Connor Jensen answered two questions for the Shelton baseball team against Hand on Friday night.
Could the senior be effective coming out of concussion protocol and would it be enough to defeat GameTimeCT’s top-ranked team?
Jensen pitched a complete game in the 2-0 SCC contest played under the lights in Shelton. The righthander allowed only an infield single and struck out 14. His final strikeout came with the bases loaded to end the game.
Shelton improved to 7-6. Hand is 12-1.
Jensen, now 3-2, was injured covering the plate the first time the teams met on April 26. This was his first time back on the field.
“The only nerves I had was if I would have my stuff of not. Luckily, I did. I love these guys. This can be a huge confidence booster,” Jensen said. “The fastball was my go-to pitch. I had a curveball, a change up and a sinker that was working.”
While Jensen could recall every out in his masterpiece. His first outing against Hand was over in a blur.
“I came on in the last inning in relief,” he said. “I threw of couple pitches. The last went over the catcher’s head. When I went to cover home, I made a swipe tag on the runner and got hit in the head. I don’t remember the collision. The trainer asked where I was. I didn’t know.”
Out of school a few days, it was initially thought he would miss baseball for two weeks. Jensen went through return-to-play protocol for four days (run a mile, agility work). He recovered quicker than was thought.
“It was exhausting. I hadn’t thrown a pitch. I had headaches for a week,” he said. “This was the best scenario I could have hoped for. Being out two weeks was the right thing for me.”
Jensen threw a bullpen session on Tuesday. He hoped to get the call to start.
“Coach (Scott) Gura told me he wasn’t sure on Thursday,” Jensen said. “On Friday morning, he told me I would pitch. After the game, Coach said he waited to keep me calm.”
Jensen tired late. He issued two walks (three in the game) and hit a batter to put the go-ahead run on first.
“Adrenalin was all that was keeping me through those seven innings,” he said. “I wanted to sustain a full game. We had a bunch of plays on defense. Three or four pop flies were hit above the lights and my outfield made great plays in the dark.”
Anthony Steele hit his fourth home run of the season in the first inning for a 1-0 lead.
Jensen said: “Anthony’s home run was huge. It went to right center field. You knew it was gone. I think it’s still going.”
John Riccio and Steele each had two hits.
Shelton scored again in the second inning off Matt Carone (4-1).
Hand’s hit came in the fifth inning to the hole at shortstop.