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Over too Soon
Westies fall to Xavier in opening round of LL state tournament
By MIKE MADERA
(May 29, 2012) – With the way the 2012 season started, two wins in the first nine games, it would have been hard to imagine the West Haven baseball team holding a sixth inning lead over Xavier in the opening round of the Class LL state tournament. That was exactly the case Tuesday afternoon in Middletown.
Unfortunately for the Westies, they could not hold on. Run-scoring singles in the sixth inning by Xavier’s Eddie Kieltyka and Jay Schaff led to a pair of runs and the tenth-seeded Falcons held on for a 4-3 victory at Palmer Field.
“A couple of mistakes hurt us,” West Haven coach Mike Anquillare said. “They got some clutch hits in the bottom of the sixth when they needed them. I was pleased though with the effort. I saw something today I have not seen all year. The kids had that desire to win every inning.”
The No. 23 Westies (10-11) rode the play of Cameron Stone to take a 3-2 lead into the sixth inning. Stone led off the game with a home run off Xavier pitcher Connor Landers, setting the tone of the game.
West Haven had an opportunity to get more runs in the inning as Tyler Gambardella followed with a single and Bobby Moretti singled after Matt Gagne’s deep fly ball to center was caught. Landers got out of the inning by striking out Wes Gambardella and getting Alex Palmieri to a line out to end the frame.
“We had our opportunities,” Anquillare said.
On the mound, Stone had a no-hitter through five innings, allowing a pair of runs in the first inning when he walked two batters, hit two more and threw two wild pitches. That was all the Falcons mustered until the deciding sixth inning.
“The first inning hurt him,” Anquillare said. “We gave them two runs without courtesy of any contact. That hurt. He settled down after that and cruised until the sixth inning.”
As Stone settled down, the Westies went the next four innings without scoring. West Haven broke through to take the lead in the sixth inning off Ben Criscuolo.
Wes Gambardella started the rally with an infield single and was followed by a fielder’s choice by Palmieri. Nick Price followed with a single and Eric Flores was hit by a pitch to load the bases with one out.
Michael Brand pinch-hit for Danny Chambrelli and struck out, leaving the rally in the hands of Stone. Stone wasted no time delivering as his single scored Palmieri and Price to give West Haven a short-lived 3-2 lead.
“We played well,” Anquillare said. “It was just not enough. I am proud of the kids and the way they played. They plated hard. Today was just not meant to be.
“We kept coming back. We played solid defense. We were a hit or two away from winning the game. That’s baseball.”
The Westies had one last rally in the seventh to keep the season alive. Palmieri singled with two outs and moved to second on a passed ball. Price could not keep the rally going as his grounder to first ended the game and the season for the Westies.
“We played well on defense,” Anquillare said. “We made every play. We made diving catches. We had nine hits. We needed to do more of the little things right.”
Westies win 8 of final 11 to finish season at .500
By MIKE MADERA
(May 21, 2012) – Through nine games of the regular season, it would have been hard to imagine the West Haven baseball team would be smiling through 20 games. A change over the final eleven games has done so.
Winners of eight of the last eleven regular season contests, the Westies finished the regular season with a 10-10 record. West Haven’s latest victory came Monday afternoon when the Westies defeated Platt Tech 8-0 at Piurek Field.
“We won eight of eleven and two of the losses have been by one run,” West Haven coach Mike Anquillare said. “We are playing a lot better baseball now. Where are peaking at the end of the year and we are right where we want to be.”
On a rainy afternoon, which caused the game to be moved from Milford to West Haven, Cameron Stone was impressive, holding the Panthers to just one hit and striking out 10 in five innings of work. Nick Price struck out two and allowed just one hit in the final two innings of the combined shutout.
“He (Stone) walked three but it was a tough day to pitch,” Anquillare said. “He struck out ten and was ahead of a lot of hitters.
“We did not know what we were going to get in. It was raining pretty hard. It was nice to get the runs early.”
The Westies gave Stone all the run support he would need in the first inning as Stone and Tyler Gambardella reached on errors and Matt Gagne walked to load the bases. Bobby Moretti brought in the first run with a sacrifice fly and walks to Wes Gambardella and Alex Palmieri forced in Tyler Gambardella for a 2-0 lead.
West Haven took a 3-0 lead in the third inning when Danny Chambrelli hit a one-out single and scored on Tyler Gambardella’s double. Price’s sacrifice fly in the third scored Moretti, who had reached on an error to start the inning.
“It was a tough day to play,” Anquillare said. “It rained the entire game. We pitched pretty good and the defense was solid. It was a good step in the right direction.”
West Haven scored with two outs in the fourth as Tyler Gambardella walked and scored on Gagne’s triple. With the rain continuing to fall, West Haven put the game away with two more in the fifth and another in the sixth.
In the fifth inning, Wes Gambardella walked, stole second and scored on Palmieri’s single. After Palmieri stole second, he scored on Stone’s single for a 7-0 lead.
Price delivered the final run of the game when his sacrifice fly scored Wes Gambardella in the sixth for an 8-0 lead.
Palmieri led West Haven with three hits. Deion Dinuzzo led Platt Tech with both hits.
Hand holds off Westies
Carrano’s effort wasted in 2-1 loss
By MIKE MADERA
(May 18, 2012) – Over the last nine games, the West Haven baseball team has turned its season around by getting better pitching and improved defense. Only one of the two continued Friday afternoon.
Despite John Carrano allowing just four hits and one earned run, West Haven’s defense made three errors in a 2-1 loss to Hand at Piurek Field. The loss drops West Haven to 9-10 with only Monday afternoon’s contest at Platt Tech remaining in the regular season.
Carrano needed only 83 pitches in the complete game effort, throwing 52 strikes. The senior pitcher struck out four and did not walk a batter.
West Haven was held to just six hits in the game by Jarrett Rennie and Miles Sheehan with Cameron Stone grabbing three of the hits. Stone also scoredWest Haven’s lone run of the game.
"We did not get the clutch hit," West Haven coach Mike Anquillare said. "We did not play well on defense. The bottom line is we pitched well but we did not get the hits or play well on defense. We did not deserve to win.
"If we are able to get the win in the last game, we would finish 10-10. From where we were to where we are now, that is a pretty good run. The two games we lost were 5-4 and 2-1. One way or another, we have been in every game."
The Westies struggled to produce from the start as Stone opened the game with a single, moved to second on Tyler Gambardella’s sacrifice and third on Matt Gagne’s grounder. Stone would go no further as Bobby Moretti popped out to end the frame.
Trailing 2-0 in the third, West Haven rallied but again came up short. Eric Flores led off with a single and was erased on Danny Chambrelli’s fielder’s choice.
Stone singled to put two runners on but Tyler Gambardella lined to center and Gagne grounded out to end the inning.
West Haven had another golden opportunity in the fourth but came up empty. Moretti reached on an error to start the inning and Wes Gambardella singled. Palmieri’s fielder’s choice forced Moretti at third before Nick Price and Flores hit fly balls to end the inning.
West Haven finally got on the scoreboard, cutting the deficit in half in the fifth inning. With one out Stone doubled to left and scored on Gagne’s two-out single to left.
Gagne’s hit was the last base runner for West Haven. The Tigers set down the final seven West Haven batters to end the game and take home a 2-1 win.
Hand took a 1-0 lead in the second when Richard Spencer doubled and scored on Brent Crawford’s sacrifice fly. After hitting Benjamin Bednarczyk in the third, an error by Carrano allowed Bednarczyk to score for a 2-0 lead.
Westies pound Panthers
Improve to 9-9 after 2-7 start
By MIKE MADERA
WEST HAVEN (May 16, 2012) – With the way the 2012 season started for the West Haven baseball team, reaching .500 looked like a long shot. The Westies opened the season with seven losses in the first nine games and were reeling.
Since that time, the Westies have reversed the trend, winning seven of nine to improve to 9-9. West Haven’s latest victory came Wednesday evening as the Westies defeated Platt Tech 12-1 art Piurek Field.
“It all starts on the mound,” West Haven coach Mike Anquillare said. “We have been pitching much better which has kept us in the game. The defense has played better, plus we have gotten key two-out hits. We have gotten the clutch hits.
“We seem to be getting more confidence. We want to peak at the end of the year, not the middle and I think we are doing that.”
Eric Flores led the Westies with three hits, three runs batted in and two runs scored. Cameron Stone had a pair of hits and drove in four runs and Nick Price had two hits, a run scored and a run batted in. Wes Gambardella scored three times while Matt Gagne, Bobby Moretti and Alex Palmieri also scored twice.
“Cameron Stone had a couple of clutch two-out hits,” Anquillare said. “I thought Eric Flores swung the bat well. He had a couple of doubles.
“What I did like was they way we ran the bases. We worked on that in practice. We got out of the box quicker and we stole some bases.”
Moretti was the beneficiary of all the run support as he picked up the victory. Moretti allowed one run on two hits, walked three and struck out nine. Price threw a hitless inning with two strikeouts while Joe Sette wrapped up the contest with a scoreless seventh inning.
“I thought Bobby had a lot more command of his pitches,” Anquillare said. “The bottom line was he threw strikes and let the defense make plays.”
The Westies took the lead in the game with four runs in the second inning. Moretti led off with a single and moved to second on Wes Gambardella’s sacrifice. Palmieri followed with a walk before Price singled to score Moretti for a 1-0 lead.
Flores followed with a single to left, scoring Palmieri. After Danny Chambrelli grounded to third to advance both runners, Stone singled with two outs to score Price and Flores for a 4-0 lead.
The Westies put the game away with four more runs in the third inning. Gagne opened the inning with a double, stole third and scored on an error.
Gambardella followed with a walk, stole second and moved to third on Palmieri’s single to right. Palmieri stole second and Gambardella scored on an error for a 6-0 lead.
Stone again had another key at bat. His second two-out single scored Palmieri and Flores for an 8-0 lead.
After the Panthers scored in the fourth, West Haven answered with three in the bottom of the inning. Palmieri’s sacrifice fly scored Gagne, Price reached on an error to score Moretti and Flores doubled to score Gambardella for the 11-1 lead.
West Haven added its final run of the game in the sixth inning. Floresdoubled to score Gambardella, who was hit by a pitch to start the inning, for a 12-1 lead.
Westies defeat Cross to qualify for state tournament
By MIKE MADERA
(May 14, 2012) – After starting the season with just two wins in the first nine games, it would have been hard to believe the West Haven baseball team was on the cusp of qualifying for the state tournament.
That was exactly what the situation was as the Westies hosted Wilbur Cross Monday afternoon. Behind the three-hit pitching of Cameron Stone and the hitting of Stone, Wes Gambardella and Eric Flores, the Westies defeated the Governors 4-0 at Piurek Field.
The victory improved West Haven’s record to 8-9 as West Haven has won six of its last eight games.
“It feels good to get in,” West Haven coach Mike Anquillare said. “Obviously, our main goal was to get in. We have been on a pretty good run. We strung some wins together. We hope it continues because we want to increase our seedings in the tournament.”
Stone was the story of the day as he did not walk a batter, struck out 15 and allowed only three hits in an overpowering performance.
“It was a dominant performance by Stone,” Anquillare said. “He allowed three infield singles and that was really it. He overpowered them. He mixed his pitches well. His fastball had a lot of pop today.”
West Haven gave Stone all the run support he would need in the third inning. Eric Flores led off with a walk and Stone followed with a one-out single to left.
An error on the play moved both runners into scoring position before Tyler Gambardella delivered Flores with a sacrifice fly to center.
The Westies increased the lead to 3-0 in the fourth. Wes Gambardella led off with a single, stole second and scored on Nick Price’s one-out single. Price went to second on the throw home and scored when Chambrelli delivered a sacrifice fly to center after Flores singled to put runners on the corners.
West Haven closed the scoring in the sixth. With one out Chambrelli singled and pinch-runner Makiem Miller stole second.
With Miller on third following a passed ball and Tyler Gambardella on first, an attempted double steal scored Miller for a 4-0 lead.
“I thought we were flat but good teams find a way to win,” Anquillare said. “We did enough to win. It was a dominant performance by Stone. He struck out fifteen. We only had to make six plays.”
Stone, Wes Gambardella and Flores each had a pair of hits in the victory.
One Step Away
WH needs one more win to play in postseason after beating Guilford in extra innings
By MIKE MADERA
(May 10, 2012) – The last time the West Haven baseball team played Guilford, the Westies committed eight errors and were thoroughly embarrassed on their home field. Marking the low point of the season, the Westies had nowhere to go but up.
West Haven has followed that path since. Winning five of their last seven games, including a 9-3 victory over Guilford in ten innings on Saturday, the Westies improved to 7-9 and are one win away from playing in the postseason.
“I just think we are starting to play solid baseball,” West Haven coach Mike Anquillare said. “The defense has been the key and the pitching has been pretty good. It is that combination with clutch hitting. But, we still have work to do.
“We are taking it one game at a time. All hands will be on deck Monday for Cross. Every pitcher will be ready to go. We will worry about the next game the next game.”
Postseason thoughts were the farthest thing from Anquillare’s mind after the loss to Guilford earlier in the season. That loss dropped West Haven to 2-7 and caused some serious soul searching on the team.
Since that time West Haven has been a different team. While the Westies made their share of mental mistakes on Saturday, they were able to score six times in the tenth inning for the win.
In the tenth inning, Eric Flores led off with a walk and was safe at second when Dan Chambrelli attempted to sacrifice. Cameron Stone followed with a bunt to third which went for a single.
When the throw hit Stone’s back and rolled to right field, Flores scored for a 4-3 lead. Tyler Gambardella walked to load the bases and Matt Gagne followed with his fifth walk of the day to force in Chambrelli for a 5-3 lead.
Wes Gambardella then came up with the biggest hit of the day. After striking out three times in the game, Wes Gambardella cleared the bases with a double to right for an 8-3 lead. Alex Palmieri then drove in Wes Gambardella, who went to third on the throw home, with a sacrifice fly for the 9-3 advantage.
“I have been preaching it all year,” Anquillare said. “You can’t take each at bat to the field or to the next at bat. You never know when you are going to come up in a big spot. That’s what happened with Wes.”
West Haven showed plenty of guts to pull out the victory as the Westies trailed 3-0 after four innings of play. West Haven rallied for three runs in the fifth inning and Nick Price did the rest.
Relieving starter Tyler Gambardella in the fifth inning, Price was stellar. The sophomore pitcher held Guilford scoreless over the final five innings, givingWest Haven an opportunity to win the game in the tenth.
Price escaped a bases loaded jam in the seventh inning, throwing three straight strikes on a 3-2 count and finally getting out of the inning with a fly ball to Tyler Gambardella in center.
“I have to credit Nick Price,” Anquillare said. “He gave a gutsy performance. He came on in the fifth inning and shut them down. There were several times in extra innings he got us another at bat.”
West Haven knotted the game in the fifth inning with three runs. Price, Flores and Chambrelli started the inning with walks to load the bases and Stone reached on an infield single to score Price. Gagne walked with one out to score Chambrelli and Bobby Moretti reached to score Stone.
“We finally came through with some clutch hits,” Anquillare said. “We got some big hits with runners on.”
The Westies left a pair of runners on in the sixth and the bases loaded in the seventh and ninth innings.
Carrano leads Westies
Solid performance paces WH to sixth win
By MIKE MADERA
WEST HAVEN (May 10, 2012) – Off to a slow start to the season, West Haven coach Mike Anquillare was looking for someone to lead the team. That leader has emerged in the form of John Carrano.
The senior pitcher threw his second straight gem, leading West Haven to a 4-2 victory over Fairfield Prep Thursday afternoon at Piurek Field. Carrano followed his shutout performance over Sheehan in his last outing with another brilliant effort, tossing a complete game seven-hitter, while striking out five and walking two.
“The bottom line today is John Carrano stepped up big for us,” Anquillare said. “He has pitched great for us. This was his second good game in a row. He had the shutout over Sheehan the last time he pitched.
“They had one inning where they got to him. He kept his composure. He seemed to have gotten stronger as the game went on.”
The victory allowed West Haven to improve to 6-9 overall and 3-5 in the Southern Connecticut Conference Quinnipiac Division. The Westies need just two victories to qualify for the state tournament.
With the game even at two in the bottom of the sixth inning, West Havenmounted a rally to take the lead for good. Cameron Stone reached on an error by Prep third baseman Dave Gerics to start the inning, was sacrificed to second by Tyler Gambardella and moved to third on Matt Gagne’s grounder back to the mound.
Bobby Moretti then came through for the Westies. Moretti’s line drive to right sailed away from Will Brophy, allowing Stone to score. When the relay in was thrown away, Moretti scored for the 4-2 lead.
“I tried to get ahead in the count,” Moretti said of the winning at bat. “I fell behind and I just wanted to go the opposite way. I wanted to drive it to the opposite field. I was a little winded at the end.”
Said Anquillare, “Bobby Moretti came up with the money swing. We have been working on it in practice to drive the ball the other way.”
West Haven took a 2-0 lead in the first inning off Fairfield Prep starting pitcher Austin Bonadio. With two outs, Gagne and Moretti singled, setting up Wes Gambardella’s two-run double.
West Haven and Carrano held on to the lead until the fourth inning. With two outs, Fairfield Prep’s Shawn Blake reached on an infield single and Kevin Sinclair doubled. Kevin Stone followed with a single to center, scoring both runners to even the game at two.
That was all the scoring for the Jesuits. Carrano continued to get ahead in the counts and made the Jesuits hit his pitches.
“I wanted to get ahead of the hitters,” Carrano said. “They beat us last time. I just wanted to get off to a quick start. My fastball and slider were working.
“This win was really important for us. There are five games left and we only need to win two. We have that confidence now that we may not have had.”
Anquillare has been pleased with the play of his team in the second part of the season.
“We seem to be playing a little better in the second half,” Anquillare said. “We struggled early. We have a long way to go. Our motto is one game at a time.”
Moretti led the Westies with two of the team’s four hits.
Rally falls Short
West Haven loses to Xavier 5-4
By MIKE MADERA
(May 8, 2012) – The West Haven baseball team has fond memories of Palmer Field in Middletown, winning a state title there a few short years ago. The Westies could have used a little of that success Tuesday afternoon.
Trailing early and never taking the lead, West Haven’s rally fell just short as the Falcons nipped the Westies 5-4. With the loss, West Haven dropped to 5-9 and needs three victories in its last six games to qualify for the state tournament.
"The opportunity is there to win," West Haven coach Mike Anquillare said. "We need to put the whole thing together. When we have hit, we have not pitched well. We have not been consistent."
The Westies fell behind the Falcons 2-0 in the third inning as the Falcons used a two-out rally off West Haven starting pitcher Bobby Moretti. Chris Dibble singled, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on Brett Madore’s single.
Moretti followed by hitting Pat Colavecchio before Matt Albanese drilled a long double to left center, scoring Madore for a 2-0 lead.
West Haven answered immediately as the Westies evened the game in the fourth inning. Cameron Stone led off with a double and moved to third on Tyler Gambardella's single.
West Haven used three straight hits to produce a run as Matt Gagne got the Westies on the board. Moretti helped himself with a ground out to plate another, tying the game at two.
Looking for a shut down inning from Moretti, the Westies never got it. Instead, Xavier scored three times to take a commanding 5-2 lead in the bottom of the fourth inning.
Moretti lost his control and issued a pair of walks at the wrong time. Both Dibble and Madore walked with the bases loaded, giving Xavier a 4-2 lead and ending Moretti’s day.
Gambardella came on in relief and did a solid job the rest of the way. Gambardella allowed only an inherited runner from Moretti to score when he walked Albanese for a 5-2 Xavier lead.
"You can't walk in three runs," Anquillare said. "The bottom line is we did not give ourselves a chance to make a play."
The Westies battled back again in the fifth, getting within a run. Eric Flores led off with a single and two outs later, Gambardella singled.
Gagne’s two-run single brought West Haven within 5-4 but Gagne was stranded when Moretti bounced out to end the rally.
"I thought our defense was pretty good," Anquillare said. "I thought our hitting was weak in the first three innings. We finally came alive in the fourth. He (Connor Landers) struck out six of the first nine batters in the first three innings."
West Haven went down in order in the seventh inning, dropping the team four games under .500.
Xavier’s Connor Landers allowed seven hits, struck out seven and did not walk a batter before being relieved by Ben Criscuolo in the seventh.
Westies edge Hamden
Wes Gambardella delivers game-winner in 2-1 victory
By MIKE MADERA
(May 7, 2012) – The West Haven baseball team had plenty of time to get over last week’s drubbing at the hands of cross-town rival Notre Dame. Five days to be exact.
Needing four wins to qualify for the state tournament, West Haven inched closer with a 2-1 victory over Hamden at Piurek Field Monday afternoon. With the victory, West Haven won its third game in four contests and improved to 5-8 on the season.
“We won three of our last four games,” West Haven coach Mike Anquillare said. “We seem to be turning the tables early on the teams that beat us. We hope to continue that. We want to be playing our best baseball at the end of the season.”
With the game even at one in the seventh, Cameron Stone led off with a double to center and was sacrificed to second by Tyler Gambardella.
Hamden intentionally walked Matt Gagne and Bobby Moretti before Wes Gambardella singled on a 2-2 pitch to center, scoring Stone with the winner.
“It was a big hit by Wes, something we really needed,” Anquillare said.
After leaving the bases loaded in the first and a runner on in the second,West Haven took a 1-0 lead in the third inning. With two outs, Moretti doubled to center, moved to third on Wes Gambardella’s infield single and scored on Alex Palmieri’s single.
“Alex had a big two-out hit,” Anquillare said. “We were looking for that two-out hit all game. We left a ton of runners on base. We did not get the clutch hit.”
Wes Gambardella grounded into a double play with a pair of runners on in the fifth and Eric Flores’ triple to right with two outs in the sixth went for naught when Mike Brand grounded out to end the inning.
Stone dominated for the Westies on the hill, allowing just two hits and striking out seven. Stone’s performance on the hill allowed West Haven to inch closer to the postseason.
“He was dominant,” Anquillare said of Stone. “He wiggled out of trouble a couple of times. He had command of all of his pitches.”
After Hamden scored an unearned run in the second inning, Stone never let the Green Dragons on the board again. Hamden left a runner on base in each of the fourth and fifth innings and Stone got a double play to end the sixth.
“We responded today,” Anquilllare said. “It was a game we needed to win. We left a lot of runners on today but we were able to get the job done.”
Moretti led the West Haven offense with two hits, two walks and a run scored.
Stuck in First
ND scores 6 times in first to defeat Westies 12-0
By MIKE MADERA
WEST HAVEN (May 2, 2012) – It has often been said the first inning can set the tone of the game. Both the West Haven and Notre Dame baseball teams lived this rather quickly Wednesday afternoon.
Scoring six times in the first inning, Notre Dame, ranked No. 2 in the New Haven Register Top 10 poll, cruised to a 12-0 victory over cross-town rival West Haven at Quigley Stadium. The victory allowed the Green Knights to improve to 12-1, while West Haven fell to 4-8.
“We were very patient at the plate,” Notre Dame coach Lou Kessler said. “We went back to basics. We were swinging at hitters’ pitches. Two or three games ago, we were chasing pitches. Now, the hitters seem to be spraying the ball.”
The Green Knights wasted no time setting the tone of the game as the first seven batters reached off West Haven starter Bobby Moretti. Before the inning had ended, 12 batters came to the plate and the Green Knights used five hits, three walks and a West Haven error to score all the runs they would need in support of Gary Flowers.
“It set the tone of the whole game,” West Haven coach Mike Anquillare said of the first inning. “We did not make pitches and we could not get anybody out.”
Jacob DeRosa led off the game with a single to left and Mike Panza followed suit. Greg Zullo immediately put Notre Dame on the board with a single to score DeRosa for a 1-0 lead.
Notre Dame, who swept the season series from the Westies, loaded the bases with a walk by Kyle Lockery. Matt Elia followed by taking a two-strike pitch the opposite way to left for a single to score Panza for a 2-0 lead.
With Moretti clearly struggling, the Westies looked for a big play. When Anthony DeCaprio grounded back to Moretti, the Westies thought they had that play with a potential double play.
Instead, Moretti’s low throw home could not be handled by catcher Eric Flores, allowing Zullo to score for a 3-0 lead. Sophomore Drew Arciuolo, playing for Griffin Garabedian who missed the game due to illness, followed with a single to right, scoring Lockery for a 4-0 lead.
Read the rest of this article in the Milford-Orange Bulletin here
Carrano stifles Sheehan
Senior shuts out Titans as Westies improve to 4-7
By MIKE MADERA
(April 30, 2012) - Starting the season with just two wins in nine games, West Haven baseball coach Mike Anquillare was looking for some changes. Anquillare did not like what he saw in the first half and was hoping for an about face.
Two games later, Anquillare has to be pleased. Avenging losses in the first two games of the season, West Haven has improved to 4-7 on the season.
After defeating Career Friday afternoon, the Westies got even with Sheehan three days later. Behind the pitching of John Carrano and the timely hitting of Bobby Moretti, West Haven defeated the Titans 1-0 Monday afternoon at Piurek Field.
“It was a huge win for us,” Anquillare said. “We talked about it being our second go round against these teams. We talked about getting revenge on some of these losses. We did just that.”
Carrano (1-3) was on his game from the start as he scattered seven hits, struck out two and walked just one Sheehan batter. His effort was needed as Sheehan’s Jim Davitt allowed only three West Haven hits, two coming off the bat of Moretti, walked three and struck out five.
“He pitched great,” Anquillare said of Carrano. “He had good command of everything. He had command of all three pitches. He kept them off stride all game.
“He just stepped up in a big way. When we needed the win, he went out there and got it. In the sixth inning, he took a bullet off his ankle and said he was finishing the game. That’s what you look for; a guy that wants the ball and wants the “W.”
West Haven scored the lone run of the game in the first inning. Stone opened the inning with a single, moved to second on Tyler Gambardella’s sacrifice and scored on Moretti’s single.
The Westies had numerous scoring opportunities off Davitt in the first three innings but never capitalized. With one out in the second, Eric Flores reached on an error, Danny Chambrelli walked and Stone walked to load the bases.
Davitt escaped in impressive style. The Sheehan pitcher struck out Gambardella for the second out and got Matt Gagne on a pop out to end the inning.
“We had our chances,” Anquillare said. “But, give Davitt credit. He got stronger as the game went on.”
Moretti led off the third inning with a double and moved to third when Alex Palmieri reached on a one-out error by Brian Murphy at short. Davitt struck out Nick Price and got Flores on a grounder to third to end the frame.
The rest was up to Carrano. The senior mixed his pitches and worked around seven hits to give West Haven its first winning streak of the year.
The Titans left single runners on base in the first, third and fifth innings before putting together rallies in the final two innings.
With runners on the corners with two outs in the sixth, Carrano got Andrew Mazzone to ground out to end the frame. Carrano sealed the deal in the seventh with a pair of runners in scoring position as he got Matt Haskell on a pop up to Price to end the game.
Rob Sprafke and Mike Colantonio led Sheehan (6-6) with two hits apiece
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
Retired Numbers - Jerry Gambardella (Class of 2000) #21
Congratulations to Matt Gagne, Cameron Stone and Wes Gambardella for being selected to the Southern Connecticut Conference All-Quinnipiac Division Team
Westies crush Career
Avenge season-opening loss with 12-1 win
By MIKE MADERA
(April 27, 2012) – If ever a team needed a victory, it was the West Havenbaseball team. Hitting the low point of the season in a loss to Guilford two days earlier, West Haven broke through against Career.
Scoring seven times in the second inning, West Haven defeated the Panthers 12-1 at Piurek Field. With the win, West Haven improved to 3-7 at the halfway point of the season.
Cameron Stone, coming off a solid victory over Hamden a week earlier, limited Career to just a third inning run and eight hits in the game. Stone struck out 11.
West Haven got all the runs it would need, scoring seven times in the second inning off Career starter Adam Olszyk. Bobby Moretti started the rally with a walk, Wes Gambardella followed with a single and both advanced when Alex Palmieri’s bunt attempt went for a single.
Nick Price got West Haven on the board when he single to center to score Moretti and Eric Flores followed with a double to center to score Wes Gambardella and Palmieri for a 3-0 lead. After Danny Chambrelli struck out, Stone hit into a fielder’s choice at short, allowing Stone to score for a 4-0 lead.
Matt Gagne walked with two outs and Moretti followed with a single to score Flores. Gagne scored the final run of the inning on a fielder’s choice by Gambardella for a 7-0 lead.
Career answered immediately in the third. Joe Tiroletto led off with a triple and scored on Olszyk’s double to cut the deficit to 7-1. Career would not score again as Stone struck out the next three batters.
The Westies took a 9-1 lead with two runs in the fourth inning. Stone led off the inning with a walk, went to third on Tyler Gambardella’s single and scored on Gagne’s ground out. Moretti delivered Tyler Gambardella with a sacrifice fly for the 9-1 lead.
The Westies scored their final three runs in the fifth inning. Stone doubled to left to score Nick Price, Tyler Gambardella singled to score Mike Brand and Stone scored on a passed ball for the 12-1 win.
Stone, Tyler Gambardella and Bobby Moretti each had two hits for West Haven. Stone scored three times and drove in two runs, Moretti drove in three runs, Flores delivered a pair and Nick Price scored twice.
Westies commit 8 errors in loss to Guilford
By MIKE MADERA
(April 26, 2012) – It is not often West Haven coach Mike Anquillare is at a loss for words. Such was the case Wednesday evening after West Haven was buried 16-3 by Guilford at Piurek Field.
Committing eight errors and not putting up much of a fight, West Haven fell to 2-7 on the season. Anquillare’s thoughts were short and to the point immediately afterward.
“I am disappointed,” Anquillare said. “I am speechless. I am completely and utterly disappointed with the way we played today. This is not the type of baseball we practice.”
Things started promising for the Westies as a backdoor pickoff from pitcher John Carrano to Danny Chambrelli at first got the Westies out of a first inning jam.
The second inning was a bit different as John Peters reached on shortstop Matt Gagne’s second error of the game before he was forced at second by Kevin Knapp, who eventually scored for a 1-0 lead.
The game turned in the fourth inning as Guilford scored three times with two outs on two singles and a double to take a 5-0 lead. If the game turned in the fourth, it ended in a sloppy fifth inning for the Westies.
Guilford put the game away in the fifth inning, scoring eight runs for a 13-0 lead. The frame saw the Indians use five singles, two West Haven walks, a passed ball and five West Haven errors to blow the game open off starter John Carrano.
The Westies did not do much offensively, leaving Alex Palmieri stranded at second in the second inning. West Haven finally got on the scoreboard in the fifth inning when Nick Price doubled, went to third on a passed ball and scored on Rick Balzano’s grounder.
With the younger kids batting in the seventh, West Haven pushed across two more runs. Makiem Miller started the rally with a walk and moved to second on Alex Scranton’s grounder. Balzano singled to score Miller before he eventually scored on a Cameron Stone single.
Ryder Miconi and Benjamin Monte each led Guilford with three hits. Monte drove in four runs and scored twice.
Carrano took the loss for West Haven, allowing 13 runs, only four earned, in 4 1/3 innings of work.
Westies blanked by Prep to fall to 2-6
By MIKE MADERA
(April 24, 2012) – If there was one team in the state which was hoping for clear skies Monday afternoon, it was the West Haven baseball team. Coming off a victory which saw the Westies pound 20 hits and score 18 runs against Hamden, coach Mike Anquillare and his team were eager to get back on the field.
Unfortunately for the Westies, Monday’s game was a wash out and Tuesday was no better on the field. West Haven never got the bats going and was blanked by Fairfield Prep 4-0 in Fairfield.
“Our approach to the games is inconsistent,” West Haven coach Mike Anquillare said after his team fell to 2-6. “We have not put together two well played games in a row.”
West Haven hoped to inch closer to the .500 mark Tuesday afternoon by sending Bobby Moretti to the mound. Moretti lasted only three innings, giving up all four Prep runs.
After Moretti allowed two runs in the first and single runs in the second and third innings, Nick Price came in to relieve Moretti and shut the Jesuits out over the final three innings.
“Nick Price pitched well,” Anquillare said.
West Haven never mounted much of a threat with Price’s double the highlight. West Haven finished with six hits in the game off Prep pitchers Brett Young, Kyle Mollo and David Gerics.
Gerics led Fairfield Prep with two hits and a run batted in, while Mike Smeriglio had two hits and scored once.
Westies use 20 hits to pound Hamden 18-1
By MIKE MADERA
(April 20, 2012) - West Haven baseball coasch Mike Anquillare was looking for anything to spark his team. With just one win in the first six games of the season, the Westies were scuffling for a victory.
Friday afternoon in Hamden may have provided the best medicine. Scoring 12 runs in the seventh inning, West Haven rolled to an 18-1 win over Hamden at Hamden High.
“We pitched extremely well,” Anquillare said after his team improved to 2-5. “We were ahead in the counts and mixed our pitches well. Cameron Stone was really on today.
“We finally put a full game together. We hit well, we played well in the field and we hit in the clutch. We played a full seven innings.”
Cameron Stone pitched well for the Westies. Stone, who allowed an unearned run in the sixth inning, allowed four hits, struck out eight and walked three.
“I thought Cameron pitched very well today.”
West Haven took a 1-0 lead in the first inning and never looked back. Tyler Gambardella hit a one-out single and Matt Gagne and Bobby Moretti followed with walks to load the bases. Gambardella scored the first run of the game when Alex Palmieri hit into a fielder’s choice.
The Westies increased the lead to 2-0 in the second inning. Mike Brand started the rally with a single, moved to second on a sacrifice by Eric Flores and scored on the first of three hits by Danny Chambrelli.
The lead increaed to 4-0 in the fourth inning. With two outs, Stone singled, stole second and scored on Gambardella’s single. Gagne and Moretti followed with singles for a 4-0 lead.
After Moretti delivered a pair of runs in the sixth inning with a double, the Westies exploded in the seventh inning. The Westies sent 17 batters to the plate to ice the contest.
“We got timely hits today,” Anquillare said. “We got two-out hits. We lacked that the last couple of games.”
The Westies’ big rally in the seventh went through two Hamden pitchers. Stone doubled in a pair, Moretti tripled in two and Gagne delivered two with a single.
Moretti led the offense with four hits and five runs batted in. Gambardella had four hits and Stone and Chambrelli each had three.
Getting Late Early
Westies fall to Xavier to drop to 1-5
By MIKE MADERA
(April 18, 2012) – Off to a slow start to the 2012 season, the West Haven baseball team was looking to get on track. With division contests against Notre Dame, Xavier and Hamden, the Westies felt this was a week to turn the season around.
Through two games, things have not gone as planned. After falling to Notre Dame in the home opener, the Westies were thumped by Xavier, 10-0, Wednesday afternoon at Piurek Field.
The loss leaves the Westies reeling at 1-5 overall and winless in the Quinnipiac Division. West Haven, which had hoped to turn the season around with at least two wins this week, will look to salvage the week Friday afternoon as the Westies travel to play Hamden.
“It’s been a tough start,” West Haven coach Mike Anquillare said. “We just have to keep working hard and turn things around.”
Coming off a lethargic loss against Notre Dame, the Westies needed a big start against Xavier. Unfortunately for West Haven, it was the Falcons who had the quick start, scoring twice in the first inning.
The Falcons never looked back as they added four more runs in each of the fourth and sixth innings to end any hopes of a West Haven comeback.
“They got the two early runs and we were back on our heels,” Anquillare said. “We did not rebound at all. They got the two runs on balls hit in the gap. What hurt us was the fourth inning, they scored their runs because we gave them five outs.”
The Westies, who have been struggling of late to score, could not crack the scoreboard against Xavier starter Connor Landers. The Xavier pitcher went six innings, striking out four and not allowing a run. Ben Criscuolo pitched a scoreless seventh to preserve the three-hit shutout.
“Our offense, which was very good in the beginning of the season, has gone silent,” Anquillare said. “We have played so poorly on defense, we are bringing our gloves into our at bats. We have been down early.”
The Westies threatened only once when Nick Price was hit by a pitch in the fourth inning and Mike Brand reached. The Westies could not get a big hit and the Falcons preserved the shutout.
Bobby Moretti, Alex Palmieri and Matt Gagne had the three West Havenhits.
Matt Albanese led the Falcons with three hits and three runs batted in, while Brett Madore had two hits and drove in a run. Ryan Verdi added two hits and Joe Violette drove in a pair.
Price went 5 1/3 innings, striking out one batter. Alex Soto threw 1 1/3 innings for the Westies.
“I thought he (Price) threw the ball well the first couple of innings,” Anquillare said. “He was not helped by his defense. He got the ball up and they started to hit him.”
Westies Fall to Notre Dame
WH drops to 1-4 with loss
By MIKE MADERA
WEST HAVEN (April 16, 2012) - The Notre Dame baseball team came in to Monday afternoon’s contest with rival West Haven undefeated and the top-ranked team in the New Haven Register Top 10 poll. The Green Knights were well aware of the battle they would get from their rivals.
Scoring four times in the third inning, the Green Knights put the game away early and defeated the Westies 7-2 at Piurek Field. With the win, Notre Dame remained perfect at 6-0, while West Haven fell to 1-4.
“We knew we were going to get a battle from West Haven,” Notre Dame coach Lou Kessler said. “West Haven has not gotten off to the start they wanted but we knew they would battle. They are going to get better.
“We are off to a good start. In this conference, every game is a big game. These kids come in expecting to win every game they play. They play with that kind of confidence. They take every game like it is their last.”
Leading 1-0 when Brandon Wynne scored on a wild pitch by West Haven starter John Carrano in the second inning, the Green Knights put the game away in the third inning.
Notre Dame’s starting pitcher Greg Zullo opened the frame with a walk, moved to second on a wild pitch and third on a single by Mike Panza. Jacob DeRosa followed with a single to center to sore Zullo for a 2-0 lead. A sacrifice by Wynne put a pair of runners in scoring position for Kyle Lockery.
Lockery, the seventh hitter in the order, delivered as his two-out single scored Panza and DeRosa for a 4-0 lead.Notre Dame increased the lead to 5-0 after singles by Matt Elia and Brian Rhone were followed by Griffin Garabedian reaching on an error.
“There is a reason he is the the seven hole,” Kessler said of Lockery. “He has been doing it all year for us. He has been hitting the ball and is confident in that spot. We were thinking about tinkering with the lineup but you don’t do that when you are winning.”
The third inning epitomized West Haven’s season so far as the Westies have not made big pitches or come up with big plays.
“We don’t throw enough strikes and we don’t make rhe plays we need to make,” West Haven coach Mike Anquillare said. “I am absolutely disappointed with this start. I am disappointed with the defense. Going into the season, our strength was our pitching and defense. That has not been the case.”
The Green Knights continued to pull away with single runs in the fourth and fifth innings. In the fourth, Zullo scored on a double to left by DeRosa after Zullo led off the inning with a walk against relief pitcher Alex Soto.
West Haven answered in the bottom of the inning as Bobby Moretti and Wes Gambardella opened with singles off Zullo. After Alex Palmieri hit into a double play, Nick Price singled to left to score Moretti.
Zullo allowed only six hits in six innings of work. While Zullo only struck out three batters, West Haven did not hit many balls hard.
“I just worked on throwing strikes,” Zullo said. “We have one goal and that is to get back to the finals like we did last year. We have to work hard.”
Notre Dame increased its lead to 7-1 in the fifth inning. Elia led off with a double off Soto and scored when Rhone followed with a single.
West Haven scored its final run in the fifth inning as Tyler Gambardella reached on Panza’s error at short and scored on a single to center by Matt Gagne. Kessler was not happy with his defense, which committed four errors in the game.
“We have been sloppy all year,” Kessler said. “Zullo was on again but we made errors again. We are averaging three or four errors a game. We have to tighten up our defense.
“Greg did a nice job throwing strikes and then (Michael) Terzi at the end. We are not going to win games in the state tournament kicking the ball around like we have.”
Lockery led the Green Knights with three hits and two runs batted in. DeRosa had a pair of hits and drove in two, while Elia also had a pair of hits.
“Right now, we are playing solid baseball,” Elia said. “We are working hard and keeping each other up. We have to keep working hard. Our focus is one game at a time and to get back to where we were last year.”
Moretti led the West Haven offense with two hits.
Westies fall to 1-3 with loss to Tigers
By MIKE MADERA
(April 13, 2012) – The start of the 2012 season has been anything but what the West Haven baseball team was expecting. Hoping to get off to a quick start, the Westies have suffered three tough losses in their first four games.
The latest loss came Friday afternoon in Madison when West Haven fell to Hand, 3-1. With the loss, West Haven fell to 1-3 early in the season.
“It is a disappointing start,” West Haven coach Mike Anquillare said. “We felt we gave away games in the first couple of games. In this one, their kid (Jarrett Rennie) was good on the mound.”
Hand pitcher Jarrett Rennie escaped trouble in a few key spots and West Haven never got the big hit. That trend started early in the game.
West Haven failed to produce in the second inning as Matt Gagne and Bobby Moretti led off with singles and advanced on a sacrifice by Alex Palmieri. Gagne was thrown out at home trying to score on a passed ball and Nick Price struck out to end the frame.
The biggest missed opportunity for the Westies may have come in the fourth inning with the game scoreless.
Cameron Stone and Gagne led off the inning with singles, but would go no further. Rennie got Moretti on a pop pout and Palmieri and Price on ground balls to end the inning.
“I thought we played well,” Anquillare said. “We played pretty well. We had nine hits but only scored one run. We just did not get the runs in when we had a chance. We did not get the big hit.”
The Tigers bounced back in the bottom of the inning to score a pair of runs. A sacrifice fly by Richard Spencer scored one run and a passed ball scored another. Hand then used the same formula, two singles, a stolen base and a sacrifice fly, in the fifth inning for a 3-0 lead.
West Haven finally got on the scoreboard in the sixth inning. Wes Gambardella led off of with a single but consecutive force outs put Gagne on first.
Moretti followed with a single and Palmieri doubled to score Gagne. Moretti, however, was thrown out at the plate to end the inning as the Westies failed to inch closer.
West Haven had one final scoring opportunity in the seventh as Price opened the inning with a single. But, Rennie got the next three outs on fly balls to end the contest.
“I am never pleased with a loss,” Anquillare said. “We swung the bats well. We just didn’t get the clutch hits. That was the thing.”
Stone pitched well for West Haven, going six innings, allowing five hits and striking out 11.
“I thought Cameron threw the ball well,” Anquillare said. “He struck out eleven guys and only allowed five hits. That usually gets it done. They got their hits and sacrifice flies with runners on.”
West Haven looks to get back on track Monday afternoon at 3:45 p.m. against cross-town rival Notre Dame.
Westies Pick Up First Win
Soto leads WH over Cross
By MIKE MADERA
(April 9, 2012) – After falling in the first two games of the season in the bottom of the seventh inning, the West Haven baseball team decided to do something about it. Scoring three times in the top of the seventh inning, the Westies used the insurance runs to post an 8-1 victory over Wilbur Cross inNew Haven Monday afternoon.
The win was West Haven's first of the season and helped the Westies improve to 1-2.
"It was a win we very much needed," West Haven coach Mike Anquillare said. "It was a win we needed to get back on track."
Alex Soto came up big on the hill for the Westies. After allowing an unearned run in the first inning to even the game at one, Soto did not allow another run over the final six innings. Soto tossed a complete game, allowing five hits and striking out seven.
"I thought he had command of all his pitches," Anquillare said of Soto. "He was ahead in the counts and gave us a solid performance in a game we needed."
West Haven wasted no time getting on the scoreboard as Tyler Gambardella led off the game with a single and moved to second on a two-out walk to Matt Gagne. Bobby Moretti drove in Gambardella with a single for a 1-0 lead.
With the game even at one in the third inning, West Haven scored three times with two outs to take the lead for good.
Cameron Stone started the rally with a walk, stole second and moved to third on a wild pitch. Stone would score on Gagne's single for a 2-1 lead.
Alex Palmieri reached on an error to score Gagne and put runners on the corners, before a double steal allowed Moretti to score for a 4-1 lead.
A single by Stone drove in Wes Gambardella, who had tripled in the fifth, for a 5-1 lead. West Haven put the game away with three more runs in the seventh.
Stone again was in the middle of the rally as he reached on an error, stole second and scored on a single by Moretti. After Moretti advanced on a wild pitch, Nick Price delivered a double for a 7-1 lead. Price scored on a single by Eric Flores for the 8-1 final.
"We made contact with the ball," Anquillare said. "We swung the bats really well. The key was we did a lot of two-out hitting. We scored six runs with two outs. We got some clutch hits."
Moretti led the offense with two hits and two runs batted in and Wes Gambardella added a triple.
Westies suffer second straight Heartbreaker
Sheehan scores three in seventh to beat Westies
By Mike Madera
(April 5, 2012) - After blowing a two-run lead in a season-opening loss to Career, the best thing for the West Haven baseball team was to get right back on the field. One day later, the Westies found themselves in the same situation on the road against Sheehan.
Looking to pick up their first win of the year, the Westies must have thought someone hit the rewind button. West Haven once again failed to close out the game.
Three West Haven errors in the seventh inning led to three Titan runs as Sheehan left West Haven on the field with a 7-6 victory at Sheehan High.
“Basically, it’s been a lack of execution in the last two innings of the two games which has cost us,” West Haven coach Mike Anquillare said. “The game is pitching and defense. We haven’t done either well.”
For Sheehan, the win was the second consecutive contest the Titans won in the late innings. After opening the year with a win over Guilford, Sheehan pulled out another comeback win.
“These are two character-building wins,” Sheehan coach Matt Altieri said. “Wins like this can give teams a lot of confidence. It is good to win these close games. Some games go the other way. It is good to win games like this. It gives us confidence when we fall behind three or four runs.”
Trailing 6-4 in the seventh inning, the Titans started a rally when Mike Colantonio led off with a single. James Davitt reached on Alex Palmieri’s error at third and Derek Allen followed with a grounder to second. West Haven’s Cameron Stone was unable to turn the double play, leaving runners on the corners for the Titans with one out.
Brian Murphy followed with a fly ball to right for what looked to be the second out, but Wes Gambardella dropped the ball, scoring Colantonio to cut the deficit to 6-5. West Haven pitcher John Carrano issued a walk to load the bases before another West Haven error allowed Sheehan to tie the game at six.
Read the rest of this article in the Milford-Orange Bulletin here
Note: West Haven suffered another loss as, according to Anquillare, Tom Spencer will miss the remainder of the season with a knee injury which will require surgery.
Mistakes cost Westies in Opener
Career leaves Westies on field with three runs in seventh
By MIKE MADERA
(April 4, 2012) – To say this was not the start West Haven coach Mike Anquillare was looking for would be an understatement. After playing disciplined and fundamental baseball during the preseason scrimmages,West Haven looked nothing like the team Anquillare saw these past few weeks.
In the end, poor decisions on the base paths and a lack of control on the mound were too much for the Westies to overcome. The end result was Career scoring three times in the bottom of the seventh inning to leave West Haven on the field with a 7-6 Career victory in the season opener for both teams.
“Undisciplined baseball is what we played today,” Anquillare said after his team fell to 0-1. “It is disappointing because we were not fundamentally sound today. We played very timid.
“I thought we were extremely tight. We played the whole game tight. We went away from the fundamental things we worked on. We seemed to forget all that.”
Despite not playing the type of baseball the team showed in the preseason,West Haven was in position to open the season with a victory when Bobby Moretti’s single in the top of the seventh scored Cameron Stone for a 6-4 lead.
Everything fell apart in the bottom of the inning. Moretti could not find the plate and walked the first three batters. A wild pitch forced in a run and Anquillare turned to John Carrano to get out of the jam.
Career never let that happen. A single tied the game and put runners on the corners before Carrano got an out. After a walk loaded the bases, a grounder to short by Greg Johnson was thrown wide of the plate by Gagne, allowing Eric Colon to score the winning run.
“You have to credit them,” Anquillare said of Career. “They put the bat on the ball and we did not execute at all.”
West Haven jumped out of the gates quickly, taking a 1-0 lead in the first inning. With two outs, Stone walked and went to third on Gagne’s single to right. Gagne scored on an overthrow for a 1-0 lead.
The Panthers bounced right back in the bottom of the inning with two runs off Stone to take a 2-1 lead. Career’s resiliency and the ability to hang around would prove costly in the end for West Haven.
“It was a game that had that kind of feel,” Anquillare said. “They never went away.”
West Haven took a 3-2 lead in the fourth with a pair of runs. Gagne led off with a single but was forced at second when Spencer’s bunt was back to pitcher Nick Nieves. Alex Palmieri followed with a double to score Spencer and Palmieri scored on Moretti’s double.
After Career evened the game with a run in the bottom of the inning, West Haven took a 5-3 lead in the fifth. Wes Gambardella started the rally with a walk and advanced on Gagne’s one-out single. Spencer singled to score Wes Gambardella and Palmieri added a single to score Gagne for a 5-3 advantage.
“I thought Matt Gagne swung the bat really well,” Anquillare said after Gagne finished with three hits. “Alex Palmieri swung the bat well as did Bobby Moretti.
“It was the mental mistakes and the poor base running. We had pretty good swings. We put together nine hits and had timely hitting. It was probably the only part of the game we did decently. The pitching was not good, the defense was not good and the base running was not good. The only part of the game we did a decent with was the hitting. That is not enough.”
Career had eight hits in five innings off Stone and finished with 12 hits in the game.
“I thought we did not pitch that well today on the whole,” Anquillare said. “You have to throw strikes. I have been saying pitching and defense are what we are going to be about. We did not pitch well enough today.”
Moretti and Palmieri each finished with two hits and two runs batted in.
Westies Ready to Go
Pitching and defense keys to 2012
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue - The West Haven baseball team has been waiting ten months to get back on the field. A second round loss to Amity in last year’s state tournament did not sit well with the team.
Gone are the likes of Mike Binkowski, J.P. Withington and Eric Stone due to graduation. Along with Jeremy Soule, Stone was the ace of the staff last season and that honor won’t have to go too far.
If the Westies are going to be successful in 2012, pitching and defense will be the keys. Junior Cameron Stone will anchor the staff this season as he comes off a successful sophomore campaign.
West Haven coach Mike Anquillare threw Cameron Stone into the fire last season and the pitcher responded in fine fashion. Anquillare will expect bigger things from one of his aces this season.
Stone, 2-1 last season with a 2.95 earned run average, will anchor a staff which will also include seniors John Carrano and Alex Soto, juniors Bobby Moretti (3-2, 23 strikeouts in 30 innings last season) and Tyler Gambardella and sophomore Nick Price. Carrano and Soto pitched very well over the summer in American Legion action and will need to do the same this season. Moretti has a high octane fastball and commands a number of pitches.
“We have some experience coming back, but not a lot of innings,” Anquillare said of his staff. “With Eric Stone and Jeremy Soule gone, the pitching coming back does not have that many innings.
“Pitching and defense will be the key. We have to play the little parts of the game. We have to run the bases well. We need to be fundamenatlly sound.”
Defensively, the Westies will need to make the plays and not give any extra outs. With senior co-captain Eric Flores anchoring the pitching staff behind the plate, the team looks to be solid behind the mound as well.
Senior Alex Palmieri plays the hot corner at third and senior co-captain Matt Gagne will play shortstop. Gagne will pair up with a different double play partner as Stone will play second when not on the hill and senior Dan Chambrelli will play the middle position when Stone pitches. Chambrelli will also play first along with Price and Moretti.
“We have a lot of returning players so there are not a lot of surprises,” Anquillare said.“A nice transition has been Danny Chambrelli. He has made the move from second to first nicely. He has been a nice added addition to the three starters in the infield.”
Junior Tyler Gambardella will anchor the outfield in center with seniors Tom Spencer in left and Wes Gambardella in right.
“We have played really well defensively,” Anquillare said. “We have made the plays. We have done a nice job with that.”
Offensively, the Westies will need to have the table set at the top of the order for the big bats to follow. Tyler Gambardella, Gagne, Stone, Wes Gambardella and Spencer will have to do plenty of damage early in the lineup to set the tone for the remainder of the order.
“We are going to have to play some small ball,” Anquillare said. “We have our top hitters coming back in Wes Gambardella, Tom Spencer, Matt Gagne and Cameron Stone. We have to be able to produce runs.
“We are going to run the bases. We have stolen a lot of bases. We have done the little things. We will need to play the whole game.”
Wes Gambardella led the team in hitting last season with a .386 average, 27 hits, eight doubles and 20 runs scored. Spencer had 26 hits and 20 runs batted in, Moretti added 20 hits and drove in 22 runs, while Gagne had 23 hits, three triples, 25 runs scored, a .500 on base percentage and a .324 batting average.
Anquillare also has some young prospects which will see plenty of time at the junior varsity level and could see time at the varsity level. Those players include juniors Matt Olenick (first base) and Zac Clifford (outfield) and sophomores Mike Brand (infield), Makiem Miller (center field), Jim Morrissey (right field), Gary Donovan (infield) and Alex Scranton (outfield).
With a nice mix returning and the team chemistry solid, Anquillare feels this can be a nice year for the Westies.
“Our goals are to make trhe state tournament and the SCC tournament in that order,”Anquillare said. “I have liked the team chemistry so far. We have played pretty well and the defense has been excellent. We will pride ourselves as a team on pitching and defense.
“Our two captains (Gagne and Flores) have been great choices. They are two leaders. Ever since they were elected captains about a week agao, they have turned it up a notch. Both have led by example on the field.”
West Haven opens the season Wednesday, April 4 at 3:45 p.m. at Career. After four contests on the road to open the season, the Westies will open the home season Monday, April 16 against cross-town rival Notre Dame at 3:45 p.m.