Sophomore Michael Belcher tossed a no-hitter over nine innings with 15 strikeouts to lead the Woodland High baseball team to a 1-0 win over Naugatuck in a Naugatuck Valley League game on April 22.
Tyler Lato’s fielder’s choice to first base in the bottom of the ninth scored Tyler Giambra with the game-winner.
Woodland made two errors in the infield game to prevent the perfect game.
Belcher’s nine-inning shutout lowered his ERA to 1.64 with 27 strikeouts in 17 innings. As a freshman, Belcher posted an 8-1 record with an 0.65 ERA. He is committed to pitch at Bryant University.
“It was the best I’ve seen him pitch,” said Woodland coach Steve Bainer. “He has worked really hard to be able to mix his pitches. He stayed ahead in the counts and it showed today. Everything kind of clicked.”
Bainer went out to the mound with two outs in the top of the ninth in a scoreless game. Due to the 110-pitch limit, Belcher could face only one more batter.
“I informed Michael that he had a no-hitter and that this would be his last batter,” said Bainer. “He said he didn’t know that he had a no-hitter going. After the game, he thought he had a chance, but said he was not focused on it.”
Belcher got the final batter to fly out to center fielder Ryan Montini.
Belcher’s counterpart, Brady Evon, pitched 7 1/3 innings for the Greyhounds, allowing one hit, three walks and eight strikeouts.
Montini had a single and Darren Gasparri added a double for the Hawks.
Other recent results for the Hawks included a 16-13 nonleague win over St. Joseph on April 23, a 9-4 victory over Seymour on April 25, a 3-2 loss to Watertown on April 26, and a 12-2 win over Derby on April 27. Woodland was 10-2 entering the last three weeks of the regular season.
Naugy entered the last few weeks with a 6-4 record after losing to Oxford, 8-3 on April 25, and beating Ansonia, 8-6 on April 27.
Woodland softball rallies to stay perfect
The Hawks rallied from an early 4-0 deficit and beat Naugatuck, 5-4, on April 22 in a rematch of last year’s Naugatuck Valley League final.
Riley Kane got the Woodland offense going with a solo home run. Bella Kraemer continued the attack with a double, two singles and an RBI. Breanna Thurston singled, doubled and drove in a run while Kylie Bulinski and Sam Sosnovich added RBI singles.
Sosnovich gave up four runs — the first runs allowed by Woodland this season — on four hits, struck out 13 and walked one.
Aryn Bombery launched a three-run home run for the Greyhounds. Kendall Allen and Felicia Salvati each had a hit.
The Hawks bounced back to playing shutout ball after the close call with Naugy, pitching a 12-0 shutout against Seymour on April 25 and a 16-0 shutout of Derby on April 27. Woodland was 12-0 entering the last few weeks of the season.
The Greyhounds lost their next game, 3-2 against Oxford, before rebounding to beat Ansonia, 16-1 on April 27. Naugy entered the home stretch with a 6-5 record.
Kyle Brennan contributed to this report.