BURLINGTON — Last year, Lewis Mills was the only team to beat Shepaug until Coventry stopped the Washington Spartans’ 22-1 roll into the Class S semifinals.
On Wednesday afternoon, Shepaug (2-1; 2-0 Berkshire League), the preseason league favorite again, obliterated last year’s regular-season blemish in a 16-2 five-inning clinic at Lewis Mills High School.
Playing in a wind hitting at least 20 mph at times, 10 of Shepaug’s 13 players scored at least one run; 11 players had at least one of the Spartans’ 20 hits, including six for extra bases.
On the mound, Jack Kennedy allowed just three Burlington Spartan hits in his five-inning gem (2 strikeouts, 1 walk).
“I have a good defense,” said the senior right-hander, denying any extra satisfaction because of last year’s loss.
“No, it’s just the last time we’ll get to play here (because of Mills’ move to the CCC next year),” Kennedy said.
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“This is always a tough place to play,” said senior Dom Perachi, whose 3-for-3 day at bat might have argued otherwise without the history behind his statement.
“Everybody is a good hitter on this team,” said sophomore Owen Hibbard, 3-for-4 in Shepaug’s leadoff spot with a triple and three RBIs.
“(Kennedy) did a nice job and we did a really good job swinging the bats,” said coach Scott Werkhoven, looking over his shoulder at a narrow 3-2 win at Gilbert on Monday against two of the league’s best pitchers and Saturday’s 7-3 opening loss at the South West Conference’s Brookfield.
“Today, we were taking the ball up the middle instead of trying to pull it,” Werkhoven said.
On the other side, it’s been a rocky start for Mills and first-year coach Bob Swierbitowicz, with an 8-2 loss at Thomaston on Monday followed by Wednesday’s pounding.
“They’re kids; they’ll come out of it,” Swierbitowicz said. “We’ve got 18 games left. Playing up here on the hill, we couldn’t get outside until our first scrimmage. It’s a big adjustment for our pitchers to go from the gym to the mound outside.”
On Wednesday, Mills took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on an error and an RBI single by Devin Shaffer after Mills starter Jack Foley held Shepaug in check in the top of the inning.
Then the wind turned hard on Burlington’s Spartans.
Kennedy and his defense blanked Mills until the bottom of the fifth inning when Blair Harris and Jeff Buthe put together a single and sacrifice fly for the second Burlington.
Washington bats began booming in the second, building to a crescendo in a steady stream of runs: two in the second; six in the third; three in the fourth; and five in the fifth.
Notably among the lineup of hitters, Chance Dutcher was 3-for-4, with a double and 4 RBIs; Joe Brunelli was 2-for-2, with a double and 1 RBI; Kennedy went 3-for-3, 2 RBIs.
It’s probably not true that the strong wind was caused by Shepaug bats.