The Connecticut Senior Babe Ruth state champs got off to a shaky start in the New England regional tournament Saturday.
Housatonic Valley had to take on Cape Cod, Mass., who won the past four regional titles. While there was no doubt, as Housatonic Valley head coach Bob Neth said, that Cape Cod was a very good team, Housy did not have the opener they planned on having.
Housatonic Valley, which is made up of players from Naugatuck, Seymour, Shelton and Milford, made eight errors in the game. The eight errors accounted for nine unearned runs in a 12-0 loss.
Cape Cod had only seven hits, but took advantage of every fielding mistake from Housy to win their first game of the double-elimination tournament.
“In those kinds of games, you want to know exactly how good you are against very good teams,” Neth said. “We are better than that.”
The game was originally supposed to be played the night before. Due to a rain-out, the game was pushed to early Saturday, which Neth said had a pretty significant impact.
“We were all amped up and ready to go,” Neth said. “Then it rained. Also, about 75 percent of the team took the two-hour drive from Worcestor back to Connecticut just to get up and come right back to Worcestor the next day. I think it took a toll on these young kids.”
Due to the inclement weather, Housy was forced to play a second game on Saturday. However, the representatives of Connecticut rebounded strongly in a must-win game, as they defeated Vermont, 11-3.
Four players had a multi-hit game, including Dan Godette with three hits and four RBI. Matt Giglio also added a two-RBI single. Craig McNamara picked up the win on the mound.
Housy’s victory celebration was short-lived.
On Sunday, Housy lost a tough game, 5-1, to Eastern Mass, which eliminated them from the tournament.
Evan Pelliccia, Housatonic Valley’s number one, got the start on the mound and did not allow an earned run the whole game.
Housy allowed one unearned run in the second inning, and that was the only run of the game until the sixth inning.
“We absolutely had a chance to win that ball game,” Neth said. “It was 1-0 for the longest time, but we had some costly mistakes.”
Those costly mistakes came in the sixth inning. With two outs, Housy made a huge error that would lead to four runs coming across by the end of the inning. Just the inning before, Housy got three hits but didn’t score as a runner was thrown out between third and home.
The sixth inning brought three more hits for Housatonic Valley, but only one run. Nick D’Agostino had two hits while Bryan Rossetti, McNamara and Peliccia had a hit each.
It was a tough tournament for the state champions, but Neth emphasized the importance of his players just having fun when it is all said and done.
“We like to win, but it’s not do or die,” Neth said. “This tournament had a lot of ‘what-ifs’ but for certain kids who never played in something like this before, it was a fun experience.”