Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Sports

Rams Off to Red-Hot Start on the Ballfield

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Senior captain Jake Butler tossed a complete-game shutout when the Old Saybrook baseball team blanked Coginchaug by a 5-0 score on April 11. File photo by Kelley Fryer/Harbor News

Senior captain Jake Butler tossed a complete-game shutout when the Old Saybrook baseball team blanked Coginchaug by a 5-0 score on April 11. (File photo by Kelley Fryer/Harbor News)

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Senior Nick Scalzo and the Rams improved their record to 5-0 by winning all three of their contests on the ballfield last week. File photo by Kelley Fryer/Harbor News

Senior Nick Scalzo and the Rams improved their record to 5-0 by winning all three of their contests on the ballfield last week. (File photo by Kelley Fryer/Harbor News)

Ryan Fraser couldn’t have asked for a better start to his first season as head coach of the Old Saybrook baseball team. The Rams are sporting a record of 5-0 on the year and allowed just two runs in their three victories last week.

After winning its first two games of the season, Old Saybrook claimed victories against Coginchaug (5-0), Morgan (3-1), and North Branford (6-1) in last week’s action. While Coach Fraser feels happy about the Rams’ early success, he wants his players to stay humble in their approach as the season unfolds.

“We had a great week this week, going 3-0, but the guys know that we cannot get too high with success or too low with failure,” Fraser said. “I want to help these seniors accomplish things they haven’t gotten the chance to yet. I want this team to love coming to the field every day to play with one another and get better collectively. I want to start building a baseball culture in Old Saybrook similar to the culture adapted by many of their other successful athletic programs.”

In the Rams’ first contest of the week, they hosted Coginchaug on April 11 and came away with a 5-0 victory. Senior captain Jake Butler tossed a complete-game shutout for Old Saybrook, striking out 5 batters over 7 innings of work. Butler allowed only 4 hits and 3 walks while going the distance on the mound for the Rams.

Senior center fielder Nick Scalzo went 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI in the victory. Sophomore catcher Connor Lane had a hit with 2 runs scored, while sophomore designated hitter Auggie Albert and senior center fielder Nick Rothman both had a hit and scored a run for Coach Fraser’s club. The Rams took advantage of some Coginchaug errors to score a few runs in the win.

“We played a defending state champion who has been a power program in our conference year in and year out. This was a big one in terms of our team’s confidence and their faith in their ability and hard work,” said Fraser.

“Jake Butler started for us and was tremendous in this game. He kept their lineup off-balance for a majority of the game. That is a team with one of the better offensives in the league, and for Jake to do that was a big-time performance by a guy who was locked in from the get-go,” he continued.” Defensively, we made the plays we needed to and got some big hits by Nick Scalzo.”

Two days later, the Rams traveled to Clinton to take on Morgan and earned a 3-1 win. Senior Noah Grace scattered 5 hits over 6 innings, giving up just 1 run and striking out 8 to get the victory. Lane came in for the save and fanned two batters in the seventh.

Senior captain shortstop Noah Hester went 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored for Old Saybrook. Butler was 2-for-3 with a double, a run, and an RBI.

“This was another impressive pitching performance by one of our seniors, Noah Grace. Noah threw six strong innings and competed throughout against a tough Morgan team,” Coach Fraser said. “We grinded out at-bats offensively and took advantage of situational hitting to muster three runs against one of the best pitchers in the league in Garret Garbinski for Morgan.”

The Rams closed out their week by posting a 6-1 home win over North Branford on April 15. Senior Carson Brown pitched 5 innings for the win, allowing 1 unearned run on 1 hit with 3 strikeouts. Butler and Lane threw the final two innings for Old Saybrook.

Lane also went 2-for-4 with a double, a run scored, and 2 RBI at the plate in the game. Albert was 2-for-2 with a double and an RBI, while Grace went 2-for-3 with a run scored.

Coach Fraser said that the Rams’ made a few defensive miscues in the field, but added that he was happy to see Brown hang tough on the mound and make “some huge pitches in big spots to keep the lead intact.”

“As I told him, that’s what seniors do,” said Fraser.

Brown, Butler, and Hester are leading the way as Old Saybrook’s senior captains for the 2022 season. Butler earned All-Shoreline Conference Honorable Mention recognition last year. Coach Fraser said that each member of the trio is bringing a lot to the table for the Rams both on and off the field this spring.

“Hester is a middle infielder who has swung the bat with confidence to start the year,” Fraser said. “Jake has been awesome on the mound and offensively. Carson is our vocal leader and has had some good outings for us on the mound this year.”

Old Saybrook’s senior class also features Scalzo, Rothman, and Grace. The two juniors on the squad are Marlin Stavola and John Witczak. The Rams’ sophomore corps also includes Nick Denovellis and Ed Devaney. Old Saybrook’s freshman class includes Connor Barry, Noah Hubbard, Griffin Velardi, Charlie Carmichael, and Andrew Moshier.

Fraser is expecting his seniors to be the hardest workers on his team as they try to build a winning culture and enthusiasm for baseball. While he’s pleased with his squad’s solid start, Fraser knows that there is still a lot of baseball left to be played in 2022.

“They have been great to this point from the minute I took over. I am really proud of the seniors, but they know the job isn’t done, and they need to continue working hard each day,” said Fraser.

“My hope for the season is just try to get better as the season goes on. We need to control what we can individually and collectively,” he continued. “We need to play with passion and trust the work we put in every single time we step on the field.”


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