TORRINGTON – Baseball can be a pretty simple sport, according to Torrington Tigers Junior American Legion baseball coach Brice Hill, and the Tigers showed that Monday night.
The Torrington Tigers Junior American Legion baseball team trailed the Westco Zephyrs 2-0 midway through the first inning Monday night in Torrington, but steady hitting and smart base running – as well as a handful of Zephyr errors – allowed the Tigers to take a 4-2 lead in the home half of the inning.
Westco tied the game in its half of the second and kept pace with the Tigers until the fourth inning, when the Tigers scored four runs to break a 6-6 tie and secure a 10-6 win.
“We kind of struggled the first half of the inning defensively,” Hill said. “We made a couple of errors and gave Westco a couple of runs, then we scored four. We had timely hits and smart base running and that led to the big inning.
“Like I’ve told these kids all year long, as long as you put the ball in play and make hard contact, you can’t complain about that. That’s what we did.”
All of the game’s scoring took place in the first four innings of the six-inning contest. Singles by Bodie Moffat and Keyan Sargent, paired with two walks and a Westco error counted for Torrington’s big first inning.
Three Zephyr errors and a walk resulted in two Tiger scores in the second inning. Torrington took the lead for good in the fourth by capitalizing on a single by Bryce Hager and three Westco errors to cross the plate four times, resulting in the final 10-6 tally.
While the Westco errors aided the Torrington effort, Hill said the Tigers were able to capitalize on those opportunities.
“Execution was a big thing,” he said. “It wasn’t only timely hitting, but runners on base – whether that is grounding out to the right side of the field and advancing a runner and scoring – that’s what it takes,” Hill said. “When it comes down to it, baseball is a very small game. If you do the little things and execute properly, baseball becomes a very easy sport.”
Hill credited Matt Hellus for his effort on the mound.
“He stepped up,” Hill said. “He hasn’t pitched a lot this year, but he really stepped up and pitched five inning of some dang good baseball.”
But despite Hellus’ performance, Hill said the team has some weakness on the mound, which he hopes to address in the coming week.
“There is always something to work on,” Hill said. “The biggest thing we have to work on is pitching. We’ve been short on some pitching. We had a few throwing errors and fielding errors. There’s not one thing – it’s just some little things, and more repetition and practice is going to help with that, so we’re just going to work on some pitching, some ground balls and we’re there.”
The Tigers advanced their record to 20-4-1 with the win.