WINDSOR >> It was power vs. power at Windsor High School on Tuesday and this time the power bats beat the power pitching.
Southington junior Brayden Cooney hit two home runs — including one off highly-touted Windsor starting pitcher Matt Cleveland — and senior Garrett Gugliotti hit another as the Blue Knights blasted the Warriors 10-2.
Cleveland, who, according to a scout in attendance, had his fastball between 88 and 90 mph while touching 91 in the first couple innings, has been receiving lots of attention from pro teams this season.
But it was the Southington bats that opened eyes this time.
Tied 2-2 after three innings, Cooney led off the top of the fourth with a scorched line drive home run out to right-centerfield off Cleveland to give the Blue Knights a 3-2 lead.
“I think the guys early in the game had a good approach,” Southington coach Charlie Lembo said. “He was throwing pretty hard and his breaking ball was, I thought, really good. They’re trying to keep him in the zone, swing at pitches in the zone and Brayden turned around a fastball on him pretty good and I think that really got us going.”
Southington got two more in the fifth and really broke it open in the sixth with four additional runs, including Gugliotti’s first home run of the season. A two-run, no-doubter that easily cleared the temporary left field fence to give the Blue Knights a 9-2 lead.
“We were ready to see Cleveland today,” Cooney said. “We’ve been talking about it all season. We were supposed to play them first game of the year, but it got snowed out. So we had all season to prepare for it and it showed.”
Cooney wasn’t done.
He led off the top of the seventh with another home run, this one a little more towards centerfield than his first giving him five on the year and his the first multi-home run game of his career.
“Early on in the season I had a bit of a loop in my swing,” Cooney said. “It was a little longer. I’ve been working with coach and my father on keeping my bat through the zone more, so I can square up balls better. Hit them hard, hit them over their heads.”
While the offense stole the show, Southington starting pitcher Drew Farkas was nearly unhittable for the final six frames.
After allowing two runs in the first on two hits, a walk and a hit batter, the University of Hartford commit found his release point and in the process got into a groove. In innings two through seven he allowed three hits — all singles — and faced one over the minimum aided by a caught stealing and a double play.
“There was just one pitch,” Farkas said. “And I felt my release point a little bit different from the rest and it was more comfortable. It was right down the middle, it was a perfect strike and after that I was just like, ‘Let me repeat this,’ and I just repeated the process and went back to the basics really.”
“After that it was smooth sailing,” Farkas said. “I was able to throw strikes consistently, hit the spots I wanted to and it just worked out like that.”
The two Windsor runs came in the bottom of the first. Chris Chambers and Cleveland each singled. A passed ball allowed Chambers to trot home and a single by Jeremy Nunes drove in Cleveland.
Then Southington started to chip away, chasing Cleveland from the game after five innings where he allowed five runs on seven hits with one walk and two hit batters while striking out nine.
“They took advantage of up-counts,” Windsor coach Joe Serfass said. “When they were up in the count sitting fastball, but at the same time we struggled to make plays defensively.”
Gugliotti’s double that bounced out of Nolan Whitaker’s glove in left field allowed Justin Makles to score tying the game at 2 before the Blue Knights blew it open.
Southington 10, Windsor 2
Southington: 101 124 1 — 10 11 0
Windsor: 200 000 0 — 2 5 4
(at Windsor High School)
Batteries: S — Drew Farkas (W) and Kyle Bunko; W — Matt Cleveland (L), Patrick Hawkins (6), Jordan Irizarry (6), Ethan Douglas (7) and Ryan Crisanti.
2B: S — Garrett Gugliotti, Justin Makles.
HR: S — Brayden Cooney (2), Gugliotti.
RBI: S — Jonathan Gray (2), Gugliotti (3), Cooney (2), Tyler Cyr; W — Nunes.
SB: S — Gugliotti (2), Johnathan Mikosz (2), Gray, Makles, James Wadman; W — Chris Chambers, Kyle Louis.
CS: S — Gugliotti; W — Cleveland.
Team records: Southington 11-5; Windsor 10-7.