NEW FAIRFIELD — There is a cultural shift taking place for Brookfield, as wins that were considered improbable just weeks ago have become more expected.
Sam Weigel, a starter since his freshman season, has brought an element of unselfishness to a program that has struggled for a long time.
“Sam has been a captain since he was a sophomore,” Brookfield coach Matt Hart said. “He is just a leader. It was probably tough for him early on, trying to be the captain when seniors maybe weren’t going to listen to him. It didn’t take everyone long to realize that he is the real deal and true leader.”
There are moments in a season that a team can look back on in hindsight as a turning point, and in Brookfield’s 6-4 win over New Fairfield on Friday, Weigel supplied that moment.
⬆️6: Sam Weigel sends one into the trees and unloads the bases with a Grand Slam, and he’s fired up #ctbase
Brookfield 6, New Fairfield 1 pic.twitter.com/WfRgmlCOMU
— Will Aldam (@AldamWill) May 7, 2021
With a one run lead and the bases loaded in the sixth inning, Weigel connected on a grand slam to propel Brookfield past the Rebels.
“I was waiting for it, he was due,” Hart said. “He has been in big spots before as a four-year varsity player. He is the life, soul and backbone of this team. He can go 0-3 and strikeout three times and he still never gets down.”
“It felt amazing, but I am more excited about the team win,” Weigel said. “It was a great win and coming in we knew this was going to be a big game, and we came to play so I am more proud of that.”
Weigel’s team first mentality has caught on like wildfire, a factor that has separated this team from season’s past.
“This season has been really special and sometimes words can’t even describe it,” Weigel said. “One through eighteen, everyone wants to be here and everybody wants to get a win, especially a win like this.”
As Weigel crossed the plate, there appeared to be a shift within the Brookfield dugout. One symbolic swing transformed Brookfield from hopeful contender to hungry believer.
“I have believed in us for a while and our talent and skill level are starting to show,” Hart said. “We still have something to prove because we haven’t even been near the top in a very long time, since around the 70s and early 80s.”
While the wins continue to pile up, Brookfield’s postseason preparation has begun to creep into the game plan.
Brookfield 6, New Fairfield 4 #ctbase
Silva slams the door with his signature backflip… and Brookfield keeps rolling pic.twitter.com/7BDYLqf5do
— Will Aldam (@AldamWill) May 7, 2021
“We have taken an every day is a new day approach,” Hart said. “After they go to bed tonight, we are 0-0. We are keeping that mentality but it’s beginning to expand into every game could be the last. We are now trying to replicate a playoff game feel, because that is where we are headed.”
Friday had all the makings of a playoff game, one that has unequivocally shown that Brookfield’s chances are truly are as realistic as any other team’s in the SWC.
“We are really proud of the fact that we are building a new culture here,” Weigel said. “We are setting a standard for the younger guys and we are establishing a winning program in Brookfield. That is something that is really important to us.”
The unselfish Bobcat lineup has shown it can do damage to any caliber pitcher at any time, showing a unique ability to manufacture runs.
“Coach has really preached a pass the bat mentality,” Weigel said. “We always try to put the ball in play, and get the bat to the next guy to keep the line moving.”
With tournament time approaching, Brookfield could get a boost from the return of its ace Jack Devin, who has been sidelined this season rehabbing a torn meniscus.
In Devin’s absence, arms like Matthew Guilbeault and Gabriel Silva have carried the weight.
Guilbeault allowed just one run in 4 2/3 innings against a potent New Fairfield offense.
“He executed today and hit his spots,” Hart said. “He kept guys off balance, and that is what we preach. When we locate, it doesn’t matter if our guys don’t throw the hardest.”
Silva earned his third save of the season, closing out the final 2 1/3 innings and breaking out his signature celebration.
The back-flipping scrappy Bobcats are now 11-2 overall and 9-0 in league play entering the final four games of the regular season.
New Fairfield falls to 9-3 overall, and will bring ace Braden Quinn (UConn) to the mound to get back on track against Barlow and Matt Scott (Stanford).