Turner, Ledyard shut down East Lyme 4-0
Ledyard — In an era of Drake, Future and Lil Wayne, Ledyard senior Ken Turner chooses to enter the batter’s box accompanied by Lipps Inc’s “Funkytown."
Yes, “Funkytown,” the 1979 disco staple that’s more than three times Turner’s age.
“Funkytown has a good rhythm to it,” Turner said with a grin. “The guys in the dugout like to get their groove on once it goes on, so I think it brings good energy to the team.”
Turner provided the Colonels with more than enough energy against East Lyme on Wednesday. He allowed one hit over six innings with 12 strikeouts, including nine in a row, and had an RBI single and scored a run during a 4-0 win at Matt Buriak Field.
“We hopped on his back,” Ledyard coach Scott Chiasson said about the University of Hartford-bound Turner. “That’s what he’s going to do all year, and that’s what he did last year.”
Pete Kiefer had two hits, a run and an RBI for Ledyard (3-0), ranked seventh in the GameTimeCT/New Haven Register preseason baseball poll, the only Eastern Connecticut Conference team to be ranked in the Top 10.
Elijah Morton went 2-for-2 and scored for the Colonels and Weston Bruce added an RBI single and scored.
Turner and the Colonels had an inauspicious start as Vikings senior Luke Leonard led off with a single that just snuck inside the third baseline.
“As a pitcher, those are the worst hits to give up,” Chiasson said. “Luke is a very good player, and he just stuck his bat out and (the ball went) down the line.
“The amount of times we’ve played East Lyme and lost by one run, you think, ‘here we go again.’”
It was just one of only two hits that East Lyme (1-1) had all game. Turner gave up a two-out walk to Tom Mason to put runners at the corner but got Owen Robbins to ground out to first baseman Riley Gagnon.
“It’s the first start of the season for me, so I kind of had to get the rhythm back,” Turner said. “The biggest thing was getting confidence from my teammates. There were a couple of ground balls (East Lyme) hit, a couple of fly balls hit, and I saw (my teammates) make plays, and that just gave me a lot of confidence. After that, it was kind of smooth sailing.”
The Colonels scored twice in the bottom of the first inning, and Turner took it from there. He began his string of nine straight strikeouts with one out in the third inning. He yelled, ‘let’s go!’ after striking out the side in the fourth.
East Lyme had another chance to score in the sixth inning when Nolan Connolly walked with one out and Chris Malcom reached on an error.
Mason hit into a fielder’s choice for the second out, and Turner fanned Robbins to end the inning.
“You’ve got to be able to face great pitching,” Vikings head coach Jack Biggs said. “We’ve got to put balls in play to force some type of offense, but (Turner) was good. And as the innings went on, he got into a better rhythm. It was only until the end there that he started losing it just a little bit, and that wasn’t even much for a high school pitcher.”
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