Woodland baseball refocuses after first loss

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BY KYLE BRENNAN
CITIZEN’S NEWS
The first loss of the season brought upon a moment of reckoning for the Woodland baseball team.
After suffering a 7-4 loss to Wolcott in eight innings April 16, the Hawks returned to their home field two days later for what they expected to be a batting practice session before a trip to Derby.
There were no swings. Instead, there were a lot of thoughts.
“There was a very real conversation,” Woodland coach Steve Bainer said. “For my first time as a head coach, I had batting practice scheduled and we canceled it. There were some conversations we needed to have as a team about who we are, what our goals are, and how we get there. That path is not going to be a clean path. Baseball teams don’t run the table. Our guys had to understand that adversity was going to show up at some point.”
Although Woodland entered that game 4-0, Bainer admitted the Hawks hadn’t played great defense, come up with enough timely hits, or consistently thrown strikes. In two games after the loss, Woodland took steps in the right direction.
In a 13-0 win over Derby on April 18, Ryan Donnelly scattered three hits and a walk with seven strikeouts in the five-inning win. Tyler Giambra and Ryan Montini each had two hits and two runs while combining to drive in three runs.
In a 10-0 win over Ansonia on April 20, Montini allowed only two hits with four strikeouts, and he had two hits with a run and an RBI. Darren Gasparri singled twice, scored, and had four RBI for Woodland (6-1).
“I like the focus our guys have shown since [the loss to Wolcott],” Bainer said. “We learned that you have to bring it every day in this league. You can’t assume you’re going to win a game. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how good or bad you think you are — you have to play the game.”
Woodland was set for an April 22 rivalry game against Naugatuck before hosting St. Joseph on April 23. An important home clash with Holy Cross awaits April 29, and Woodland will visit league favorite St. Paul on May 9.