victory, dropping the Westies to 6-8 on the year.
The West Haven offense was held in check throughout the contest, held to just four hits by Prep's Kevin Stone, who improved to 5-0 on the year. Stone threw 86 pitches, walking one and striking out four.
Matt Carter drove in the lone West Haven run in the seventh inning as he had one of the four Westie hits.
Jake Berry had a double and drove in three runs for the Jesuits.
The Jesuits took a 1-0 lead in the second and added another run in the fifth off West Haven starter Frank Johnson for a 2-0 lead. Prep put three more runs on the board in the sixth to put the game out of reach.
Stone was on target from the start, retiring the first seven West Haven batters until Gary Donovan walked in the third. Donovan was quickly erased when Jason Wilkerson hit into a double play.
Jesse Tejero reached on an error with one out ion the fourth, but Stone struck out Mike Brand and got Nick Price to fly out. Rick Balzano singled in the fifth and moved to third on a sacrifice and a ground out, but was left stranded when Donovan popped out in foul territory.
Stone's biggest challenge came in the sixth as he hit Joe Sette and Wilkerson to start the inning with West Haven trailing 2-0. Tejero popped out and Stone got Brand to hit into an inning-ending double play.
The Jesuits fed off this momentum and iced the game in the bottom of the inning with three runs. After a walk to Stone and a single by Brett Stevenson, Berry doubled to center to score a pair. J.R. Lopez then delivered the final run of the inning with a single.
West Haven finally got on the board in the seventh as Price led off with a double and pinch-runner John Cambino scored on Carter's single. After Donovan singled to left to put runners on the corners, the threat ended when Wilkerson grounded to center to end the game.
Prep opened the scoring in the second as Joe Ganim doubled and later scored on a fly ball by Berry. The Jesuits increased the lead to 2-0 in the fifth as Jim Colihan doubled and scored on a single by Dean Lockery.
Wilkerson, Carter pitch Westies past Hamden
By MIKE MADERA
(May 7, 2014) - If ever a team needed a win, it was the West Haven baseball team. Having lost four straight since an upset over Fairfield Prep, West Haven's postseason hopes were starting to take a hit.
Jason Wilkerson and Matt Carter responded. Combining to allow just six hits and a pair of seventh inning runs, the pair helped West Haven snap its losing streak with a 4-2 victory over Hamden at Hamden High Wednesday afternoon.
"This was a big win for us," West Haven coach Mike Anquiillare said after his team improved to 6-7. "The pitching stepped up. The defense was great too. Basically, that was the difference in the game."
Mike Brand and the West Haven defense played well in a 4-2 victory over Hamden, May 7, 2014. File photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
West Haven scored early in the contest to give Wilkerson the support he needed in the first few innings. The Westies led 1-0 after the first inning and added three more in the second for a 4-0 advantage.
"We jumped on them early," Anquillare said. "The only negative was I thought we should have put more runs on the board. Twice we had first and second with no one out and we did not score."
The Westies scored in the first inning as Joe Sette led off with a single, moved to second on Jesse Tejero's sacrifice, third on a passed ball and scored when Nick Price reached on an error.
The Westies increased the lead to four runs in the second inning. Carter led off with a single, stole second and moved to third when Gary Donovan's attempted sacrifice went for a single to put runners on the corners.
Jake Kelly provided the first run of the inning as his sacrifice fly scored Carter. Donovan also advanced on the play and scored on Sette's single.
Sette stole second, Tejero followed with an infield single and Mike Brand walked to load the bases. Price delivered the final run of the inning when his long sacrifice fly to center scored Sette.
The Westies kept that lead, but things got interesting in the late innings. Carter relieved Wilkerson in the fifth and kept the game scoreless until the seventh.
In the seventh, the Green Dragons used a walk and a pair of doubles to get within 4-2. With a runner on second and no one out, Carter got a big strikeout before issuing a walk.
Hamden looked to pull a double steal, but Rick Balzano's throw to Brand at third picked up the second out and Carter recorded the third strike on the next pitch to end the contest.
"It was a big win on the road," Anquillare said. "The pitching was very good. They only had six hits. We did limit their hits. We are taking it one game at a time to try and get into the tournament."
Sette led the West Haven offense with three hits and a run batted in. Balzano also added two hits in the win.
Championship teams - 1967, 1973, 1984, 1988, 2009 (No. 1 in Ct.)
All-State Players - Anthony Pacileo '84; Mel Wearing '85; Mike Anquillare '86; Nick Piombino '88; Paul Mulligan '88; Dave Anquillare '89; Aaron Sellner '92; Kevin Jason '92; Shane Russell '93; Rob Farnen '94; Jason Criscio '95; Gary Tarquino '95; Pete O’Neill '96; Joe DeCrescenzo '97; Jerry Gambardella '00; Matt Cavallaro '02; Rich Mordente '03; Matt Gianini '03, '04; Nico Gambardella '05; Tom Lawrence '09; Eric Stone '10; Tyler Gambardella '13
Retired Numbers - Jerry Gambardella (Class of 2000) #21
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Congratulations to Rick Balzano, Nick Price and Matt Carter on being named to the Southern Connecticut Conference All-Quinnipiac Division team.
ND sweeps Westies
WH drops 4-1 decision to Green Knights
By MIKE MADERA
WEST HAVEN (May 5, 2014) - Notre Dame sophomore Dylan Reynolds is well aware of the history between Notre Dame and West Haven. He was more than willing to thrust himself into the long-time rivalry.
In control from start to finish and getting stronger as the game went on, Reynolds tossed a complete-game, five -hitter as Notre Dame won its eighth straight game with a 4-1 decision over the Westies at Piurek Field Monday afternoon.
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Falcons thump Westies
Big first inning leads to 15-6 Xavier win
By MIKE MADERA
(May 3, 2014)- Almost every team goes through a slump throughout the course of the season. It would be fair to say the West Haven baseball team is at that point.
Losing three straight games and four of its last five, West Haven has fallen to 5-6 on the season.
The latest loss for the Westies came Saturday afternoon in Middletown against Xavier. The Falcons wasted no time setting the tone of the game as they scored seven runs in the first inning and added three more in the second in beating West Haven 15-6.
Xavier was not fooled by any of West Haven's four pitchers as the Falcons roughed up Nick Price, Jason Wilkerson, Frank Johnson and Lorenzo Davis for 21 hits.
Will Garrity did most of the damage for the Falcons as he had four hits and drove in five runs. Alex Parkos drove in four runs and Nick Roy delivered three more runs batted in during the Xavier victory.
Lawrence Hill, Garrity, Parkos, C.J. Caprio (2) and Roy doubled and Parkos, Alex Pia and Garity tripled for Xavier.
Miles Michaud picked up the win for Xavier, while Price suffered the loss for West Haven.
West Haven was never in the game after the first inning, getting within 7-1 in the second and 10-3 in the third before Xavier added three runs in the fourth and two in the fifth for a 15-3 lead. The Westies closed the scoring with three runs in the seventh, but it was not nearly enough.
Westies fall to Lyman Hall
WH drops 3-2 contest against Trojans
By MIKE MADERA
(May 2, 2014) - After defeating then second-ranked Fairfield Prep just over one week ago, the West Haven baseball team had to feel good. Two games later, that good feeling has disappeared.
Losses to Cheshire and Lyman Hall dropped the Westies to 5-5 halfway through the season. The latest loss came Friday afternoon in Wallingford as the Westies were nipped by Lyman Hall , 3-2.
Despite the three-hit pitching of Matt Carter, West Haven was not able to produce enough offense in the loss. Carter sruck out six and walked four in the loss.
Lyman Hall pitcher Dan Russell was equally impressive as he scattered four hits in the win.
Russell struck out five and also was a force on offense for the Trojans as he had two of his team's three hits.
Ben Miller added a two-run single off Carter as Lyman Hall took a 2-0 lead with a pair of runs in the third inning and scored the winning run in the fifth after West Haven tied the contest in the top of the inning when Rick Balzano and Joe Sette drove in runs.
Russell had the big hit in the game in the fifth as his two-out double scored Brett Bilodeau, who had walked and stolen a base.
All of Lyman Hall's run's came with two outs as Miller's two-out, two-run single in the third scored Joe Cassella and Brandon Hewitt, who were hit by a pitch and reached on an error, respectively.
Cheshire pounds Westies
Rams defeat flat Westies, 7-1
By MIKE MADERA
(April 28, 2014)- For all the good things it did against Fairfield Prep in last week's upset victory, the West Haven baseball team was quite the opposite Monday afternoon.
Held to just three hits against Cheshire, the Westies were defeated 7-1 at Cheshire High. With the loss, West Haven dropped its second contest in three games and fell to 5-4.
"We put the whole puzzle together against Prep last week," West Haven coach Mike Anquillare said. "We did not have one piece today. We were just lackadaisical. We played a horrible game out there."
Three West Haven pitchers were knocked around for seven runs on 11 hits, while the offense did not muster much as well.
"It was not a good effort," Anquillare said. "We were not mentally into the game. This team can not just show up with its "B" game and expect to win. We need our "A" game all the time."
The Rams took a 2-0 lead off West Haven starter Nick Price in the first inning and expanded the margin to 3-0 in the second inning. Price lasted just two innings, giving up six hits and four runs. He did not strike out or walk a batter.
West Haven got a run back in the third inning when Joe Sette knocked in Gary Donovan, but that was the extent of West Haven's offense. West Haven's only other runners by way of a hit came from by Mike Brand and Mike Savino.
"I am disappointed with the effort today," Anquillare said after his team fell to 5-4. "We came out very nonchalant. Cheshire is a very good team. They are on a nice roll themselves. They rolled right over us to start the game."
Jason Wilkerson went two innings, allowing three runs on two hits. Both of those runs by Cheshire came in the fourth inning when the Rams took a 7-1 lead.
Matt Carter helped the Westies beat unbeaten and No. 2 Fairfield Prep, April 23, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Westies defeat previously unbeaten and No. 2 Fairfield Prep
By MIKE MADERA
(April 23, 2014)- Following a tough loss against Hamden on Monday, the West Haven baseball team was looking at a solid first part of the season heading towards mediocrity. With second-ranked and unbeaten Fairfield Prep coming to town, the Westies needed to play one of their best games of the year.
That they did.
Behind the six-hit pitching of Matt Carter and an offense which pounded out 12 hits, including four from Jesse Tejero, the Westies rebounded to defeat the Jesuits 11-2 at Piurek Field.
"It was a huge win on a tough day to play," West Haven coach Mike Anquillare said after his team improved to 5-3. "The wind was whipping and it was cold. But, we did a lot of things right today.
"Today was a statement game for us. We had something to prove and we let our play do the talking."
Carter was the story of the game as he went the distance on the hill, allowing one earned run, scattering six hits and striking out four. Carter was also a catalyst at the plate where he had three hits, including a triple and two runs batted in.
"He ran into a little bit of trouble, but was able to wiggle out of it," Anquillare said of Carter. "He also helped himself out with three hits."
The Jesuits scored first with a run in the second as J.R. Lopez singled to score Brett Stevenson, who had reached on an error.
The Westies answered and took the lead for good in the bottom of the inning with three runs. Jake Kelly started the rally with a single and moved to third on Carter's single.
Jason Wilkerson reached to load the bases after attempting to sacrifice and Tejero started his big day with a two-run double for a 2-1 lead. Rick Balzano singled to score Wilkerson for a 3-1 advantage.
Jesse Tejero had a big day for the Westies in a win over Fairfield Prep, April 23, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
The Westies increased the lead to 5-1 in the third with two more runs. Mike Savino reached on an error, and after Prep recorded the next two outs, Wilkerson walked and Tejero singled to score Savino. Joe Sette followed with another single to score Wilkerson.
"We had eleven runs on twelve hits," Anquillare said. "We got a lot of clutch hits. We took the ball the other way. We hit the ball hard."
Lopez doubled to score Stevenson in the fourth for the Jesuits, but Carter got his way out of trouble when he got Dean Lockery to line to center with two on.
That out proved to be a big one as West Haven ended Prep's final chance of getting back in the game as the Westies scored four times in the bottom of the fourth.
Mike Brand worked a walk off John DelVecchio and Nick Price followed suit. After a sacrifice by Savino put a pair of runners in scoring position, Kelly walked to load the bases.
West Haven celebrates a run on the board against Fairfield Prep, April 23, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Carter helped his own cause when he singled to plate Brand. Wilkerson's ground out scored Price and Tejero's second double of the game to right scored Kelly and Carter for a 9-2 lead.
"Jesse Tejero had a big game for us," Anquillare said.
The Jesuits again threatened in the fifth, loading the bases, before Carter got another big out when he struck out Austin Crane to end the frame.
Lockery walked in the sixth, but was left stranded, and West Haven widened the gap in the botton of the inning.
Savino singled and scored on Carter's triple to right before Wilkerson drove in the final run of the game with a ground out to third to score Carter.
"This was a definitely a big win," Anquillare said. "Our bats carried us in the Hamden game. We did not do enough right to win that game. Today, we put the whole thing together against a quality team. We beat a good team today."
Lopez and Simon Whiteman led the Jesuits with two hits apiece. Tejero drove in five runs for the Westies, Carter scored three runs and drove in two, Wilkerson drove in two and scored a pair and Kelly and Savino each scored twice in a team effort.
Westies lose slugfest with Hamden
13 runs not enough in 14-13 loss
By MIKE MADERA
(April 21, 2014)- West Haven coach Mike Anquillar knows his offense can be explosive. Anquillare was reminded of that Monday afternoon when his team scored 13 runs.
Anquillare was also reminded pitching, more times than not, dictates the winner and loser. The Westies found this out the hard way against the Green Dragons as West Haven scored 13 times on 14 hits, but amazingly fell 14-13 to Hamden at Piurek Field.
Despite three hits from Nick Price and two apiece from Gary Donovan, Mike Brand, Rick Balzano and Mike Savino, the Westies could not muster enough runs in the end, falling to 4-3 on the year.
Mike Savino connects against Hamden, April 21, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Savino had a big day as he also drove in five runs and scored three. Balzano drove in a pair and scored twice, while Brand and Joe Sette each scored three trimes in the loss.
Hamden jumped on West Haven pitcher Nick Price early, scoring three times in the first inning, with Paul Wetmore's two-run double being the big hit.
West Haven answered with five runs in the bottom of the inning as Price drove in Sette with a single and Savino singled to score Balzano and Brand to even the game at three. Price scored on a passed ball and Matt Carter's single to left scored Savino for a 5-3 lead.
Rick Balzano scores in West Haven's 14-13 loss to Hamden, April 21, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
The lead did not last long as the Green Dragons scored twice in the third. The Westies took a 7-5 lead in the bottom of the inning when Balzano doubled to left to score Jason Wilkerson and Sette.
Hamden again came back, scoring five times in the fourth on two walks, four hits and an error. The Green Dragons used a bases-clearing triple by James Magson in the fifth to increase the margin to 13-7 before West Haven rallied with five in the bottom of the inning.
Lou Masselli reached on an error, Sette singled and both advanced on a wild pitch. After Balzano walked, Brand reached on a fielder's choice to score Maselli. With two outs, Savino doubled to clear the bases, cutting the deficit to 13-11. Jake Kelly's single brought in Savino to get West Haven within 13-12.
After Hamden scored in the top of the seventh, West Haven had one last rally in the botton of the seventh.
Brand and Price led off with singles, but Savino popped out for the first out.
Kelly reached on a fielder's choice to put runners on the corners and Carter reached on an error to score Brand. With two on and two out, Jesse Tejero hit a fly ball to left to end the contest.
Price started, lasted two innings and gave up fve runs on seven hits, throwing just 49 pitches. Wilkerson gave up five runs in 1 2/3 innings, before Sette, Savino and Carter finished the contest.
Westies rally past North Haven
Savino's hit in the 8th delivers winner
By MIKE MADERA
(April 19, 2014)- West Haven baseball coach Mike Anquillare has liked the competitive fight his team has showed this season. Anquillare had to be thrilled with the results Saturday afternoon.
Despite allowing a pair of tying runs in the seventh inning, West Haven rallied in the eighth, using Mike Savino's run-scoring single, to defeat North Haven 5-4 on the road.
"I thought we kept our composure," Anquillare said. "We did not do anything in the first couple of innings, when time they scored late, we answered. I thought that was big."
Jake Kelly continued to make an impact in the lineup as he had a pair of hits, scored once and drove in three from the ninth spot in the order.
"Jake Kelly has brought some pop to the lineup," Anquillare said. "He has hit some balls in the gaps and he has come up clutch. He has taken advantage of the opportunity given."
Mike Brand finished with two hits, Gary Donovan had two runs scored and a run batted in and Matt Carter also scored once.
West Haven used three pitchers in the game. Carter started, going 5 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on five hits, striking out seven and walking three. None of Carter's runs were earned.
Jason Wilkerson relieved in the sixth and allowed the tying runs in the seventh, before Nick Price came up big with a scoreless eighth.
"One of the keys was Nick Price coming up big at the end," Anquillare said. "He said he was good to go and gave us what we needed."
North Haven got on the board quickly against Carter, scoring single runs in the first two innings for a 2-0 lead. The score would remain that way until West Haven evened the contest with two runs in the fifth.
With one out in the fifth, Donovan walked and Kelly hit a homer to left to even the game at two.
"It is just another huge hit by him," Anquillare said of Kelly.
After North Haven stranded the go-ahead run on third in the sixth inning, West Haven took a 4-2 lead in the seventh.
Carter started the rally with a double to center and Donovan singled to left to score Carter for a 3-2 lead. Donovan went to second on the play and scored when Kelly doubled to left.
"We answered it," Anquillare said. "We got a big hit from Kelly. We have gotten some pop off his bat. We got some real good swings from him and Donovan in that inning."
With two outs and one on in the seventh, Wilkerson needed just one more out to preserve the win. Wilkerson's second walk of the inning put the tying runs on base and both scored on Nick Proto's double to left to even the game at four.
North Haven was not done as a walk to Dominic Fusco put two runners on before Wilkerson struck out Richie Depalma to end the frame.
The Westies came right back in the eighth inning to take the lead for good. With one out, Price walked and pinch-runner Frank Johnson moved to second on a wild pitch.
Savino then came through with a clutch single to left to score Johnson with the eventual winning run.
Price sealed the deal with three quick outs in the eighth as West Haven improved to 4-2.
Westies defeat Career
Clutch hits key to victory
By MIKE MADERA
(April 17, 2014)- Good teams get clutch hits. They also have an answer when the opponent gets on the scoreboard.
The West Haven baseball team took a big step towards becoming a good team Thursday afternoon in New Haven as the Westies used two-out hitting to defeat Career 9-6.
The bottom of the West Haven batting order, Gary Donovan and Jake Kelly, did the most damage as the pair combined for five hits, four runs scored and four runs batted in.
"The key to the game was the two-out hits," West Haven coach Mike Anquillare said after his team improved to 3-2. "Everything we did was with two outs. The bottom of the order came up big too. You can't ask for better than what they did.
"We did what we had to do today. We needed that win."
While the offense was getting clutch hits, pitcher Nick Price kept the tam in the game. On a tough day to play, Price went the distance, allowing six runs on 10 hits, striking out six. Price also walked two and hit another two.
West Haven took a 2-0 lead in the second inning as Matt Carter reached on an error, Kelly walked with one out and both advanced on Joe Sette's grounder. Rick Balzano put West Haven on the board with a two-run single.
After Career got one back in the bottom of the second, West Haven took a 6-1 lead with four in the fourth. With two outs, Jay Wilkerson and Carter walked and Donovan singled to score Wilkerson.
With runners on the corners, Kelly singled to score Carter and the third run scored on an error on the play. Sette reached on an error to score Kelly for a 6-1 lead.
Career scored three times off Price in the fourth, but Balzano walked with the bases loaded in the sixth to score Donovan for a 7-4 lead.
Leading 7-6 heading to the seventh, West Haven gave Price some breathing room. Price singled, Sette walked and with two runners in scoring position, Donovan doubled with two outs to score a pair for the 9-6 final.
"Every time they scored, we came back with at least one run in the following inning," Anquillare said.
"We are never satisfied as we need to continue to work on our defense. We have been giving away too many runs. We have to clean it up. What we are giving away on defense, we are getting back on offense with two-out hits."
Joe Sette pitches against Notre Dame, April 14, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Round One to Green Knights
Amendola leads Notre Dame past Westies
By MIKE MADERA
(April 14, 2014)- Notre Dame pitcher John Amendola did not feel he had his best fastball Monday afternoon. The senior pitcher adjusted.
Mixing a vast array of off speed pitches with his trademark fastball, Amendola stifled cross-town rival West Haven in a 5-0 victory at Quigley Stadium. The right-hander tossed a complete-game 3-hitter, striking out four as the Green Knights improved to 3-1 on the season.
"From the beginning of the game, I knew I did not have my best fastball," Amendola said. "I knew I needed to get my off speed pitches working. For my second game, I was very happy.
"The defense was great today. They were making plays from the beginning of the game."
After Joe Sette led off the game with a single to center for West Haven, Amendola got into a rhythm which included setting down the next 15 Westies in order.
Read the rest of this article at GameTimeCt here
Joe Sette slides into second base during the sixth inning of West Haven's 5-0 loss to the Green Knights, April 14, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Matt Carter singles against Notre Dame, April 14, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Angel Gonzalez throws a pitch against Notre Dame, April 14, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Falcons soar past WH
Westies suffer first loss of year with 11-6 setback against Xavier
By MIKE MADERA
(April 12, 2014)- The West Haven baseball team suffered its first loss of the season Saturday afternoon. Having put 41 runs on the scorebaord in the first two games, West Haven was looking to keep the offense going against the Falcons.
While the Westies scored six times, they could not stop the Falcons as Xavier scored seven times in the first two innings and defeated West Haven 11-6.
West Haven starting pitcher Angel Gonzalez was konocked out of the game in the second inning, forcing Jason Wilkerson to finish the contest on the hill.
Gonzalez lasted 1 1/3 innings, allowing six hits and six runs, five of which were earned. Gonzalez threw just 30 pitches before Wilkerson stepped in.
Wilkerson went the rest of the way, allowing 10 hits and five earned runs, walking two and striking out four.
Will Garrity and Pat Downey each led Xavier with three hits apiece, while Nick Roy, Chris Cari and Lawrence Hill each had a pair of hits.
The Falcons also needed help from the bullpen as starter Dan Lawler lasted just 1 2/3 innings, allowing four runs.
Mike Brand led theWest Haven offense with three hits, one run scored and one run batted in. Matt Carter, Joe Sette and Mike Savino each had a pair of hits, with Sette driving in two runs and Savino driving in another.
Xavier jumped on Gonzalez quickly, scoring three times in the top of the first. Downey's single scored Garrity, Alex Pia delivered Cari with a sacrifice fly and C.J. Caprio's single scored Downey.
The Westies answered with a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning as Sette singled with one out and Brand doubled to left. Price followed with a sacrifice fly to score Sette and Savino doubled to left to score Brand.
Any momentum the Westies had went away when the Falcons scored four times in the second inning. Hill and Garrity hit run-scoring doubles and Downey singled to score Garrity and Cari for a 7-2 lead.
West Haven again answered in the bottom of the inning with a pair of runs.
Balzano and Jesse Tejero singled and Sette delivered Balzano with a two-out single. Tejero scored one batter later when Brand singled to cut the deficit to 7-4.
Xavier added a pair in the top of the fourth which was answered by West Haven with two runs in the bottom of the inning.
Carter scored on Sette's fielder's choice and Tejero scored on a Falcons' error to get West Haven within 9-6.
West Haven never got any closer. Hill tripled and scored on Garrity's single in the fifth and the Falcons added another run in the sixth for the win.
Westies pummel Panthers
Carter's pitching and Westie bats lead to 2-0 start
By MIKE MADERA
(April 10, 2014) – Nick Price is being counted on by the West Haven baseball team for his pitching. Turns out Price is proving just as valuable at the plate.
Delivering three hits, scoring five times and driving in a pair, Price led the Westies to a 29-0 win over Platt Tech in Milford Thursday afternoon.
Nick Price had another big day at the plate for the Westies against Platt Tech. File photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Scoring seven times in the first, three in the second and four in the third, West Haven led 14-0 after three innings. The only question left was whether West Haven pitcher Matt Carter would be perfect.
Carter came close, losing a perfect game in the fifth and a no-hitter in the sixth. Carter's line when all was said and done read six innings pitched, one hit allowed, 12 strikeouts and two walks.
"He pitched very well," West Haven coach Mike Anquillare said of Carter. "He had the perfect game, then the no-hitter. He did a nice job."
West Haven's lineup from top to bottom was lethal against the Panthers. Mike Brand had three hits, scored five times and drove in a run, , Mike Savino had two hits, three runs scored and two runs batted in, while Jason Wilkerson added two hits, two runs scored and four runs batted in.
Carter also hit well as he had two hits, two runs scored and a run batted in, while Jesse Tejero had two hits and a run batted in.
"We hit the ball well," Anquillare said. "We clicked on all cylinders today. I am really happy with the way we have been hitting from top to bottom."
Off and Running
Westies roll to 12-5 win over Trojans
By MIKE MADERA
WEST HAVEN (April 9, 2014) – The approach for the West Haven baseball team throughout the preseason has been one of strictly business. That trend continued Wednesday afternoon.
Banging out eight hits and taking advantage of four Lyman Hall errors, West Haven defeated the Trojans 12-5 in the season opener for both teams at Piurek field.
"We hit up and down the lineup," West Haven coach Mike Anquillare said. "We ran the bases pretty well. Going into the fifth inning, it was only 2-0. We stole a couple of bases and were able to take advantage of some of their errors."
While the offense was doing its thing, Nick Price held up his end of the bargain with six plus strong innings, allowing five runs, only three of which were earned. Price fired 20 first pitch strikes in the contest.
Nick Price was strong on the hill for West Haven in the season opener, April 9, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"He gutted it out," Anquillare said of Price. "He gave us six strong innings. We definitely let him down with our defense."
Jason Wilkerson relieved Price in the seventh with the bases loaded and no outs and struck out two batters in recording the final three outs.
"I thought another big spot in the game was Wilkerson came on in the seventh with the bases loaded and no outs and he got two strikeouts and the final out. He came in and kept the game where it was at."
Price also led the way on the offensive side as he had three hits and drove in four runs. Mike Savino walked three times, Ricky Balzano drove in three runs and Mike Brand delivered two in the win. Brand, Gary Donovan, Joe Sette and Savino each scored twice.
Ricky Balzano had a nice day behind the plate and at bat against Lyman Hall, April 9, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
The Westies took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Donovan reached on an error, stole second, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on Brand's grounder to short.
The Westies increased the lead to 2-0 with another run in the third. With two outs, Brand was hit by a pitch, went to third on an error and scored on Price's single to center.
The game remained a tight contest until the fifth inning as the Westies broke the game open with six runs.
Donovan again started the rally as he reached on an error and advanced to third on Sette's single. Brand followed with a single to score Donovan and moved Sette to third.
Price singled to left to score Sette for a 4-0 advantage and Mike Savino walked.
Jay Wilkerson walked to load the bases before Balzano's double scored a pair for a 6-0 lead. Wilkerson scored on a grounder by Matt Carter and Balzano scored on an error for an 8-0 cushion.
Jason Wilkerson against Lyman Hall, April 9, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandeslke.
"He was very solid behind the plate and he had some big at bats," Anquillare said of Balzano. "He hit the ball well. That hit was a 12-pitch at bat and he took it the other way. That was a big spot for us."
After Lyman Hall scored twice in the sixth, West Haven answered with four more in the bottom of the inning.
Sette and Brand opened the inning with walks before Price doubled to score both. After a wild pitch and a walk to Savino, Wilkerson's sacrifice fly brought in Price. Balzano capped West Haven's scoring with a single to score Savino.
Nick Price is the ace of a strong West Haven pitching staff in 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Ready to Go
Westies primed for big season
By MIKE MADERA
(April 4, 2014) – West Haven baseball coach Mike Anquillare is smiling a lot these days. While Anquillare is well aware he has to replace graduated stars in Tyler Gambardella and Cameron Stone, he is well aware the success of any team is based on pitching.
If that is to be the case this season, Anquillare and his West Haven team are positioned well. The Westies are solid in that area and will build from the hill.
Leading the way for the Westies on the pitching mound is senior Nick Price. The righty was an All-League selection last season, posting a 5-2 record. Price threw 51 innings, allowed just 9 earned runs, struck out 32 and finished with a 1.22 earned run average.
Price will anchor the rotation in 2014 and will be joined in the second slot by fellow senior Matt Carter. Carter was 1-0 and had a 3.93 earned run average last season.
Anquillare and his staff also have a tough battle for the third slot in the rotation. The battle is between senior Angel Gonzalez and juniors Joe Sette and Jason Wilkerson.
"Nick Price has the most innings coming back," Anquillare said. "Matt Carter came on at the end of last year and we are happy with the three guys battling for that third spot. They know exactly what we need."
With a talented pitching staff, Anquillare also has an experienced catcher to anchor the staff. Senior Ricky Balzano will control the staff as he comes off a solid junior campaign. Sedrick Acosta will be the backup to Balzano.
Ricky Balzano will anchor the pitching staff ion 2014 behind the plate. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
The Westies have seven returning starters from last year's squad and are expected to hit and field well to go along with the pitching staff. Early in the preseason, Anquillare has been extremely pleased with what he has seen.
"The hitting was strong the first couple of games," Anquillare said. "On the whole, we are hitting the ball well. We are hitting in key spots, getting those two-out hits. We have run the bases well. With seven starters back, you expect to do the little things better.
"We still have a lot of work to do. We are a very senior-laden team. There are nine seniors on the team. It seems like we are clicking early. We will go as far as the seniors will lead us."
Last season, senior Mike Brand was an offesnive leader as he hit .304 with 21 hits, including six doubles and 11 runs batted in. Price had 19 hits and a team-leading 18 runs batted in, while Sette hit .300 with 18 hits.
Gary Donovan will also be counted on offensively as he hit .294 with with 20 hits and 19 runs scored, Wilkerson added 18 hits and Carter had 17 hits.
Jason Wilkerson will play a big role in the success of the 2014 Westies. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Defensively, the Westies appear to be a strong unit. Wilkerson and Price will split the first base duties, with Wilkerson on the corner when Price pitches. Sette will play second, Brand will be at short and junior Mike Savino will play third base.
The outfield will see Donovan in right field, Carter in center when not on the hill and a battle is still in place to see who will start in left.
The left field position will come down to seniors Makiem Miller and Jesse Tejero and junior Frank Johnson.
"We have the same goals," Anquillare said. "We want to qualify for the tournaments, win the division and the SCC championship, and the state championship is the ultimate goal.
"I like the cohesiveness of this group. The seniors are pushing the younger guys. It has been all about the team concept. The guys have been practicing hard. It has been all business during practice. We have played pretty well in scrimmages."
West Haven opens its season Wednesday, April 9 at 3:45 p.m. at home against Lyman Hall.