West Hartford’s Hall High School started off the season with two home games against tough opponents.
By Paul Palmer
The Hall baseball team ran into a buzzsaw Thursday in Bristol Central pitcher Frank Spirito. The UConn-bound senior hurler struck out a dozen Titans hitters in six innings of work, allowing just three hits in the 5-0 win.
Hall fell to 0-2 on the season, but the two losses have come against two of the better teams in the state, and two of the top pitchers. “Westhill’s pitcher is going to a D1 school, and Frank Spirito is going to UConn, so that is a tough way to start the season,” said Hall head coach Nick Marsh of this week’s contests.
The Titans are also dealing with the loss of 13 players from a season ago. Spirito’s combination of fastball, curve, and slider had Hall batters guessing most of the day and never allowing the home side to put together any real offensive threat.
The Rams built an early 3-0 lead using small ball. In the first, Anthony Satilli stroked a one out single to right field, stole second base, and came around to score one batter later when Oscar Kuzniar singled up the middle. Hall would get one of its base hits in the bottom half of the inning when catcher Tyler Redden beat out an infield single with a headfirst slide into first.
He would steal second base, but Spirito struck out the next two Hall batters to end the inning.
In the second and third innings Bristol used the same style to score one more run in each inning. Mike Allen singled in the second off Hall starter Jack Sauer. He stole second and scored on Aiden Lopez’s RBI single.
In the third it was Joe Gratta reaching on an error, stealing second base, and eventually coming around to score on Spirito’s sacrifice fly.
Hall managed to get two runners on in the fourth when Chase Hanawalt hit a one-out single, and Tighe Johnston reached on an error. But Spirito struck out Simon Levy to end the threat.
Johnston and Brody Donan would combine for three scoreless innings of relief for the Titans, before Bristol Central tacked on two more runs in the top of the seventh off Levy following an error at first base. Hall threatened off reliever Kuzniar in the bottom of the seventh when Levy earned a one-out walk and pinch hitter Sean Fay singled to put two runners on base. But a pair of popups in the infield ended the threat and the game.
“It was a three-run game with two runs tacked on,” said Marsh. “We took Westhill to the last out with the tying runs on base. We fight to the last out.”
Hall will try again for its first win of the season on Monday when the Titans host Southington at 3:45 p.m.
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