Comeback falls short for Hawks

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Woodland’s Stephen Baeder delivers a pitch Monday afternoon versus Seymour in Beacon Falls. Baeder pitched a complete game and allowed six hits, but the Wildcats won 2-1. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI
Woodland’s Stephen Baeder delivers a pitch Monday afternoon versus Seymour in Beacon Falls. Baeder pitched a complete game and allowed six hits, but the Wildcats won 2-1. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

BEACON FALLS — Scoring three runs in three games is a tough way to start the season.

It’s the way the Woodland baseball has begun this spring, and the Hawks are 0-3 after a 2-1 loss to Seymour on Monday.

Woodland suffered a 4-0 loss to St. Paul in the season opener and a 14-2 defeat to Watertown last Friday. The Hawks nearly earned their first victory Monday but a seventh-inning rally fell short.

Trailing, 2-1, entering the final frame, Mike Kenney lined a one-out double into right-center field. After pinch hitter Jared Grillo flew out just feet in front of the right-field warning track, Anthony Scirpo reached on an error to give Woodland runners on first and second.

Seymour’s Mike Tuscano replaced Nick Kuzia on the mound and induced a groundout by Tanner Kingsley to end the game.

Woodland’s only run came in the fifth inning. Scirpo reached when he was hit by a pitch and almost immediately stole second. Kingsley lined a Kuzia pitch back up the middle to plate Scirpo and make it a 2-1 game.

That was just about it for the Hawks’ offense. Woodland tallied just four hits, two of them coming by Kenney. They stranded runners in scoring position in the first, second, fifth and seventh.

Woodland coach Mike Kingsley recognized a chief reason for the Hawks’ offensive struggles over the first week of this season.

“We’re a team that prides ourselves on speed, but we’re hitting fly-ball outs,” he said. “We’re averaging 10 fly-ball outs a game and that’s not a winning formula. Until we start hitting line drives and getting it on the ground, we’re going to struggle.”

Woodland second baseman Joe Poeta hauls in a pop fly Monday afternoon versus Seymour in Beacon Falls. The Hawks fell to the Wildcats, 2-1. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI
Woodland second baseman Joe Poeta hauls in a pop fly Monday afternoon versus Seymour in Beacon Falls. The Hawks fell to the Wildcats, 2-1. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

Woodland’s defense was of major concern in the first two games but was not a problem against the Wildcats.

“It was fantastic today,” Kingsley said. “We’re coming off 14 errors in the first two games compared to zero today. That was a step in the right direction.”

Steve Baeder delivered Woodland’s best pitching performance of the young season. He allowed six hits in a complete-game effort. The only trouble he saw was in the fourth, when three straight singles loaded the bases before Kuzia drilled a two-run single to left. Jake Walkinshaw and Tuscano scored on the play, which turned out to be all the Wildcats needed.

“It was an outstanding pitching performance by Stephen,” Kingsley said.

The Hawks broke out of their offensive slump and into the win column Wednesday with a 14-3 win over Derby. Woodland will host Ansonia on Friday. They will head to league favorite Wolcott on Monday and host nonconference opponent Jonathan Law on Tuesday.