THE HOME OF WEST HAVEN SPORTS
Ready to Go
WH looking for postseason play
By MIKE MADERA
(April 11, 2021) - So much has changed since the West Haven baseball team last set foot on the diamond in 2019. Two years have past and a new cast of players will be counted on for a successful season.
Those players will be led by a solid group of upperclassmen who will be expected to take West Haven where it belongs and that is making a deep run into the postseason.
“My goal is to have a winning season,” West Haven coach Ron Luneau said. “We want to make an impact in both tournaments. We want to play in the SCC tournament. To do that, we have to be able to throw strikes, make plays in the field, and get those timely hits.”
Isiah Wyatt and the Westies are ready for the 2021 season. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Leading the way for the Westies will be senior captains Tyler Jones and Hunter Axelrod. Jones will anchor the infield at shortstop, while Axelrod will play left. Both captains will also pitch, with Axelrod slotting in the starting rotation and Jones looking to see time in relief.
The infield for the Westies will mainly see senior Isiah Wyatt at first, junior Tyler DeSanty at second, and a mix of juniors Dylan Supan and Gianni Gambardella at third. Gambardella will open the season as the team’s ace, with Supan the second man up in the rotation. Freshman Ray Gilbert may also see some time at the hot corner for West Haven.
West Haven also has an experienced outfield. Leading the way in center will be senior Dan Izzo, who came over from Notre Dame-Fairfield. Axelrod will play left when not on the mound, while senior Mike Boni will be in right.
“As a group, this is the best outfield I have had,” Luneau said.
Senior Anthony Rubin will start behind the plate, while junior Corey Coggins will also see time catching.
Junior Jake Romano will also see time on the pitcher’s mound, while Izzo may best slot in as the team’s closer.
“I like this group of kids,” Luneau said. “They have all played with me since their freshmen or sophomore years. This group of kids likes each other. They have fun and they get their work done. For us, the keys will be getting timely hits, solid pitching and solid defense.”
While West Haven looks to be solid pitching and defensively, the offense may be the best the team has had in years. From top to bottom, Luneau has players who can put the ball in play, which will be the key against some high-scoring teams on the schedule.
“Izzo has been a really good pick up for us,” Luneau said as he enters his seventh year at the helm of the Westies. “He will make a big difference in our team. He is a good outfielder, pitches well, and is very athletic. Gianni (Gambardella) has started since he was a freshman. We expect big things out of him batting, pitching, and in the field.”
With a lineup which looks to see Jones starting things off and followed by Izzo, Gambardella and Boni, the top half is solid. Wyatt and Axelrod should follow, with Supan, Rubin and DeSanty having key at bats in the lower half of the order.“This team can possibly be one of the best offensive teams we have had here since my first year,” Luneau said. “This group is similar to that group in terms of hitting the ball. We have the potential to be like that. We have the potential to hit throughout the lineup.”
Hand tops Westies
WH falls in opener 5-1
By MIKE MADERA
(April 12, 2021) - The West Haven baseball team was looking to get off to a good start in the 2021 season. Unable to string together many hits, West Haven fell to Hand-Madison 5-1 in the season opener for both teams Monday afternoon at Piurek Field in West Haven.
The Westies were held to just six hits in the game, two coming off the bat of Corey Coggins. The West Haven designated hitter's second hit drove in the only run of the game in the seventh inning with West Haven down 5-0.
Dan Izzo with a base hit against Hand, April 12, 2021. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
The lack of offense and four errors hurt West Haven starter Gianni Gambardella as Gambardella allowed just five hits and three runs, two of which were earned, through six innings. Gambardella struck out eight and walked two in the loss.
Hunter Axelrod pitched the seventh, allowing two hits and two runs (one earned), while walking one and striking out one.
West Haven's Mike Boni walked with two outs in the first, but was left stranded. Coggins singled with one out in the third, but was picked off first, before Dan Izzo got into scoring position in the fourth when he singled and moved to second on a fielder's choice by Boni.
With two outs, Isiah Wyatt singled to left to put runners on the corners, but a fly out to right by Anthony Rubin ended the threat.
The Westies threatened again in the sixth, but could not get the timely hit. After Tyler Jones walked, Izzo grounded into a fielder's choice to force out Jones. Gambardella singled to short to put a pair of runners on, but Wyatt grounded out to end the inning.
West Haven finally got on the board in the seventh as Ray Gilbert singled to lead off the inning, stole second, and scored on a single by Coggins.
Westies fall to Xavier
WH drops to 0-2 with 5-1 loss
By MIKE MADERA
(April 12, 2021) - After a slow start in the season opener, the West Haven baseball team was looking to pick up its first victory of the year Wednesday afternoon when the Westies traveled to play Xavier at Palmer Field in Middletown.
While the Westies were looking for their initial win of the season, they again could not get a clutch hit in a 5-1 loss to the Falcons. With the loss, West Haven fell to 0-2 on the season.
Dylan Supan took the loss for West Haven on the mound. The junior tossed five innings, allowing four runs, one of which was unearned. Supan allowed six hits, struck out two, and did not walk a batter.
West Haven picked up just four hits in the game, singles by Dan Izzo, Tyler Jones, and Isiah Wyatt, and a double by Gianni Gambardella.
West Haven’s offensive struggles began right from the start as Izzo opened the game with a single, stole second with two outs, but was left stranded in scoring position.
After going down quietly in both the second and third innings, Gambardella laced a one-out double for West Haven in the fourth, but did not advance.
Walks to Tyler DeSanty and Hunter Axelrod in the fifth had a pair of runners on, but they also were left stranded as a ground out ended the frame.
Trailing 4-1, West Haven finally got on the board in the sixth. Jones led off with a single to center, stole second with two outs, and scored on a single to right by Wyatt. West Haven could not get closer as the next four batters were retired in order to end the contest.
While West Haven struggled, Xavier capitalized on its opportunities. A hit batter, stolen base, and ground out produced a run in the first, while a one-out double followed by a run-scoring single had the Falcons on top 2-0 in the second.
The Falcons extended the lead to three runs in the third with another run, capped by a run-scoring single after a wild pitch and stolen base put a runner in scoring position.
Gambardella leads Westies
Junior dominant in 5-0 win over Law
By MIKE MADERA
(April 17, 2021) - After opening the season with a pair of losses, the West Haven baseball team is in the win column. Behind the 2-hit pitching of Gianni Gambardella, and two hits from Dan Izzo, West Haven topped Jonathan Law 5-0 in Milford Saturday afternoon.
Gambardella dominated from the start, tossing a complete game, The West Haven junior struck out five and did not walk a batter in the win.
Gianni Gambardella against Jonathan Law, April 17, 2021. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
With neither team scoring in the first two innings, West Haven broke the scoreless tie with two runs in the third inning. The Westies added one more run in the fifth, and two in the sixth.
West Haven got going in the third inning when Izzo walked, Jones singled, and Gambardella reached on an error to score Izzo. With runners on the corners, Isiah Wyatt reached on an error to score Jones for a 2-0 advantage.
The Westies took a 3-0 lead in the fifth as Hunter Axelrod walked, Izzo singled to send Axelrod to third, and Jones produced a run by scoring Axelrod with a sacrifice fly to center.
West Haven put the game away with two more runs in the sixth. Boni and Anthony Rubin opened the inning with singles to put runners on the corners, before an attempted pick off by Law was mishandled, giving West Haven a 4-0 lead. K.J. Harp pinch-ran for Rubin and scored on a Law error for the final West Haven run.
Westies top Hillhouse/Career 8-2
By MIKE MADERA
(April 19, 2021) - After opening the season with a pair of losses, the West Haven baseball team has quickly gotten back to .500. Behind its biggest offensive attack of the young season with 11 hits, including two apiece from Dan Izzo, Tyler Jones and Gianni Gambardella, West Haven pulled away for an 8-2 victory over Hillhouse Career in New Haven Monday afternoon.
Hunter Axelrod tossed the first five innings, allowing two unearned runs and two hits, while striking out six and walking two. Izzo closed the contest, needing just 16 pitches to get through the final two scoreless innings.
Izzo, Jones and Gambardella loaded up the of the lineup as Gambardella also drove in a pair of runs and scored once, Jones scored twice and drove in a run, while Izzo also scored twice.
Trailing 1-0, West Haven took the lead for good with two runs in the third inning with a two-out rally. Izzo walked and scored on a double to right by Jones, before Gambardella singled to score Jones for a 2-1 advantage.
The Westies increased the lead to 3-1 in the fourth as another two-out rally produced the third West Haven run. Tyler DeSanty started the rally with a single, Dylan Supan walked, and with runners on the corners, DeSanty scored as part of a double steal with Supan.
Hillhouse/Career scored an unearned run in the fourth to get within a run, but West Haven pulled away with three more runs in the fifth.
Izzo, Jones, and Gambardella singled to load the bases, Before Mike Boni singled to right to score Jones. With the bases loaded, Anthony Rubin walked to force in Gambardella, before Supan walked to force in the third run of the inning.
West Haven capped the scoring with single runs in the sixth and seventh. Gambardella’s sacrifice fly produced a run in the sixth, before Supan doubled to score the final run in the seventh.
Three in a Row
Gambardella, Boni lead WH past Sheehan
By MIKE MADERA
(April 23, 2021) - The West Haven baseball team is above the .500 mark. After opening the season with two straight losses, West Haven has rebounded to win its next three games, improving to 3-2 on the year.
West Haven’s latest win came Friday afternoon in an 8-1 victory over Sheehan in Wallingford. Junior Gianni Gambardella went the distance on the hill, allowing seven hits, while striking out ten in the win.
Mike Boni led West Haven with three hits, while Tyler Jones and Dylan Supan each had two hits. Boni drove in three runs, Hunter Axelrod knocked in two, and Gambardella scored twice.
West Haven took a 1-0 lead in the third as Jones hit a two-out double to right and scored on Gambardella’s single.
After leaving Dylan Supan, who had singled, stranded in the fourth, West Haven took a 2-0 lead in the fifth as Boni doubled with two outs to score Gambardella.
Leading 2-1 in the seventh, West Haven broke the contest open with six runs. Axelrod led off with a walk, Izzo singled, and both advanced to scoring position on a grounder by Jones. After Gambardella was intentionally walked to load the bases, Boni singled to score Axelrod and Izzo for a 4-1 advantage.
Rubin was hit by a pitch to load the bases, before Ray Gilbert singled to left to score Gambardella. A sacrifice fly by Supan scored Boni, before Axelrod doubled in a pair for an 8-1 lead.
WH tops Foran
Gambardella, Jones lead Westies
By MIKE MADERA
(April 26, 2021) - After losing the first its first two games of the season, the West Haven baseball team needed to find its way. That way has produced four consecutive victories.
West Haven’s latest victory came in Milford Monday afternoon when the Westies battled to a 3-1 victory over Foran. With the victory, West Haven improved to 4-2 on the year.
Tyler Jones and Gianni Gambardella led the Westies with two hits apiece, Mike Boni drove in a pair of runs, and Jake Romano knocked in another.
Hunter Axelrod tossed five innings of six-hit ball, allowing one earned run, while walking four and striking out four. Dan Izzo pitched the final two innings, walking two and striking out four.
West Haven took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Jones singled to center and Gambardella singled to left to put runners on the corners with one out. Boni followed with a single to right to score Jones, but West Haven did not push across another run despite loading the bases.
The Westies increased the lead to 2-0 in the fourth as Dylan Supan doubled to left with two outs and Romano singled to center to plate Supan.
Foran cut the deficit to 2-1 in the bottom of the inning, but the Lions were not able to take the lead.West Haven added an insurance run in the seventh when Boni grounded into a fielder’s choice to score Izzo.
Supan no-hits Guilford
Junior leads WH to fifth straight victory
By MIKE MADERA
(April 27, 2021) - West Haven junior Dylan Supan has been playing well during his team's recent winning streak. Supan decided to up his play to yet another level Tuesday afternoon.
Needing just 75 pitches, Supan tossed a no-hitter as West Haven defeated Guilford 11-0 in a game stopped after six innings. Supan hit two batters and had West Haven make three errors behind him, but the junior pitcher pitched with relative ease, tossing 46 strikes in his complete-game effort.
Dylan Supan tossed a no-hitter against Guilford, April 27, 2021.Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
“He (Supan) had the game of his career,” West Haven coach Ron Luneau said. “How many people can say they threw a no-hitter and drove in four runs? He is a solid pitcher who throws strikes. He is always around the zone.”
Supan also starred at the plate where he had two hits, drove in four runs and scored once as well. Supan led an 11-hit attack which also saw Mike Boni finish with three hits and four runs batted in, and Dan Izzo also had a pair of hits. Izzo, Gianni Gambardella, and Jake Romano each scored twice.
The Westies used a pair of big innings to win their fifth game in a row after starting the season with a pair of losses. West Haven (5-2) scored six times in the second, once in the third, and four more in the sixth to end the game.
“I think in the beginning of the season, we ran into two really good teams,” Luneau said. “I think our bats were slow to come around. They have definitely warmed up the last couple of games.”
Ray Gilbert started the second inning rally with a double to right, Jake Romano followed with a single to put runners on the corners, and Supan singled to center for a 1-0 lead. With the bases loaded, Izzo singled to left to score Romano. With two outs, Gambardella walked to force in Supan, and Boni followed with a bases-clearing double, scoring Hunter Axelrod, Izzo and Gambardella.
West Haven used a two-out rally in the third to take a 7-0 lead as Tyler DeSanty and Axelrod singled, before DeSanty scored on an error.
The Westies ended the game in the sixth as Izzo led off with a single, Gambardella walked, and Boni singled to right to score Izzo. With two outs, Romano walked to load the bases and Supan ended the game with a bases-clearing double to left, scoring Gambardella, Boni and Romano.
Supan retired the first 11 batters of the game, before Guilford had a batter reach on an error with two outs in the fourth.
Supan worked around West Haven's third error in the fifth by getting a double play ball, before retiring the final three batters in succession in the sixth after walking the first two batters of the frame.
Westies top ND
Gambardella leads WH to 3-0 victory
By MIKE MADERA
(April 28, 2021) - WEST HAVEN – It has been two years since the rivals from West Haven have met on the baseball diamond. While plenty has changed in that time, one thing remains the same as the rivalry lives on.
With both teams picking up their play of late, West Haven winners of five straight coming into the contest and the Green Knights winners of three of their last four, the intensity was certain to be present in the first meeting of the year between the two teams.
When all was said and done, it was West Haven which took home the initial meeting of the two teams with a 3-0 victory over the Green Knights at Piurek Field in West Haven Wednesday afternoon.
West Haven junior pitcher Gianni Gambardella continued to impress with his third victory of the year. Gambardella needed just 83 pitches, 62 of which were strikes, to toss a complete-game two-hitter, striking out eight and walking just one batter.
Gianni Gambardella tossed a two-hitter against Notre Dame, April 28, 2021. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
“He is turning out to be not a good, but a great pitcher,” West Haven coach Ron Luneau said of Gambardella. “He makes it that much easier for us to play defense when you are getting nine or ten strikeouts a game as opposed to two or three. The last person that did that was Tom Lawrence in 2009 and you saw what happened there (state champions).”
West Haven came into the contest scoring 35 runs in their last five games, while the pitching allowed just four runs in that same time frame with a pair of shutouts. The total now stands at 38 runs and four against in what has been an impressive six-game winning streak for West Haven since starting the season with losses against Hand and Xavier.
Gambardella’s gem, in which he faced just 24 batters, followed a no-hitter by junior Dylan Supan against Guilford yesterday in another West Haven victory.
“Everyone is producing,” Gambardella said. “Everyone is getting hits and pitching well. We have picked it up.”
While West Haven improved to 6-2, Notre Dame fell to 4-4 after losing its second straight contest. The Green Knights had limited scoring opportunities in the game, but when they did, Gambardella shut the door.
Notre Dame had a chance to get on the board first when Kevin Milewski led off the second with a walk, moved to second on a sacrifice and third on a ground out. Gambardella got a strikeout to end the inning.
“I was just throwing the ball outside,” Gambardella said. “I saw it was there early on and kept going there. My defense made plays behind me. It was a good win for us.”
West Haven gave Gambardella all the run support he would need with three runs in the third inning off Notre Dame starter Nick Hunkele.
Hunter Axelrod led off with a walk, moved to second on a sacrifice by Dan Izzo and scored on a double to right by Tyler Jones. Gambardella followed with a double to left to score Jones, and freshman Ray Gilbert singled to center with two outs to score Gambardella for a 3-0 advantage.
“It was big for us to get those runs early,” Jones said. “It was great to get the lead and get ahead. We played with confidence.
“We started slow, but we have been working on our hitting. We have been working hard. We have been able to put the ball in play. We have been hitting well and our pitching has been dominant.”
The Green Knights had another opportunity to get on the scoreboard in the fifth as Justin Coppola led off with a single to right, and Mitchell Riccio was hit by a pitch with one out, but Gambardella got a double play ball to Jones to end the threat.
“The number one thing has been our pitching,” Luneau said. “Number two is we are making the plays. Our guys are making plays. The outfield is solid. Tyler Jones is making plays everywhere at short. He is all over the place. We have been getting it done.”
Notre Dame had one more opportunity to catch the Westies in the sixth as Tanner Belcher doubled with two outs, but he was left stranded.
Hunkele kept his team in the game, throwing six innings and allowing just four hits. The sophomore walked three and struck out six, including a big strikeout with the bases loaded and one out in the sixth for West Haven.
Hunkele then retired Axelrod to escape the threat, but Notre Dame went down in order in the seventh.
Handing it Over
WH loses big lead in loss to Hand
By MIKE MADERA
(April 30, 2021) - The West Haven baseball team was in a prime position to post an upset of top-ranked Hand-Madison. West Haven came out hitting and did not slow down for four innings, taking an 11-0 lead.
Three outs away from the game ending due to the mercy rule, the unthinkable happened. The Tigers prolonged the game with five runs in the bottom of the fifth inning, and added five more n the sixth to get within 11-10.
West Haven scored once in the seventh, but not adding more would hurt as Hand’s Danny Weinstein blasted a walk-off homer in a dramatic 13-12 win for the Tigers in Madison.
The comeback spoiled what looked to be a solid win for the Westies. Tyler DeSanty hit a two-run homer, Tyler Jones hit two doubles and Hunter Axelrod pitched well for the first four innings, before the Tigers turned the tide in the fifth.
West Haven finished the game with 14 hits.
Westies fall to Xavier
WH loses late lead in loss to Falcons
By MIKE MADERA
(May 3, 2021) - The West Haven baseball team was looking to forget its loss to Hand-Madison on Friday. Off to a good start, the Westies looked as if they were poised to do so.
Leading 3-0 after four innings, West Haven could not hold on as the Falcons scored twice in the fifth and six in the sixth to rally and defeat West Haven 10-3 at Piurek Field in West Haven. West Haven’s second straight loss dropped the Westies to 6-4 on the year.
Dylan Supan against Xavier, May 4, 2021. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Gianni Gambardella threw five plus innings for West Haven, allowing four hits and six runs, five of which were earned. Gambardella walked five and struck out six. Jake Romano finished the contest, allowing five hits and four runs.
West Haven took a 2-0 lead in the first as Dan Izzo walked, Tyler Jones reached on an error and Gambardella picked up the first of his two hits to load the bases. Mike Boni gave West Haven a 1-0 lead when he lofted a sacrifice fly to right to score Izzo, and Jones scored on a grounder to short by Ray Gilbert.
The Westies increased the lead to 3-0 in the second as Dylan Supan led off with a single and scored on a two-out double to left by Izzo.
West Haven had an opportunity to extend the lead in the third, but Gambardella was thrown out at home on the front end of a double steal.
Xavier scored twice in the fourth to get within a run, before pulling away in the sixth.
Back on Track
WH snaps skid with win over Guilford
By MIKE MADERA
(May 6, 2021) - The West Haven baseball team snapped a two-game losing streak with a 9-5 road victory over Guilford Thursday afternoon. With the victory, West Haven improved to 7-4 on the year.
Dan Izzo led an 11-hit attack with three hits and three runs scored, while Tyler Jones had two hits, two runs scored, and two runs batted in, Mike Boni added two hits and drove I a pair, and Tyler DeSanty had a pair of hits. Anthony Peschell scored twice in the win for West Haven.
Dylan Supan, who tossed a no-hitter against Guilford earlier in the season, allowed seven hits and four earned runs in six innings of work. Supan walked four and struck out three. Izzo pitched a scoreless seventh with one strikeout.
The Westies took a 2-0 lead in the first as Izzo led off with a single and scored on a double to center by Jones. Jones then stole third and scored on an error on the play for a 2-0 advantage.
The Grizzlies evened the game in the first and took a 3-2 lead in the third, before West Haven took the lead for good with two runs in the fifth.
Izzo and Hunter Axelrod led off with walks and Jones singled to load the bases. With one out, Boni singled to right to score Izzo and Axelrod for a 5-3 lead, before Boni and Jones pulled a double steal for a 5-3 advantage.
The Westies took a 7-3 lead in the sixth as Damian Gazzaneao led off with a double to left, and scored on a one-out double to center by Izzo. With two outs in the seventh, Anthony Peschell singled to right to score Boni, and Izzo hit a two-out double to right to score Peschell.
WH in state tournament with win over Guilford
By MIKE MADERA
(May 7, 2021) - The West Haven baseball team qualified for the state tournament with a 5-0 victory over Foran at Piurek Field in West Haven Friday evening. With the victory, West Haven improved to 8-4 on the season.
Hunter Axelrod tossed 6.1 innings of one-hit ball, before being relieved by Gianni Gambardella, who got the final two outs of the game. Axelrod allowed one hit, walked four and struck out eight in the win.
Dan Izzo led the offense with three hits and three runs batted in.
West Haven took a 1-0 lead in the fourth as Ray Gilbert was hit by a pitch, moved to second on a sacrifice by Mike Boni, and eventually scored on a wild pitch. Axelrod held the Foran offense off the scoreboard until the Westies added four runs in the sixth.
Dylan Supan led off the sixth with a single to left and pinch-runner Anthony Peschell moved to second on a passed ball. Jake Romano walked and Axelrod was hit by a pitch to load the bases, before Izzo cleared the bases with a triple to right for a 4-0 lead. Izzo then scored on a passed ball for a 5-0 advantage.
Axelrod struck out the first batter in the seventh, but a single and a walk ended his night. Gambardella then needed nine pitches to end the contest as he got a liner to third and a strikeout for the final two outs.
The Westies put the first two runners on in the first, but could not score, then loaded the bases in the second with one out before a double play ended the frame. Leading 1-0 in the fifth, West Haven again loaded the bases with one out, but a pair of strikeouts ended the threat.
Westies blank Academics
Jones, Izzo lead way in 13-0 win
By MIKE MADERA
(May 12, 2021) - Having already clinched a spot in the state tournament, the West Haven boys baseball team is playing for seeding on the grand stage. The Westies took another step in the right direction with a 13-0 victory over Hillhouse at Piurek Field in West Haven in a game stopped after five innings due to the mercy rule.
Dan Izzo led the offense with two hits, three runs scored and two runs batted in. Tyler Jones had three hits, two runs batted in and two runs scored, while Mike Boni, Dylan Supan, and Damian Gazzaneo each had a pair of hits. Boni and Supan also drove in two runs, while Boni scored twice as well.
Damian Gazzaneo and the Westies topped Hilhouse, May 12, 2021. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Supan led the way on the hill as he tossed five innings of one-hit ball, walking two and striking out four.
West Haven took a 2-0 lead in the first inning as Jones singled with one out, Gianni Gambardella walked and Ray Gilbert was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Jones scored when Boni hit into a fielder’s choice, and Gambardella scored on a single by Supan.
Izzo helped increase the lead to 3-0 in the third as he reached on an error, stole third, and scored on a passed ball.
West Haven took a 5-0 lead in the third with a pair of runs as Boni hit a run-scoring double, and scored on a single by Gazzaneo.
The Westies put the game away with eight runs in the fourth. Izzo doubled and scored on a single by Jones, Gilbert delivered Jones with a grounder to short, and Supan singled to score Boni for an 8-0 lead.
Tyler DeSanty singled to score Gazzaneo for a 9-0 advantage, and Hunter Axelrod singled to score Gazzaneo. When Izzo tripled to score DeSanty and Axelrod, West Haven led 12-0.
Gambardella blanks Titans
Junior tosses 5-hitter in 7-0 win
By MIKE MADERA
(May 14, 2021) - The West Haven baseball team improved to 10-4 with a 7-0 victory over Sheehan Friday evening at Piurek Field in West Haven.
Junior Gianni Gambardella picked up his fourth victory of the season as he tossed a complete-game five-hitter, not allowing a walk and striking out eight.
Senior Dan Izzo led the Westies with two hits and two runs scored, while Hunter Axelrod added two hits, two runs batted in and a run scored.
West Haven scored the only run it would need in the first inning as Izzo led off with a triple to right and scored when Tyler Jones grounded to short.
The Westies increased the lead to 3-0 in the second as Dylan Supan walked with one out, Damian Gazzaneo followed with a single, and Axelrod hit a two-out triple to score Supan and Gazzaneo.
With Gambardella cruising, West Haven put the game away with a run in the fourth and three more in the fifth.
In the fourth, Tyler DeSanty singled to score Mike Boni, who had walked to lead off the inning.
West Haven used the three-run inning to put the game away. Axelrod and Jones sandwiched walks around a single by Izzo to load the bases, before a sacrifice fly by Gambardella scored Axelrod. Ray Gilbert then singled to right to score Izzo and Jones for a 7-0 advantage.
Westies rally past Green Knights
3 runs in 7th key to 6-4 victory
By MIKE MADERA
(May 17, 2021) - Down to its last three outs, the West Haven baseball team had one last rally in it. Scoring three times in the seventh inning, West Haven rallied to top cross-town rival Notre Dame 6-4 at Quigley Stadium in West Haven Monday evening.
With the victory, West Haven improved to 11-4 on the season.
Trailing 4-3 entering the seventh inning, Mike Boni beat out a grounder in the hole to second for an infield hit and Dylan Supan followed with a double to the gap in right-center to put a pair of runners in scoring position.
Freshman Ray Gilbert followed with a single to left to score Boni and even the game at four, before Supan scored on a passed ball with two outs for a 5-4 advantage. Tyler DeSanty followed with a run-scoring single for a 6-4 lead.
Supan relieved starter Hunter Axelrod to start the seventh and needed just nine pitches, eight of which were strikes, to preserve the win.
Notre Dame took a 2-0 lead in the first and that lead would hold up until West Haven rallied for three runs in the fourth.
Supan started the fourth inning rally with a walk, Gilbert singled to left, and DeSanty was hit by a pitch with one out to load the bases. Axelrod singled to left to score Supan, Dan Izzo lifted a sacrifice fly to center to score Gilbert, and Tyler Jones drove in DeSanty for a 3-2 lead with a single to left.
Notre Dame loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the inning, but only got the equalizer on a fielder’s choice grounder by Nick Hunkele.
Notre Dame took the lead in the bottom of the sixth on a two-out double by Riccio, but Riccio was thrown out at the plate trying to score on an infield single to Jones at short.
Gilbert led the West Haven offense with three hits, two runs scored, and a run batted in. Supan had two hits and two runs scored, DeSanty added two hits, a run batted in, and a run scored, while Izzo and Jones also had two hits and a run batted in each.
Axelrod tossed six innings of six-hit ball, allowing four earned runs. The West Haven pitcher walked two and struck out one.
Gambardella leads Westies past Platt
Junior has 4 hits in Senior Night win
By MIKE MADERA
(May 18, 2021) - Junior Gianni Gambardella had four hits, including a triple and a home run, as West Haven topped Platt Tech 12-8 on Senior Night at Piurek Field in West Haven Tuesday evening. Gambardella drove in four runs and scored three times as the Westies improved to 12-4 on the season.
Gianni Gambardella had four hits as West Haven topped Platt Tech, May 18, 2021. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Senior Dan Izzo added three hits and scored three times, while Tyler DeSanty and Hunter Axelrod also scored twice each in West Haven’s sixth straight victory.
The Panthers jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning off West Haven’s Bryan Barrington, who was making his first start of the season, but the Westies battled back to take a 5-4 lead after two innings and never looked back.
West Haven cut the deficit to 3-2 in the bottom of the first as Izzo led off with a double, Tyler Jones walked, and Gambardella singled to score Izzo. After Mike Boni was hit by a pitch, Dylan Supan lofted a sacrifice fly to left to bring the Westies within 3-2.
West Haven took a 5-4 lead with three runs in the second. DeSanty led off with a walk, Izzo singled with one out, and Jones walked to load the bases. Gambardella followed with a single to plate two runs and even the game at four, before Supan singled to center to score Gambardella for a 5-4 lead.
The Westies increased the lead to 9-4 in the third as DeSanty and Axelrod scored on an error and Gambardella launched a long home run to left. Supan scored on a passed ball for a 10-4 lead in the fourth, Boni tripled to score Gambardella for an 11-4 lead in the fifth, and Axelrod scored on an error in the sixth.
The Panthers made it interesting with four runs in the seventh and had the tying run at the plate, but Izzo got a pop out to end the game.
Breaking the Law
Gambardella, Supan lead WH to seventh straight win
By MIKE MADERA
(May 19, 2021) - Dylan Supan picked up his fourth victory of the season and Gianni Gambardella knocked in the game-winning run as West Haven improved to 13-4 with a 3-2 walk-off victory over Law in eight innings at Piurek Field in West Haven Wednesday afternoon. The victory was West Haven’s seventh in a row.
Supan (4-1) went the distance for West Haven, allowing two fourth inning runs by Law. The West Haven junior, who threw 72 of his 97 pitches for strikes, walked one and struck out four.
Trailing 2-0, West Haven rallied to even the game with a pair of runs in the sixth and the winner in the eighth.
In the sixth, Tyler DeSanty led off with a single, and Tyler Jones walked with two outs. Gambardella singled to left to load the bases, before Mike Boni’s grounder to first was misplayed, allowing both DeSanty and Jones to score and even the game at two.
Supan got a double play ball to get out of the seventh, and West Haven stranded a runner at third in the bottom of the seventh to force extra innings.
After Supan retired Law in order in the top of the eighth, West Haven turned to the top of its order in the bottom of the inning to pull out the victory.
Dan Izzo and Jones reached on bunt singles to start the frame, and Gambardella lined a single to center to plate Izzo with the winning run.
The late rally helped a West Haven team which did nothing offensively over the first five innings, getting just a single by Hunter Axelrod in the third and a walk by Gambardella in the fourth.
Winning for Ray
WH tops Hamden in inaugural Ray Guarino Series
By MIKE MADERA
(May 20, 2021) - When Hamden and West Haven renew the rivalry on the baseball diamond, it is always a big deal. Coming into Thursday evening’s contest, Hamden was riding a 10-game winning streak and West Haven owned a seven-game hot streak of its own.
With all that, plus the fact each team will be playing in the Southern Connecticut Conference and state tournaments in the coming weeks, one had to imagine all the hype would be between the lines.
While that was true, one factor unseated this huge SCC match-up. In a game which pitted a pair of SCC powers, it was only fitting a man who has meant so much to both towns had his day as the Green Dragons and Westies clashed in the inaugural Ray Guarino Baseball Series.
The 45-year-old Guarino played for West Haven High under George Hanchette and also coached the Hamden American Legion Post 88 team for seven seasons. In the skipper’s last season, his team moved on to the Southern Super Regionals in the Legion tournament in 2019.
Guarino was on hand to present West Haven with the first victory in the series as the Westies took advantage of an uncharacteristically sloppy Hamden team in a 7-2 SCC interdivision victory at Piurek Field in West Haven.
West Haven topped Hamden in the inaugural Ray Guarino Series game, May 20, 2021. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
“Ron Luneau came up with this idea,” Guarino said. “I can’t think of a greater honor by these two schools in a sport that is so near and dear to my heart. This means more than anything to me. I appreciate the people from Hamden and West Haven for what they have done for me over the last few years.”
After a one-year COVID-19 absence, both teams are headed to the SCC tournament with second-seeded Hamden hosting No. 7 Shelton and fourth-seeded West Haven hosting No. 5 Xavier Monday at 4 p.m.
“We love to play them (West Haven) anyway,” Hamden coach Chris Borelli said. “This has been a great rivalry for years and this just sweetens the pot. We are happy to be a part of this for Ray here. For all he has done for our program and for their program, I couldn’t think of a better day to do this.”
“It is a great thing to be a part of this tonight,” West Haven coach Ron Luneau said. “It is a great way to honor him. I would have been highly disappointed if we did not get this game in. We both dropped teams to get this game in. We wanted to make this happen and we are very happy we did.”
The much-anticipated battle between Hamden, ranked fifth in the GameTimeCT Top 10 poll, and the Westies came down to West Haven taking advantage of its opportunities and capitalizing on three Hamden errors.
A clutch two-out rally in the sixth inning gave West Haven starter Gianni Gambardella all the run support he needed. Leading by a run, West Haven scored four times to put the game away.
Tyler DeSanty and Hunter Axeltod singled with two outs, and Dan Izzo and Tyler Jones followed with walks to force in DeSanty for a 4-2 lead.
“This win means the world to us, especially for what we are playing for,” Luneau said after his team improved to 14-4 with its eighth straight victory. “I can’t say enough how proud I am of this team. We just come out ready to play. We have great pitching, we play very good defense, and we get the timely hits.”
Gambardella followed with a grounder to third, but a pair of errors on the play cleared the bases and gave West Haven a 7-2 advantage.
“We were really sloppy on defense tonight,” Borelli said after his team fell to 16-2. “It started with that bunt play early. We are usually pretty solid on defense. Our defense hurt us tonight. I would say our defensive miscues cost us four runs tonight.”
West Haven jumped out to a 3-0 lead after three innings as the Westies scored once in the first and twice in the third.
Gambardella started a two-out rally in the first with a single, and was followed by singles from Mike Boni and Dylan Supan for the first run of the game.
The West Haven lead increased to 3-0 in the third as Izzo led off with a single and scored when a sacrifice attempt by Jones was thrown away. Jones advanced to third on the play, and scored on a sacrifice fly to center by Gambardella.
“This is big for us, especially coming off a six-win season two years ago,” Gambardella said. “This is big going into the playoffs.”
Hamden got within 3-2 in the fourth as Zach Gross singled, moved to second on a wild pitch, and scored on a single to center by Jake Pisano. Pisano later scored in the inning as part of a double steal to cut the Hamden deficit to one. That was as close as Hamden would get as Gambardella finished with a three-hitter. The junior pitcher struck out six and walked three in the win. Mike Boni led the Westies with a pair of hits.
On to the Semifinals
WH tops Xavier in SCC quarterfinals
By MIKE MADERA
(May 24, 2021) - The formula for success for the West Haven baseball team this season has been stellar pitching, solid defense, and timely hitting. West Haven is not about to change what is not broken.
Behind the five-hit pitching of Hunter Axelrod, No. 4 West Haven nipped fifth-seeded Xavier 2-1 in the quarterfinals of the Southern Connecticut Conference tournament at Piurek Field in West Haven Monday afternoon. West Haven avenged a pair of losses to the Falcons this season and advances to the semifinals Tuesday afternoon against No. 8 North Haven, a 3-1 upset winner over top-seeded Hand.
Hunter Axelrod tossed a five-hitter as West Haven topped Xavier, May 24, 2021. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
The Falcons scored once on two hits in the first inning off Axelrod, before the senior was in control, allowing three hits the rest of the way. Axelrod walked one and struck out five in the win.
West Haven evened the game in the bottom of the first inning as Tyler Jones drew a one-out walk, stole second, and scored when Mike Boni singled to center with two outs.
After Axelrod retired the side in order in the second, West Haven took the lead for good in the bottom of the inning as Ray Gilbert led off with a walk, Anthony Rubin singled, and Axelrod walked with one out to load the bases. Dan Izzo then lofted a sacrifice fly to left to score the go-ahead run.
West Haven had a chance for some insurance runs in the third as Gianni Gambardella and Boni walked to open the inning, but each was left stranded.
Xavier’s best opportunity to even the game came in the sixth with a leadoff double, but Axelrod got a pop out and a fly out, before ending the threat with a strikeout.
The Westies again had a chance at insurance in the bottom of the sixth when Rubin opened with a single, but pinch-runner Anthony Peschell was thrown out trying to score on Izzo’s extra base hit.
Axelrod made sure the one run held up, ending the game with a pair of strikeouts.
Westies top North Haven
Advance to SCC title game
By MIKE MADERA
(May 25, 2021) - The West Haven baseball team is headed to the Southern Connecticut Conference finals. Behind the 3-hit pitching of junior Gianni Gambardella, fourth-seeded West Haven cruised to a 7-1 victory over No. 8 North Haven in the SCC semifinals Tuesday afternoon at Piurek Field in West Haven.
With the victory, West Haven will play third-seeded Fairfield Prep in the finals Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at Piurek Field.
Tyler Jones and the Westies topped North Haven, May 27, 2021. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Gambardella continued his masterful season with another solid performance as he struck out 11 and walked just one batter in a 106-pitch effort. Gambardella threw 73 strikes.
Seniors Dan Izzo led the offense with two hits, one run scored and one run batted in, Anthony Rubin had a pair of hits and two runs batted in, and Mike Boni drove in a pair. West Haven took control of the game with four runs in the first inning and another in the second.
Izzo, Tyler Jones and Gambardella opened the game with singles to load the bases, before Boni’s sacrifice fly to left gave the Westies a 1-0 lead. Dylan Supan followed with a double to score Gambardella, and Rubin delivered a two-run single for a 4-0 advantage.
West Haven took a 5-0 lead in the second when Izzo was hit by a pitch, Gambardella walked and Boni grounded out to plate Izzo.
After North Haven got within 5-1 in the fifth, West Haven took a 6-1 lead in the bottom of the inning. Gambardella walked and later scored on a passed ball.
The Westies scored the final run of the game in the sixth as Tyler DeSanty singled with one out and scored on a two-out double by Izzo.
Mistakes doom Westies
WH falls to Prep in SCC title game
By MIKE MADERA
(May 27, 2021) - WEST HAVEN – It has been three years since the Fairfield Prep baseball team played in the conference finals. The Jesuits were not going to let an opportunity to claim their second conference title slip away.
Behind the pitching of senior Jack Bowery, a stellar defense, and a clutch triple by fellow senior Jacob Strazza, third-seeded Fairfield Prep topped No. 4 West Haven 8-3 in the Southern Connecticut Conference finals at Piurek Field in West Haven Thursday evening.
West Haven fell to Fairfield Prep in the SCC title game, May 27, 2021. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
The title was Prep’s second in five appearances and first since topping Hand in the championship game in 2018.
“This is one of the things we worked for,” Fairfield Prep coach Rudy Mauritz said after his team improved to 18-3. “You compete in this league and everyone wants to be here. It is really competitive. It is something you have to get after. It is great to do this with this group.”
Bowery was the story of the game through five innings for the Jesuits as he allowed just three hits and one earned run, while striking out five. Bowery did not walk a batter in picking up his fourth victory of the season.
“I thought the big thing was to get through the first inning without giving up a run,” Bowery said. “I thought that was big. Then, it was let the offense do its thing. We put up numbers and we were able to do that. I had great defense behind me tonight. It is a team effort.”
“Jack is a very good pitcher,” Mauritz said. “He has a good mix of stuff and he has been doing great things all year. I knew he improved quite a bit coming into the year since we saw him as a sophomore. It is nice to see how the guys have worked.”
West Haven (16-5) was making its first SCC title game appearance since 2003 and picked the wrong time to play its worst defensive game of the year. The Westies committed four errors in the game, leading to three unearned runs and a 4-2 Jesuit lead through four innings.
“The difference is this,” West Haven coach Ron Luneau said. “We made a couple of costly errors and they capitalized. I tip my cap to them. They played solid defense, especially in the infield. They are a very good baseball team.”
Leading 4-2, the Jesuits scored three much-needed runs in the fifth with two outs as Strazza delivered Fairfield Prep’s second triple of the inning to clear the bases. James Aselta started the fifth inning rally with a one-out triple and was followed by a walk to Mike Iannazzo and Pierce Cowles getting hit by a pitch.
The 3-run triple by Strazza proved big as Alex Lanzilotti relieved Bowery in the sixth and was greeted by a single by West Haven’s Dan Izzo and a walk by Tyler Jones. Izzo attempted to steal third, but was thrown out.
“I knew we had to get those runs in,” Strazza said. “We had to get them back. There were two outs and we were not going to go down without a fight. We pulled this out as a team.”
The caught stealing proved to be big in the inning as Gianni Gambardella walked and Mike Boni singled to plate Jones, getting the Westies within 7-3. The Jesuits brought in junior Graydon Golier, and after allowing the hit to Boni, he escaped further damage by striking out Dylan Supan and Ray Gilbert to end the threat.
“It was not one of our better games,” Luneau said. “We can’t make the mistakes we made tonight and expect to win.”
Supan was the hard-luck loser for the Westies as his defense let him down with four errors. Supan tossed five innings, allowing seven hits and seven runs, four of which were earned. The West Haven junior walked four and struck out three.
“I thought he pitched well, maybe one of his better games of the year,” Luneau said. “We didn’t make some plays and they capitalized. That’s the difference. That is one of the better hitting teams we have faced all year.”
The Jesuits jumped out to a quick lead in the contest, scoring once in the first as Mike Coyne singled to right, advanced to second on an error on the play, and scored on Matt Sawyer’s infield single.
After Bowery cruised through three innings, allowing just Supan to reach on catcher’s interference, Prep took a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the third.
Tim Pearson led off with a walk, Joe D’Elia reached on a one-out error, and Sawyer walked to load the bases. Aselta walked to force in Pearson, and a long sacrifice fly to right by Jack Arcamone, which was tracked down by Boni, scored D’Elia.
West Haven showed the grit it has all season by rallying for a pair of runs in the fourth. Jones and Gambardella singled with one out and both advanced to scoring position on an error on the play.
Boni grounded to short to score Jones, and Supan singled to score Gambardella. Bowery escaped further trouble and ended the threat when he got Gilbert on a grounder to first to end the frame.
Big inning propels Westies
WH tops Naugatuck in LL first round
By MIKE MADERA
(June 1, 2021) - The West Haven baseball team is well aware of what playoff action is like. Having advanced to the Southern Connecticut Conference finals, the Westies used that experience to help them in the first round of the CIAC Class LL state tournament.
Using a six-run sixth inning, sixth-seeded West Haven defeated No. 27 Naugatuck 7-1 at Piurek Field in West Haven Tuesday afternoon. With the victory, West Haven advances to the second round where No. 11 Hall awaits Wednesday afternoon in West Haven.
Junior pitcher Gianni Gambardella needed 90 pitches to go the distance as he allowed an unearned run on three hits. The junior threw 67 pitches for strikes, struck out nine and walked two in the win.
Hunter Axelrod led the offense with three hits, one run scored, and one run batted in, while Gambardella drove in a pair, and Tyler Jones added two hits, a run scored, and a run batted in.
West Haven broke a 1-1 tie with six runs in the sixth inning.
Mike Boni started the rally with a single, moved to second on a sacrifice by Dylan Supan and scored on an error by Naugatuck. A second Naugatuck error in the inning had a pair of runners on, before Axelrod’s third hit of the game came with two outs to score Ray Gilbert.
Dan Izzo was hit by a pitch to load the bases, before Jones made it 4-1 with an infield single. When Gambardella singled to left to score Axelrod and Izzo, West Haven had a 6-1 lead. Jones capped the inning by scoring on an error.
Gambardella ensured West Haven would move on to the second round when he retired the side in order in the seventh.West Haven took a 1-0 lead in the second as Supan doubled to right and scored on a one-out single to right by Anthony Rubin.
Season over for Westies
WH falls to Hall in LL second round
By MIKE MADERA
(June 2, 2021) - The season has come to a close for the West Haven baseball team. Held to just six hits, the sixth-seeded Westies fell to No. 11 Hall 5-1 in the Class LL second round at Piurek Field in West Haven Wednesday afternoon.
West Haven (17-6) never led in the contest and trailed right from the start as Hall scored single runs in each of the first two innings.
Trailing 3-0 in the fifth, West Haven finally got on the board as Hunter Axelrod laced a one-out double to right. With two outs, Tyler Jones continued to be a clutch player as he drove home Axelrod with a double to right.
Gianni Gambardella followed Jones with a walk, but each was left stranded when Mike Boni’s hard grounder was turned into a force out.
Hall got that run back in the sixth and added another in the seventh for a 5-1 lead. With their backs against the wall, the Westies attempted a late rally.
Tyler DeSanty led off the seventh with a walk, and Jones again came up big with a two-out single to center. Gambardella singled to left to load the bases, but Boni’s fly ball to center ended the West Haven season.
West Haven had opportunities early, but a golden chance to even the game was missed when Dan Izzo was stranded at third after opening the first inning by reaching on an error.
Anthony Rubin doubled with two outs in the second, but was left stranded, and Izzo was left stranded after being hit with a pitch in the third. Dylan Supan was also left stranded in the fourth after reaching on a one-out single.
Axelrod took the loss for West Haven, tossing 2.2 innings and allowing two earned runs on five hits. Supan went the rest of the way and allowed two earned runs on five hits.
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