TORRINGTON >> On a senior night laden with proud parents Monday evening at Fuessenich Park, two teams whose 8-7 records predicted a close game were instead night and day in the game of baseball and as teams.
In a 16-2 throttling of Torrington, visiting Sacred Heart got a great complete-game pitching start from sophomore Jimmy Edwards (7 innings, 1 earned run, 9 strikeouts, 2 walks, 1 hit batter); great hitting; and great defense.
The Hearts cheered for each other from the dugout, frequently offering encouragement for their younger players at bat and in the field.
A few Torrington starters, sitting out the first few innings for disciplinary reasons, will blame starting substitutes for creating a 6-0 hole by the time they began filtering back in in the third inning.
Indeed, the Red Raider on-field statistics would make any game ugly – 5 errors, 15 walks and a hit batter.
But if the starters blame others, it’s because they clearly didn’t learn the lesson the benching was supposed to teach: the game is more than hits and errors.
Hollering at teammates for mistakes is unacceptable. Playing with a cocky nonchalance won’t get it was the kind of offense that got them benched.
If anything, a few of the disciplined were worse than ever for their “lesson” when they reappeared on the field.
That’s what made this game all-time ugly, not so much the errors that can happen in any game.
Sometimes leadership means having to tell an older teammate to shut up while telling the younger ones to cheer each other on is the real lesson becoming clear in the waning Torrington season.
On the field, the mess began with opening back-to-back Torrington errors followed by four walks in a row.
The Hearts finished their first at-bat with three runs on just one hit.
In the bottom of the inning, Edwards displayed a devastating curve for the third strike on Torrington’s first two batters.
Sophomore Torrington catcher Cam Cerruto, a bright spot for the Raiders all day in the field with spot-on throws to second and run-downs from third, nailed a double to the left field wall in his first at-bat.
Nevertheless, the Sacred Heart barrage at bat and defense in the field never let up.
Two more runs came in the second, one in the third, four in the fourth, one in the fifth and six in the seventh, through five Torrington pitchers, substitutes and starters alike, and against substitutes as well as the same Torrington lineup that can be devastating.
This time, all the praise belonged to Sacred Heart.
“(Jimmy Edwards) is a great kid. He’s gotten stronger from last year,” said second-year Hearts Coach Eric O’Toole.
The hitters spoke for themselves.
Edwards led the effort himself, at 5-for-6, 2 doubles, 3 RBI and a run. Leadoff hitter Larry Zapata was 2-for-5, 2 RBI, 4 runs; Matt Mancini, 2-for-3, 5 RBI; Peyton Stephens, 3-for-5, triple, RBI, 2 runs; Evan LaFerriere, 2-for-4, double, 3 runs.
Sacred Heart 16, Torrington 2
At Fuessenich Park, Torrington
Sacred Heart 321 400 6 – 16 16 2
Torrington 000 002 0 – 2 3 5
WP: Jimmy Edwards. LP: Ben Vanotti. 3B: SH – Peyton Stephens. 2B: SH – Edwards 2; Evan LaFerriere. T – Cam Cerruto.
Records: Sacred Heart 9-7; Torrington 8-8.