ROCKY HILL >> Rocky Hill used a four run sixth inning to pull away from Conard and win its second game of the season, 7-2, at a sunny, but blustery Rocky Hill High School on Thursday.
All but two Rocky Hill starters scored a run and each batter reached base at least once. Spencer Bunting led the way with a double, walk, stolen base and run scored.
The two big blows in the decisive sixth came from two first-year varsity players, Brian Batalis and Trevor Whalen.
With runners on second and third and Rocky Hill ahead 3-2, Batalis singled through the right side to score Bunting from third. Whalen followed with a two-run double to left to put giving Rocky Hill a 6-2 lead.
“I think the confidence level seemed to come up on some guys who didn’t play varsity last year,” Rocky Hill coach Chris Farrell said.
Andrew Jenkelunas, a standout on the Rocky Hill football team this past year, drove in the fourth run of the inning with a single to right.
Terriers starter Tommy Seaver went all seven innings and seemed to get stronger as the game progressed.
“He’s a bulldog,” Farrell said of Seaver. “He really did a great job bearing down from the fifth inning on. (He) threw a lot of two-seamers, threw some fastballs inside and outside of the plate and really got through it. Swinging at balls, putting balls in right field, putting them on their fist, that’s what we moved to.”
Seaver faced one over the minimum over the last three innings. The only damage was a double to Bobby Marconi in the sixth that went over the head of Jekelunas in left, a ball that the wind carried.
Seaver struck out six total while walking just one.
“(He had a) tough time with his off-speed stuff today,” Farrell said. “Looks like they did a pretty good job hitting his curveball and his change-up, the changeup was kind of staying up with this wind.”
Conard struck first in an eventful third inning. Starting pitcher Jordan Munchin helped his own cause by driving in Max Vogel-Freedman after working a full count.
Rocky Hill scored three times in the bottom half to give the Terriers the lead for good.
Jekelunas led off and reached second on two errors. He stole third without a throw and then scored when Conard catcher Henry Fracasso overthrew the third baseman on a pick-off attempt.
Seaver walked and eventually scored on a passed ball. Chris Bouchard reached on an error.
Brandon Grover stepped into the box with one out and blasted the ball deep to center. Bouchard scored as the ball got by Fracasso at home which allowed Grover to take a shot at scoring.
The ball and Grover arrived at the plate at the same time and the runner was called out, much to the displeasure of Farrell who jumped out of the Rocky Hill dugout and argued his case that the ball was dropped.
“We’re going to be aggressive and we’re going to take chances,” Farrell said. “We had some plays at the plate. A couple went our way, one didn’t go our way and that’s the nature of the game.”
That run ended up not meaning much as the Terriers won their second game in as many days and dropped Conard to 0-2.
Conard coach Ty Bongiovanni was not pleased with the outcome. “We’re going to have to get a lot better,” he said.
“Just a lot of mental mistakes,” Bongiovanni said. “I’ve got a lot of guys in positions they haven’t played before. We haven’t been on the field a lot yet and we could easily use those things as excuses, but we’re not going to.”
Marconi scored Conard’s other run in the fourth on a double by Fracasso.
“We just have to make the routine plays,” Bongiovanni said. “We have to get guys in from third with less than two outs, execute bunts, the things most baseball teams need to do to be successful. The good thing is, we’re not far away. We a run here, a run there from being 2-0 and not 0-2.”
Rocky Hill escapes the cool spring in Connecticut for the heat of Florida next week where they will play two games at the Disney Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando. They will play fellow CCC school Plainville on Monday and then Wildwood High School of New Jersey on Wednesday before returning home.
Conard will play its third game in as many days tomorrow when they travel to Bristol Central at 3:45 p.m.