Vitale Hits Walk-Off Sac Fly to Beat Career 5-4
The Branford baseball team took a 5-0 home loss to West Haven on April 8 and then rebounded for a 5-4 home win against division foe Career on Jason Vitale's walk-off sacrifice fly.
Against West Haven, the Blue Devils' Cameron Stone pitched a complete game, only allowing two hits to Brad Doyle and Tyler Criscuolo.
In the Career win, sophomore Dan Driscoll went the distance for his first career victory with Jason Vitale plating Robbie Petrillo, who had doubled, on a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the seventh for the walk-off win. Isaiah Rodriguez went 3-for-4 with a stolen base to aid Ed Bethke's club.
"This was a great team effort. We battled from beginning to end and never gave in," said Bethke. "Driscoll threw a great game and it was a quality win for our program to get the first win in divisional play."
Branford is 0-5 in the season's early going, most recently dropping 7-3 and 6-0 home decisions against Amity and East Haven, respectively. Coach Chuck Reale noted the performances of left fielder Kelsey Austin, first baseman Tara Dering, and designated hitter Marissa Guglielmi as bright spots for his squad.
"The team is still trying to find its offensive center," said Reale. "We have to remain positive, grind out the at-bats, and the hits will begin to fall."
The Hornets are out to a stellar start at 4-0, most recently earning a 7-0 home win against Sheehan, a 7-0 home win versus Shelton, and a dramatic 4-3 victory at Guilford on April 12.
In the Guilford match, the No. 1 doubles team of Paul Habelow and Dan Borrus came back after losing the first set to win in three, as did the No. 2 duo of Wilson Radulski and Jared Platt. Additionally, freshman Matt Sachs cruised to a 6-3, 6-0 win at No. 3 singles to spur Steve O'Keefe's team to victory.
"This was a great win over a very good Guilford team," said O'Keefe. "This gives me a much better idea of what this team is capable of moving forward."
Girls' Outdoor Track
Branford earned a 108-42 win against division foe Cross on April 9, raising the Hornets' record to 2-0 overall and in the SCC Oronoque.
"The turning point happened before the meet when we needed some athletes to be unselfish and step into new events. Their flexibility helped us win the meet," said Coach Kevin Connell.
Connell's team won several events en route to notching the victory, including Lizzy Barthelemy in the discus (79-0), Hunter Carden in the pole vault (9-0), Tatiana Alvarado in the javelin (92-0), Amber Markovitz in the shot put (26-1½), and Claira Janover in the high jump (4-4).
On the track, Anna Atkinson prevailed in both the 100 hurdles (17.0) and 300 hurdles (53.1) with Cyrene Nicholas running to first in the 800 at 2:39.2. Connell's squad also swept all three relays with the 4x100 quartet of Gerling Daniels, Bryanna Willaby, Angel Limberger, and Carden running 54.75; the 4x400 of Atkinson, Izzy Bysiewicz, Alex Tracy, and Maya Birney running 4:42; and the 4x800 of Anneliese Troidle, Nicholas, Tracy Crookston, and Tanya Altrui recording a mark of 10:28.
The Hornets picked up a 10-9 home win against North Haven on April 8 and then dropped an 18-5 decision at Xavier on April 11 to stand at 2-2. In the North Haven game, Justin Blood scored four goals and Jimmy May had three for Branford, which saw sophomore Mike Caminear scored the winning goal with 15 seconds remaining. Blood then scored three goals versus Xavier.
"I believe we learned a lesson today: play with passion and no fear and always expect to win. Today we didn't," said Coach Jim May of the Xavier game. "We will move on and climb the mountain."
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