The West Haven baseball team opened the 2019 season by winning two of its first three games.
The Westies began the campaign with a 6-5 road victory over Wilbur Cross. Led by two hits from freshman Gianni Gambardella and a solid pitching outing from Juan Contreras, the Westies improved to 1-0 on the year.
Contreras went the distance, allowing seven hits and three earned runs, while striking out six and walking three.
“Both teams played extremely hard and tough today,” West Haven coach Ron Luneau said. “We got one more break than Cross did. Our seniors stepped up in their leadership. It was a very good baseball game.”
Trailing 1-0, West Haven took a 2-1 lead in the second. Mike Tonucci led off with a walk, Mike Boni reached on an error, and Tonucci scored on an error. With two outs, Kaden Morgillo singled to score Boni.
West Haven increased the lead to 4-1 in the third. With one out, Chris Cavallaro was hit by a pitch and scored on a triple by Contreras. Tonucci drove in Contreras for a three-run advantage.
“Our seniors are showing our younger guys how to compete,” Luneau said.
The Westies took a 5-1 lead in the fifth when Dom Cambino singled, moved to third on a ground out by Cavallaro, and scored on an error.
Cross scored twice in the bottom of the fifth to get within 5-3, but West Haven got that run back in the sixth. Gambardella singled with one out, went to third on an error and scored on a ground out by Hunter Axelrod.
West Haven won its second straight contest to start the year with a 13-7 decision over Platt Tech Thursday afternoon in Milford.
The Westies used a balanced attack as eight different players were in the hit column, eight different players drove in runs, and nine different players scored at least one run. West Haven also turned to its youth to help in the win.
Tonucci led the way with three hits, three runs batted in, and two runs scored, while sophomore Tyler Jones had three hits, drove in one run, and scored a run. Seniors Cambino and Cavallaro each had two hits and drove in a run, while Cambino scored twice and Cavallaro scored once.
Tyler Green pitched four innings, allowing six hits and four runs, two of which were earned, walking two and striking out two. Gambardella pitched the final three innings, allowing three runs on three hits, while walking two and striking out three.
The Westies scored three times in the first inning as Cambino led off with a single, stole second, and scored on a triple by Contreras. Tonucci singled to score Contreras, before Tonucci stole second and scored on a single by Axelrod.
“We had a problem throughout the game picking up the ball, but we overcame that with some timely hits,” Luneau said. “Our pitching was solid, but we need to make more plays behind our pitchers. Platt Tech turned out to be very stubborn. Their coach deserves a lot of credit for that.”
After Platt Tech got two runs back in the bottom of the inning, West Haven took a 5-2 lead in the second. Morgillo walked, stole second. and scored on a single to left by Jones. Cavallaro doubled to score Jones for a three run lead.
Leading 5-4 in the fifth, West Haven added another run when Cambino scored on a sacrifice fly by Contreras. West Haven increased the lead to 7-4 in the sixth as Gambardella doubled and scored on a sacrifice fly by Boni.
The Panthers evened the game in the bottom of the sixth, before West Haven rallied with six in the seventh.
Cavallaro singled, Contreras walked, and both scored on a double by Tonucci. Axelrod followed with a walk, Gambardella reached on an error to score Tonucci, Boni singled to score Axelrod and Gambardella, and Cambino grounded out to score Boni.
West Haven was looking to continue its offensive surge which started the season when the Westies took on cross-town rival Notre Dame Monday afternoon. Instead, it was the Green Knights who had the hot bats.
Using 13 hits off three West Haven pitchers and taking advantage of a pair of West Haven errors, Notre Dame cruised to a 10-3 victory over the Westies at Piurek Field.
The Green Knights handed West Haven (2-1) its first loss of the season by breaking open a tight game with six runs in the fourth inning, and holding a hot West Haven offense to just two hits in the game.
Notre Dame took a 2-0 lead in the second as Max Mariano singled with two outs to score a pair, before blowing the game open with six runs in the fourth.
Notre Dame sophomore Zachary Peters retired the first ten batters of the game before Cavallaro and Contreras walked with one out in the fourth. Peters escaped without any damage as he got a pair of ground outs to end the frame.
Trailing 10-0, West Haven finally got on the board in the fifth. Axelrod and Branden Coggins walked with one out, and Cambino reached on an error to score Axelrod.
The Westies added another run in the sixth as Contreras singled, stole third and scored on a ground out by Tonucci. West Haven scored its final run in the seventh as Steven Byrd doubled and scored on a ground out to short by Jake Lentine.