BEACON FALLS — Even in the first two games of the year, the Woodland baseball team has already experienced the ups and downs of the hardball season.
The Hawks, who enter this season with an experienced squad full of high expectations, suffered a 14-1 rout against nonconference opponent Wilbur Cross in the April 1 opener before hanging on for a walk-off, 6-5 win over Sacred Heart in the Naugatuck Valley League opener April 2.
In an at-times sloppy game against the Hearts, the teams exchanged leads midway through the game before Sacred Heart tied up the game in the late innings. In the bottom of the seventh, Alex Kalentek reached, moved to second on a bunt, and came home when the Hearts’ second baseman threw away a ground ball hit by Jason Claiborn for the walk-off run.
Claiborn and Colby Linnell both led the Hawks with matching three-hit, two-RBI efforts. Justin Butterworth struck out nine in five strong innings before being relieved by Nick DeLucia. Zach Bedryczuk came on in the seventh to help the Hawks escape a bases-loaded jam and keep the score at 5-5.
Woodland fell to 1-2 with a 3-1 loss to Wolcott on April 6. Claiborn allowed six hits with five strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings for Woodland. Bedryczuk had a single and a double.
“We definitely have room for improvement,” Claiborn said. “We made some mistakes in the first two games, but we just need to keep working. I think once it starts clicking then we’re going to be good.”
Woodland will play St. Paul on Tuesday before hosting Crosby on Wednesday. The Hawks will open NVL Copper Division play Friday against Derby.
Editor’s note:This story has been updated from the version published in the April 11 edition of the Citizen’s News to include information on games played after press time.