WEST HAVEN >> Beaten and battered after getting shutout in the first round of the Southern Connecticut Conference tournament, Notre Dame-West Haven used a Green vs. Gold scrimmage to try to find its offense.
“Hey (the scrimmage) was 4-4,” said coach Lou Kessler, smiling. “That’s eight runs.”
The Green Knights kept it going in the first round of the Class L tournament topping North Haven 6-0 at Quigley Stadium Monday.
“We knew we had to come out and do our job at the plate,” said Green Knights junior Evan Lumpinski. “And we got it done.”
Prior to Monday, the Green Knights did not get the job done offensively. Amity lost to North Haven late in the regular-season 2-0 and dropped a SCC first round game to Amity 1-0.
“It was hard,” said Notre Dame junior Zack Balabon. “It was really hard. We fought that whole game.”
The offensive struggles came out of nowhere, as the Green Knights scratched off six runs per game. With a pitching staff led by ace John Amendola, six was enough runs to gain a victory 16 times out of 20 this season.
However, when the issues reared their ugly head, in the North Haven and Amity losses, coach Kessler decided to make some changes. The coach, who still believes defense wins championships, made some alterations to his practices.
“We do a lot more hitting,” he said.
He said his practices were “65-75 percent defense,” but recently they’ve reversed the percentage. Kessler also said hitting the ball on the ground more often was a focal point. He said in the Amity loss, the Green Knights flied out 14 times.
The extra work paid off as Balabon and Lumpinski pushed RBIs through the infield dirt to gets runs across. Lumpinski had two RBIs and Balabon added an RBI. In addition to their production, Drew Arciuolo added two hits and an RBI, Dylan Reynolds had two hits and Mike Corso had two hits.
“Sometimes it just takes one guy to get that hit to get the team going,” Kessler said.
On Monday when the team got going, they kept it going to the tune of 11 hits. The final tally of six runs did not eclipse the team’s total of eight in the scrimmage, but it was enough to get them to the second round.
NOTRE DAME-WEST HAVEN 6, NORTH HAVEN 0
(at Quigley Stadium)
North Haven 000 000 0 — 0 2 1
Notre Dame-West Haven 003 003 X — 6 11 0
Jeff Cunningham, Mike Card (5); John Amendola.
WP: John Amendola (). LP: Jeff Cunningham ().