Conard shut out crosstown rival Hall in the annual ‘Strike Out Cancer’ baseball game between the two schools.
By Marlon Pitter. Photos by Ronni Newton
Two Conard High School pitchers combined for a one-hit shutout of Hall as the Chieftains took a 10-0 victory in the annual “Strike Out Cancer” baseball game on Wednesday afternoon in West Hartford.
Dominic Niman pitched five innings and struck out nine Warriors with a perfect game into the fourth inning, while Matt Beazoglou fanned three batters and did not allow a hit in the final two frames.
“Dominic is just a phenomenal pitcher,” said Conard head coach Sanjay Rambhia. “He’s given us four good outings already this year. Last week against Middletown, he did pretty much the same thing: just dominated.”
Conard broke the game open early with a 4-0 start in the top of the first. Up 2-0, Paul Wilson hit a two-run double to extend the Chieftains’ lead.
Conard tacked on three more in the second, including a 2-run homer by Colby Jones – who went 3-for-4 at the plate and drove in four runs on the day – to create a 7-0 advantage.
From there, “the damage was done,” according to Hall head coach Nick Marsh.
“One of the things we’ve talked about was having [a] good start,” he said. “Our point of emphasis going into practice tomorrow is how we start.”
Matt Langevin drove in Niman, who walked and stole second base, to up the Chieftains’ lead to 8-0 in the third inning. Hall starter Griffin Van Rye’s day came to end after three innings, allowing six hits, four walks and striking out two with six earned runs.
Rambhia credited his team’s offensive prowess as the Chieftains tallied 10 hits in the contest.
“We do have some really strong hitters,” Rambhia said. “We’re really capable of doing this every single game. As long as we keep our heads in the game, I think that this is something that this team can really use to benefit them.”
Colin Kuzia opened the bottom of the fourth with a double for Hall to end Niman’s perfect game bid, but the Conard pitcher responded quickly by striking out two of the next four batters.
Noah Fox slowed down the Chieftains’ offense in four innings of relief pitching. Fox struck out three and allowed four hits, two runs, and a walk taking over for Van Rye.
Conard plated two more runners in the top of the seventh to take a double-digit lead. Hall advanced a runner to third but could not put score against Beazoglou in the bottom half.
The Chieftains improve to 6-4, while the Warriors fall to 3-9 on the season.
“This game puts us one more back than when we started today,” Marsh said. “Obviously not the result we were after, but we’re optimistic that we’re gonna be able to make the changes we need to.”
Conard will visit RHAM on Thursday, playing its second of four games in as many days. Hall travels to E.O. Smith on Friday to continue its season.
Wednesday’s contest marked the fourth “Strike Out Cancer” game between the two West Hartford public schools. While Conard players dedicated the game to various family members and loved ones, the entire Hall team played in honor of Abigail Zittoun, Hall Principal Dan Zittoun’s 6-year-old daughter who is currently undergoing cancer treatment.
The teams donned special shirts as part of their uniforms for the charity game – Hall in blue with pink lettering and Conard in dayglo pink with white letters.
The inaugural Strike Out Cancer game was held in May 2015, and prompted by then Conard co-captain Jordan Muchin, whose family friend Lynn Torsiello was a cancer survivor and leader of a Making Strides team. Sadly, Torsiello lost her battle on Jan. 29, 2017.
Proceeds from this year’s game were donated to the American Cancer Society.
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