TORRINGTON — On Monday, late-inning Torrington fielding errors cost the Red Raiders a win against NVL leader St. Paul Catholic.
Wednesday at Fuessenich Park, good pitching, aggressive base running, a few timely hits and late-inning errors by Watertown (10-5; 8-5 NVL) flipped Monday’s results into a 7-2 Torrington win over the Indians.
All but two of six Red Raider runs in Wednesday’s fifth and sixth innings were unearned while the Raiders took advantage three Indian errors.
Even so, a two-run double by Adam Vanotti would have been enough to lift Torrington (4-9) out of a game that stayed tight for four innings thanks to pitcher Kyle Banche and aggressive Raider running.
All season, Torrington has suffered from a lack of hits to back up good pitching.
“When you’re not hitting, you have to make things happen,” Torrington coach Pat Richardson said. “Our goal today was to try to run the bases aggressively and put the ball in play.”
That philosophy was on display from the outset. With an inexperienced Watertown catcher behind the plate thanks to injuries, the Raiders were off and running from their first batter.
Adam Bainer drew a walk, got to second on a groundout and third on a wild pitch. James Gaskins (2 runs scored) turned another free ride into a stolen base to second.
The Indians hung there in the first inning, but after Watertown scored in the top of the second on Torrington’s only error and hits by Bailey Boivin and Jake Gambee, the Red Raiders tied the score by pounding the base paths again.
C.J. Root led off with a double and stole third, leaving easy pickings for Nick Balducci’s single through the left side.
“It’s more fun this way,” Root said. “You just take as much as you can get.”
Watertown took a 2-1 lead in the top of the third on Banche’s only walk and two more hits, by Andrew Teardo and Cam Guerrera.
They were the last Indian hits of the day against Banche, whose fastball and curve racked up seven strikeouts along with five groundouts over the next four innings.
“My changeup produced the ground balls,” he said.
“We had bad at-bats,” Watertown coach Jerry Valentino said. “Their pitcher threw a heck of a game.”
Still, the Raiders were a run short until the bottom of the fifth inning. Then they made things happen.
With one out, Indian infielders missed Gaskins’ pop-up just behind first base; Charlie Pataky beat out an infield dribbler; and Root (2 runs scored) loaded the bases with a walk.
A grounder by Balducci could have been a double play; instead, Root’s hard slide into second knocked the ball loose, opening the gate for two Torrington runs. Vanotti’s blow to deep center field brought home two more for a 5-2 Raiders lead.
“It’s been tough this year,” said Vanotti. “I had a thumb injury for the last four games, so this is really my first game back.”
The Raider weren’t done. Banche singled as the leadoff batter in the top of the sixth. Casey Navin sacrificed him to second. Gaskins drew his third walk of the day and Pataky singled up the middle, loading the bases with one out.
Root hit to Watertown reliever Boivin on what could have been another Watertown double play. Instead, Boivin threw home for a fielder’s choice on Torrington’s lead runner; the throw to first for the second out sailed into right field for the last two Raider runs.
“We didn’t make the plays,” said Coach Valentino.
This time, aggressive Torrington running and balls in play did.