TORRINGTON >> Last year, a Crosby assistant baseball coach’s fiance attended just one game all season, in Waterbury.
That day, the Bulldogs got their only win, by one run against Torrington.
Before Monday’s game, in another winless season so far (0-14), the coach assured his team that his fiancee came to Fuessenich Park for what might be her only game this year.
If the wedding depended on her spell, it’s off.
A 10-4 Torrington team with a whole different outlook from last year’s pounded out 18 hits in a 16-1 win that dove into the bag after three innings.
“They all stayed back and hit the ball up the middle,” said Crosby head coach Joe Bandurski, whose staff throws mostly off-speed pitches that can wreak havoc on good hitters’ timing.
“I was worried about that today,” said Torrington coach Pat Richardson. “This is a great bunch of kids this year. They listen; they follow instructions; and they’re close-knit.”
That added up to another productive day for Torrington.
Avoiding the fiancee jinx is one thing; building confidence deep into the Torrington pitching staff is another.
Josh Rubino (4 innings, 1 hit, 0 runs, 5 strikeouts, 0 walks); Kevin Delacruz (1 inning, 0 hits, 0 runs, 3 strikeouts, 0 walks); P.J. Kilmartin (1 inning, 0 hits, 0 runs, 1 walk, 1 strikeout); and Jason Vinisko (1 inning, 1 earned run, 1 hit, 1 walk, 0 strikeouts) combined for a two-hitter.
Among the group, only Vinisko had a major previous role in the Raiders’ streak from an 0-3 season start to 10 wins in their next 11 games.
“I’ve just gotta keep my pitches down,” said Rubino, who struck out five Bulldogs in his four innings while taking Monday’s win. “My curve ball stayed in; I kept it down and experimented.”
Torrington batters, strong all year, gave him plenty of fuel for confidence.
They started slow, with just one hit and an unearned run by John McCarthy (4-for-4, 2 doubles, 2 RBI, 4 runs) in the first inning, then added five more runs in the second on hits by Nate Manchester (2-for-5, run); Manny Rijo (3-for-4, triple, RBI, 3 runs); Stanly Rijo (2-for-5, RBI, 2 runs); and McCarthy, plus two Bulldog errors.
With three more runs in the third, on a sun-aided double by Mitch Zagrodnik (2-for-2, 2 runs), singles by Manny Rijo and McCarthy and a double by Ben Thompson (2-for-2, 3 RBI), the Raiders led 9-0.
The gates were open for all the experimenting Rubino and his relievers wanted to try.
Delacruz took over in the fifth, striking out the side in one inning.
“I just kept throwing fastballs,” he grinned.
In the bottom of the inning, facing Crosby’s third pitcher of the day, fastballs all headed for the outfield.
Manny Rijo started with a towering triple to center field; Thompson’s sac fly got Rijo in; hits by Manny Rijo, Ben Bonvicini (2-for-4, double, 5 RBI, 2 runs) and Shane Bierfeldt (RBI, run), plus two walks and a hit batter piled up another six Torrington runs, 15-0.
Kilmartin got an inning to work on his pitches — fastball, two-seamer and curve.
McCarthy scored one more run in the sixth on his opening double, single by Dom Sabia and sac fly by Bonvicini.
“A 4-for-4 day is always a confidence boost,” McCarthy grinned.
So the Raiders turned around a jinx from last year on Monday; they have a chance to reverse another bugaboo today when Holy Cross (8-5) comes to Fuessenich for a 3:30 p.m. game.
The Crusaders beat Torrington 15-8 in Waterbury in game three of the Raiders’ opening losing streak.
“Hopefully, this game will be a confidence builder for tomorrow,” said Coach Richardson Monday.
Torrington 16, Crosby 1
At Fuessenich Park, Torrington
Crosby 000 000 1—1 2 3
Torrington 153 061 x—16 18 2
WP: Josh Rubino. LP: Joe Polanco. 3B: T—Manny Rijo. 2B: T—John McCarthy 2; Ben Bonvicini; Mitch Zagrodnik; Ben Thompson.
Records: Crosby 0-14; Torrington 10-4.