HIGGANUM – The Woodland baseball squad committed a season-high six errors and allowed eight runs—one earned—as the No. 15-seeded Hawks were eliminated from the Class M state tournament by No. 2 Haddam-Killingworth last Thursday, 8-0.
Woodland out-hit the Cougars, 8-5, but six costly errors throughout the game accounted for seven of the eight H-K runs. Kyle Georgia started and lasted 2 1/3 innings, allowing no earned runs. He was removed after a rain delay lasting nearly an hour.
Tom Arsenault relieved Georgia when action resumed and allowed the only earned run of the game on a sacrifice fly in the fourth.
Ryan Mariotti and Georgia both had two hits for the Hawks, who had runners on base in each of the first five innings but couldn’t come up with hits in key situations.
Georgia and Mike Diurno both singled with two outs in the first, but Ryan Genua lined out to shortstop to squander Woodland’s first opportunity of the day.
“I thought we hit well, just not in the right spots,” Georgia said. “We needed that one hit to get us on top early and make them play from behind but we just couldn’t get a timely hit.”
The Hawks had a great chance to score in the second as Lou Enama and Mariotti both singled to lead off the inning. After Anthony Pacileo bunted the runners over, Connor Chura and Jack DeBiase both failed to hit the ball out of the infield, stranding two more runners to keep the game scoreless.
Errors began to plague the Black and Gold in the second as both of H-K’s runs were unearned thanks to a pair of Woodland miscues.
The Hawks fumbled around more in the third, committing three more errors leading to five unearned runs.
“We’re a young team and not many guys have played in such a big game,” Georgia said. “We had to get the jitters out but by the time we did, it was too late.”
A nearly hour-long rain delay took Georgia off the hill after allowing just three hits and no earned runs in the final start of his Woodland career. Arsenault relieved Georgia and struggled to find his control early, allowing a 3-0 deficit to swell to 7-0, before settling down.
“At that point we were only down, 3-0,” Georgia said of the rain delay. “When the rain came we were having bad defensive timing so I thought it was a good thing just to get our mindsets and focus back. I think it helped us out so we could calm down and just play baseball. We ended the game strong and I was happy we didn’t just lie down and quit.”
The Hawks did play better on defense after the rain delay, committing only one more error in a non-consequential spot in the sixth. Arsenault allowed the only earned run of the day on a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded in the fourth.
Woodland stranded two runners in the fifth, the last runners of the day for the Hawks, who finished 15-9 overall. Despite the solid record, disappointment followed the final game of the year.
“I feel that the season was a disappointment because our three main goals were to win the division with the league and win the states,” Genua said. “As we all know we were unsuccessful in achieving those goals. If you do not achieve any of your goals you cannot consider a season successful.”