West Hartford’s Hall High School defeated Northwest Catholic 8-0 in their 2022 season home opener.
By Paul Palmer
Behind the pitching of Nick Udell and some timely power hitting, the Hall Warriors evened their record to 1-1 on the year, beating Northwest Catholic in their baseball home opener 8-0.
The Warriors, who were beaten by Westhill on Saturday, got their offense going early on Tuesday. In the bottom of the first, Cole Kocienda singled to right and one batter later senior catcher Tommy LaSpada hit a two-run blast over the left field wall to give Hall a 2-0 lead.
The senior catcher, who’ll attend Westfield State in the fall where he will play baseball, was glad to get his team’s offense going. “After Saturday it was great to get that first hard hit ball,” he said.
In the top of the second, the Lions put two runners on via walks, before Udell got an out on an infield fly rule, a strikeout, and then a pop to short to end the inning. “He’s someone that’s been competing for a rotation spot the last few seasons,” Hall coach Nick Marsh said of his pitcher.
In the bottom half of the inning, Brian Chelli tripled to deep center and came in to score on Lucas Pyrro’s hit to center.
Northwest had its best chance to get on the board in the fourth. Sean Tessman doubled off the wall in center with one out. Udell then got Jonah Bakerzik looking on a 1-2 breaking ball, before getting the final out on a sterling play from Kocienda. On a ball hit to his sharply to his right, the shortstop smothered the ball, and got to his feet to make the throw to first to beat the runner and end the inning.
“I just wanted to get a hot start for us,” said the senior pitcher who is headed to Castleton (VT) in the fall. “As the game went by I felt more comfortable,” he added.
The momentum carried over into the bottom of the fourth as Hall would put things away with three more runs.
Dan Moleti started it off with a walk and stolen base. He moved to third on a fielder’s choice before Chelli again provided the offense with a RBI single to right. Chelli stole second and scored on a double by Pyrro.
After a strikeout, Udell singled between short and third to bring in the sixth run for Hall.
Hall’s coach Marsh turned it over to the bullpen from there to complete the game. Quinn LaRock was up first in the fifth and had a 1-2-3 inning with a pair of strikeouts. In the sixth it was Elijah Salomons mowing down Northwest in order. Simon Rosenberg came in for the seventh and struck out the first batter, but the ball got past LaSpada allowing Tressman to reach first. From there it was a fielder’s choice, and a fly ball to center and one to right to complete the game.
Hall’s final two runs came in the bottom of the sixth when Kocienda capped off an all-around strong game with an RBI double, and then a wild pitch to the next batter allowed the eighth and final run for Hall.
“We had a couple of players out with injuries from the Westhill game, so it was good to see some players in different spots today,” said Marsh.
Hall has little time to sit back and celebrate as they are looking at a pair of tough away games to end their week. A trip to Southington is on the schedule for Friday with a road game at Fairfield Warde on Saturday.
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