Turner helps No. 1 Ledyard hand Montville first loss 4-2
Ledyard — It certainly looked like all the other baseball games have in the 57-year history of Ledyard High School. Junior varsity baseball game on the field below, the kids ducking foul balls from the varsity game at Matt Buriak Field. Even a few animals from school's Agri-Science program watching the proceedings.
And yet it was happily different for the Colonels, who did something they'd never done before in the history of the program:
Played a game — any game — as the No. 1 team in Connecticut.
"It felt like there's a bigger target on our backs now," winning pitcher Ken Turner said, "but I don't think our approach was any different. We've got a big one (Thursday), too."
Turner's complete game two-hitter with 15 strikeouts led the Colonels to a 4-2 win over previously unbeaten Montville, paving a fitting prelude to Thursday's game with No. 6 Hand. The first pitch will be at 11 a.m., moved up from the afternoon in anticipation of potential bad weather.
"Hey, being the No. 1 team is a great thing for us," Ledyard coach Scott Chiasson said, "but when we stepped on the field, I don't think anybody cared about being No. 1. Nobody said a word about it. All we talked about was playing a really good team in Montville. We have a test (Thursday), too."
Turner, headed to pitch at the University of Hartford, was a monument to composure, if nothing else. His teammates made four errors behind him — they'd only made three all year in the first six games — and yet Turner looked about as bothered as those actors in Corona commercials.
"He hides it well," Chiasson said, grinning.
"I know what our guys can do," Turner said. "I had confidence in them. My job is to keep getting ground balls. They'll make the plays."
Turner has yet to allow an earned run this season.
Turner was also on base four times with three walks and a single. He scored Ledyard's first two runs on a wild pitch and then a jog home on Cade Walters' RBI single. Ledyard (7-0) took a 4-0 lead in the fourth on Pete Kiefer's two-run single to left.
Griffin Pontbriant and Ken Heon (singles) accounted for Montville's two hits. The Indians (6-1) scored twice in the fifth thanks to a pair of fielding errors.
"We needed to be better prepared to face a guy like that," Montville coach Steve Stonoha said. "We hadn't seen anything close to that. You see guys throwing 74-75 and then that? Plus, he's got one of the best curveballs I've seen in a long time."
Stories that may interest you
Old Lyme senior Nick Fava will major in engineering at Purdue University. Slated to play first doubles this year for the Wildcats' boys' tennis team, Fava is an All-Shoreline Conference first team selection and a CIAC scholar-athlete pick.
Said Old Lyme Unified Sports advisor Christine Corah: "They're such a silver lining on your hardest days. You bring together a group of students that might not interact with each other. It gave you a whole different sense of purpose."
New London senior Cassandra Cannon was an All-ECC Division II first team selection last season and the Whalers' all-league scholar-athlete. She will attend Salve Regina and major in nursing.