TORRINGTON >> Torrington High School’s baseball team polished off the NVL’s second-place Naugatuck Greyhounds at Dodd Stadium Saturday in a win featuring aggressive running on the basepaths.
Monday, the Raiders (8-4) were back for their sixth consecutive win, running and bashing their way to an 8-5 win against a tougher Wilby team than its record shows.
“I’m a history teacher,” grinned Torrington coach Pat Richardson. “I teach that Vietnam was a war of attrition. That’s what we fought today.”
Much of it was leapfrogging opponent pitchers on the way through three for each team.
“Jason (Vinisko) kept us in the game; Josh (Rubino) limited the damage; and Shane (Bierfeldt) closed the door,” said Richardson.
The Wildcats (4-8, with lots of close losses) got a run on just one hit in the first inning. Starting Wilby pitcher Cristian Castro made it stick for three innings. Torrington’s runners and hitters caught up with him for five runs in the fourth.
Wilby cut the lead to 5-3 in the fifth, finishing Vinisko’s day. Torrington finished off Castro with another run in the bottom of the inning, then added two more against reliever Tyriq Harris.
“Our record doesn’t show what we have,” said Wilby coach Dave Vecca. “We have 14 guys on the varsity, with four senior captains. They’re playing hard, but I keep telling them, you’ve to show up for seven strong.”
The Red Raiders did exactly that.
After a one, two three first inning, Torrington misfired on opportunities for the next two innings while Vinisko recovered from a tough opening frame to face just seven more batters through the top of three.
“We’re not killing ourselves on defense,” said Richardson.
Despite seven combined errors in the game (4-3 Wilby), both teams made great plays in the field.
Bierfeldt, in right field, started the fourth with a great catch. Nelson Merced and Dillion Servino (2-for-4) followed with singles. Torrington catcher Ben Thompson threw Merced out trying to steal third. Vinisko bent a curve for strike three, end of inning.
In the bottom of the fourth, Castro got two quick outs, then imploded.
Mitch Zagrodnik (run scored), Stanly Rijo (1-for-2, RBI, run) and John McCarthy (RBI) drew walks. Kobe Covington (2-for-3, double, RBI), Manny Rijo (1-for-2, RBI, 2 runs) and Dom Sabia (2 RBI) singled. Thompson scrambled through an error for another run.
Down 5-1, the Wildcats scrapped back in the top of the fifth.
Torrington first baseman Ben Bonvicini made a spectacular bare-handed grab for the first out.
Jacob Colon, who scored Wilby’s first-inning run, tagged a triple to the right field fence. Julio Colon followed with an RBI double. Zagrodnik made a spectacular stab at third for the second out, moving Colon to third. A balk brought him in, 5-3.
Once Torrington starts to roll this season, they’re hard to stop.
Leading 5-3 in the bottom of the fifth, Bierfeldt walked, reached third on an errant pickoff throw, then scored on a double by Covington. A fielder’s choice removed that threat. The Raiders replaced it with more scrambling.
Manny Rijo walked and got home on a single by his brother, Stanly. Thompson reached on the fielder’s choice, got to third on a late throw home trying to catch Manny, then scored on a wild pitch, 8-3.
The Wildcats gave it one more stab in the top of the sixth, with hits by Severino, Jalen Monroe and Julio Colon and a sac fly from Thomas.
They got it to 8-5. Then Torrington left-hander Bierfeldt found his groove.
The war was over.
Torrington 8, Wilby 5
At Fuessenich Park, Torrington
Wilby 100 022 0—5 8 4
Torrington 000 530 x—8 6 3
WP: Jason Vinisko. LP: Cristian Castro. 3B: W—Jacob Thomas. 2B: W—Julio Colon. T—Shane Bierfeldt; Kobe Covington.
Records: Wilby 4-8; Torrington 8-4.