New Milford baseball opens with win over New Canaan
NEW CANAAN— It is never wise to judge a high school baseball team’s season simply on the basis of opening day.
However, the New Milford High School baseball team set the tone it wanted for this campaign Saturday as the Green Wave posted an 8-3 non-league triumph over New Canaan at Mead Park.
“The pitchers are usually ahead of the hitters at this stage. So for our side to be in the double digits in hits in our first game is a great thing,” said New Milford coach Ryan Johnson.
“After a long preseason where we were mainly indoors, it was nice to see things click.”
New Milford scored in every inning except the second stanza. And a trio of pitchers limited New Canaan to six hits.
NEW MILFORD TAKES CHARGE
The Green Wave (1-0) was also aggressive from the opening pitch on the basepaths. They picked up eight extra bases Saturday on either stolen bases, passed balls or wild pitches.
They broke the game open with three runs in top of the fourth for a 5-1 edge. Jon Luc Dumas, Kendall Greene and Austin Swanson had singles around a Chris Gesualdi hit by pitch to start the uprising.
That made for an easier day for New Milford’s All-SWC first-team pitcher Tim Cianciolo. The junior right-hander struck out six and walked three over five innings. He allowed just one hit after the first inning.
“I struggled a bit in the first inning. But our guys gave me a lead and kept adding to it. That let me settle in,” Cianciolo said. “I had good command of my fastball. I spotted the changeup well. My curve was a bit iffy.”
Catcher Derek Profita made the bus ride home chattier by clubbing a solo homer in the seventh. Lefthander Steve Horvath hurled 1 2/3innings of relief while Tim Cooke got the final out.
New Milford, which reached the SWC semifinals and lost to Danbury in the Class LL second round last year, returns 10 seniors.
“The guys on the squad have been playing baseball together our whole lives,” Cianciolo said. “We owe it to the seniors to send them out with a big bang this year.”
NEW CANAAN HAS STUFF TO POLISH
New Canaan’s new head coach, Geoff Lambert, had a good opportunity to evaluate where the Rams are after this snowy preseason.
“We weren’t sharp today. We had errors in the field. We had lots of mental mistakes. And we didn’t hit. New Milford’s pitchers kept us off-balance,” Lambert said. “The first inning was the key. We had the bases loaded with none out and got just one run. That was deflating.”
Leadoff man Frank Ramppen had two hits, one RBI and a run scored while Jack DeFrancesco doubled for New Canaan (0-1).
“We have veterans. But our margin for error is slim,” Lambert said. “We’re still figuring things out. This was the first varsity experience for our young kids. Today was just a tough hill to climb.”
NEW MILFORD 8, NEW CANAAN 5
NEW MILFORD 101 311 1—8 15 0
NEW CANAAN 100 100 1—3 6 1
Records: New Milford 1-0, New Canaan 0-1. Batteries: NMILF—Tim Cianciolo (W, 1-0, 6Ks), Steve Horvath (6), Tim Cooke (7) and Derek Profita. NCAN—Zach Lopez (L, 0-1), Patrick Metzger (5), Kyle DeMaio (6) and Griffin Arnone. Highlights: NMILF—Cianciolo struck out six. Profita crushed a solo homer. Austin Swanson, Ben Silver each had three hits. NCAN—Frank Ramppen doubled, singled, had one RBI and scored one run.