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Baseball Team Tangles With Conference Foes

Published: April 19, 2017

The best remedy for a tough loss in sports is a quick turnaround with a bounce-back effort.

Newtown High School’s baseball team rebounded from a heart-breaking 6-5 loss at Ridgefield on April 11 with a hard-fought 4-0 blanking of visiting Masuk of Monroe two days later.

The Nighthawks were on a roll, winners of three straight games to begin the season, and just one out away from sealing consecutive victory number four out of the gate when Ridgefield took advantage of some fortuitous bounces, including a grounder that kicked of off third base, and chipped away to erase a 5-3 deficit, two outs, and nobody on base for that unlikely victory.

Unfazed, the Hawks got back on the winning track behind stellar starting pitching from Orlando Swift, and scored some late-innings runs to defeat Masuk.

“We had a very tough loss against Ridgefield, but that’s in the past,” Newtown Coach Ian Thoesen said. “These kids are resilient — they keep coming.”

Swift and counterpart Mike Marella hung zeros for the first four innings of this pitcher’s duel. The Hawks, victims of some bad breaks in their previous game, had a bit of luck on their side in the fifth inning. Pete Debona worked a leadoff walk and pinch runner Harry Lucas went all the way to third base on an errant pickoff attempt by Masuk’s catcher. Lucas trotted home on a balk and it was 1-0 Hawks.

Newtown padded its lead with an infield single by Jason Hebner, a single by Eugene Citrano that bounced off the glove of an infielder and made its way into shallow center field, a Masuk error, and Todd Petersen’s infield single.

Swift pitched into the seventh inning, allowing six hits, striking out six, walking three, and hitting one batter. Austin Kasbarian came on to get the final three outs.

The Panthers nearly scored in the fifth. Chris Nicolia singled and took second base on a wild pitch and tried to score on Nick Dellapiano’s single. Newtown second baseman Will Huegi made a sliding play to keep the ball from going into the outfield and threw home to catcher Ben Harrison who applied the tag.

Newtown went into the middle of the week coming off consecutive losses and again trying to rebound. The Hawks fell 11-7 to host New Fairfield on April 15. Kasbarian had three hits, a run batted in, and a run scored; and Ben Harrison, Rob Murray, Rob Lombardo, Ben Deickman, Citrano, and Debona all drove in runs.

The Nighthawks were blanked 5-0 by visiting Pomperaug of Southbury on April 17, and carried a 4-3 overall mark into a Wednesday, April 20, clash with Notre Dame-Fairfield, set to start at 4 pm.

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