As the spring sports season wound down to its final two weeks, West Haven’s teams sought to position themselves for postseason play.
Down to its last three outs, the West Haven baseball team had one last rally in it. Scoring three times in the seventh inning, West Haven rallied to top cross-town rival Notre Dame 6-4 at Quigley.
With the victory, West Haven improved to 11-4 on the season.
Trailing 4-3 entering the seventh inning, Mike Boni beat out a grounder in the hole to second for an infield hit and Dylan Supan followed with a double to the gap in right-center to put a pair of runners in scoring position.
Freshman Ray Gilbert followed with a single to left to score Boni and even the game at 4, before Supan scored on a passed ball with two outs for a 5-4 advantage. Tyler DeSanty followed with a run-scoring single for a 6-4 lead.
Supan relieved starter Hunter Axelrod to start the seventh and needed just nine pitches, eight of which were strikes, to preserve the win.
Gilbert led the West Haven offense with three hits, two runs scored, and a run batted in. Supan had two hits and two runs scored, DeSanty added two hits, a run batted in, and a run scored, while Izzo and Jones also had two hits and a run batted in each.
Axelrod tossed six innings of six-hit ball, allowing four earned runs. The West Haven pitcher walked two and struck out one.
Junior Gianni Gambardella had four hits, including a triple and a home run, as West Haven topped Platt Tech, 12-8, on Senior Night at Piurek Field in West Haven Tuesday evening. Gambardella drove in four runs and scored three times as the Westies improved to 12-4 on the season.
Senior Dan Izzo added three hits and scored three times, while DeSanty and Axelrod also scored twice each in West Haven’s sixth straight victory.
The Panthers jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning off West Haven’s Bryan Barrington, who was making his first start of the season, but the Westies battled back to take a 5-4 lead after two innings and never looked back.
Supan picked up his fourth victory of the season and Gambardella knocked in the game-winning run as West Haven improved to 13-4 with a 3-2 walk-off victory over Law in eight innings at Piurek. The victory was West Haven’s seventh in a row.
Supan (4-1) went the distance for West Haven, allowing two fourth inning runs by Law. The West Haven junior, who threw 72 of his 97 pitches for strikes, walked one and struck out four.
Trailing 2-0, West Haven rallied to even the game with a pair of runs in the sixth and the winner in the eighth.
In the sixth, DeSanty led off with a single, and Jones walked with two outs. Gambardella singled to left to load the bases, before Boni’s grounder to first was misplayed, allowing both DeSanty and Jones to score and even the game at two.
Supan got a double play ball to get out of the seventh, and West Haven stranded a runner at third in the bottom of the seventh to force extra innings.
After Supan retired Law in order in the top of the eighth, West Haven turned to the top of its order in the bottom of the inning to pull out the victory.
Izzo and Jones reached on bunt singles to start the frame, and Gambardella lined a single to center to plate Izzo with the winning run.
The late rally helped a West Haven team which did nothing offensively over the first five innings, getting just a single by Hunter Axelrod in the third and a walk by Gambardella in the fourth.
When Hamden and West Haven renew the rivalry on the baseball diamond, it is always a big deal. Coming into a Thursday evening contest, Hamden was riding a 10-game winning streak and West Haven owned a seven-game hot streak of its own.
With all that, plus the fact each team will be playing in the Southern Connecticut Conference and state tournaments in the coming weeks, one had to imagine all the hype would be between the lines.
While that was true, one factor unseated this huge SCC match-up. In a game which pitted a pair of SCC powers, it was only fitting a man who has meant so much to both towns had his day as the Green Dragons and Westies clashed in the inaugural Ray Guarino Baseball Series.
The 45-year-old Guarino played for West Haven High under George Hanchette, and also coached the Hamden American Legion Post 88 team for seven seasons. In the skipper’s last season, his team moved on to the Southern Super Regionals in the Legion tournament in 2019.
Guarino was on hand to present West Haven with the first victory in the series as the Westies took advantage of an uncharacteristically sloppy Hamden team in a 7-2 SCC interdivision victory at Piurek Field in West Haven.
“Ron Luneau came up with this idea,” Guarino said. “I can’t think of a greater honor by these two schools in a sport that is so near and dear to my heart. This means more than anything to me. I appreciate the people from Hamden and West Haven for what they have done for me over the last few years.”
The much-anticipated battle between Hamden, ranked fifth in the GameTimeCT Top 10 poll, and the Westies came down to West Haven taking advantage of its opportunities and capitalizing on three Hamden errors.
A clutch two-out rally in the sixth inning gave Gambardella all the run support he needed. Leading by a run, West Haven scored four times to put the game away.
“This is big for us, especially coming off a six-win season two years ago,” Gambardella said. “This is big going into the playoffs.”
Gambardella finished with a three-hitter. The junior pitcher struck out six and walked three in the win. Boni led the Westies with a pair of hits.
The formula for success for the West Haven baseball team this season has been stellar pitching, solid defense, and timely hitting. West Haven is not about to change what is not broken.
Behind the five-hit pitching of Axelrod, No. 4 West Haven nipped fifth-seeded Xavier, 2-1, in the quarterfinals of the Southern Connecticut Conference tournament at Piurek Field in West Haven Monday afternoon. West Haven avenged a pair of losses to the Falcons this season and advances to the semifinals Tuesday afternoon against No. 8 North Haven, a 3-1 upset winner over top-seeded Hand.
The Falcons scored once on two hits in the first inning off Axelrod, before the senior was in control, allowing three hits the rest of the way. Axelrod walked one and struck out five in the win
West Haven is headed to the Southern Connecticut Conference finals. Behind the 3-hit pitching of Gambardella, fourth-seeded West Haven cruised to a 7-1 victory over No. 8 North Haven in the SCC semifinals Tuesday afternoon at Piurek Field in West Haven.
West Haven (16-5) was making its first SCC title game appearance since 2003 and picked the wrong time to play its worst defensive game of the year. The Westies committed four errors in the game, leading to three unearned runs and a 4-2 Jesuit lead through four innings.
“The difference is this,” Luneau said. “We made a couple of costly errors and they capitalized. I tip my cap to them. They played solid defense, especially in the infield. They are a very good baseball team.”
Leading 4-2, the Jesuits scored three much-needed runs in the fifth with two outs as Strazza delivered Fairfield Prep’s second triple of the inning to clear the bases. James Aselta started the fifth inning rally with a one-out triple and was followed by a walk to Mike Iannazzo and Pierce Cowles getting hit by a pitch.
“It was not one of our better games,” Luneau said. “We can’t make the mistakes we made tonight and expect to win.”
Supan was the hard-luck loser for the Westies as his defense let him down with four errors. Supan tossed five innings, allowing seven hits and seven runs, four of which were earned. The West Haven junior walked four and struck out three.
“I thought he pitched well, maybe one of his better games of the year,” Luneau said. “We didn’t make some plays and they capitalized. That’s the difference. That is one of the better hitting teams we have faced all year.”
On the cusp of falling to .500, the West Haven softball team showed the heart it has played with all season. Scoring twice in the bottom of the seventh inning, West Haven rallied to defeat Guilford, 5-4, at Biondi Field in West Haven Monday evening.
With the victory, West Haven improved to 9-7 on the year.
Mia Rubirosa and Juliana Petruzziello set the tone of the contest from the top of the order with three hits apiece. Rubirosa also scored three times, and Petruzziello drove in a pair.
Neve Krajcir picked up her fourth victory of the year, allowing two earned runs, while walking one and striking out eight.
The West Haven softball team concluded its regular season with a split of a doubleheader in North Haven Wednesday evening. The Westies saw North Haven post a 4-3 walk-off victory in the opener, before West Haven jumped out to an early lead to win the nightcap 7-4.
Beurer led the offense with three hits, one run batted in, and one run scored, while Rubirosa, Krajcir, and Brianna Miller all had two hits apiece.
Miller led the offense with three hits, three runs scored, and a run batted in, while Rubirosa had three hits, one run batted in, and one run scored. Krajcir and Shyanne Raccio each had two hits in the win.
The West Haven boys tennis team picked up its first victory of the year and improved to 1-13 with a 4-3 victory over Wilbur Cross.
West Haven won all three doubles matches to take home the victory. Top-seeded Murtaza Amjad and Ahmed Mohamednour defeated Adam Shargawe and Paulette Jara, 6-2, 7-6, Second-seeded Chris Leum and Robert Vets topped Natalie Quiroz Duran and Edison Contreras, 6-2, 6-2, and third-seeded Valentin Diaz and Driton Imerukaj defeated Karen Jan and Jacqueline Hernandez, 6-0. 6-1.
In singles play, top-seeded Jacob Martin defeated West Haven’s Punarvasan Garani, 6-0, 6-1. West Haven’s Ben Sager picked up his team’s lone singles victory by topping Jayden Rivera, 6-1, 6-0, while Lily Goren of Wilbur Cross defeated Yousef Mohame,d 4-6, 6-1, 6-2, and Tresar Mkambilwa of Wilbur Cross topped Mustansir Jamalee, 6-1, 6-1.
West Haven fell to 1-15 as it was swept in a rare doubleheader match with Career in New Haven. The Westies lost both matches, 4-3.
In the first match at Edgewood Park, Career’s Marcus Duff defeated Garani Martin Duff topped West Haven’s Sage,r 8-1, Sam Padilla defeated Abdul Mohamednoor, 8-1, and West Haven won by forfeit in the fourth slot.
In doubles action, Career’s Terry Giles and Osania Brown defeated West Haven’s Leum and Vets, 8-0, and West Haven took home the next match by forfeit.
Career also topped the Westies in the other match between the two teams on the day.
In singles action, Marcus Duff again defeated Garani, 8-1, Giles topped Sager, 8-3, Brown defeated Hayat Khan, 8-6, and West Haven won the fourth singles match by forfeit.
In doubles play, Career’s Sam Padilla and Martin Duff defeated Diaz and Imerukaj 8-0. West Haven also had forfeit victories in doubles play as well.
The West Haven girls lacrosse team fell to 0-11-2 with a 9-3 loss at Hamden Tuesday evening. The loss was West Haven’s fourth in a row,
Olivia O’Mara scored all three goals in defeat for the Westies. Ryan Twohill and Kaitlyn Nutcher each scored three goals for Hamden.
It took until the final game of the regular season, but the West Haven girls lacrosse team is in the win column. Behind three goals and one assist apiece from Madison Lentine and Mackenzie Gardner, West Haven topped Shelton 11-10 at Ken Strong Stadium in West Haven.
West Haven trailed 6-5 at the half, before rallying for the victory. Goalie Amber Militrano made four saves for the Westies.
Olivia O’Mara scored twice and added an assist, Caitlin Welch had a goal and an assist, and Melissa Tsakonas and Julia Tsakonas each had a goal and an assist in the win.
West Haven had a 21-12 shot advantage in the game.
For all your West Haven sporting news throughout the year, including game articles by Mike Madera, highlights, photos and more, visit www.westieblue.com.