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Lancers haven't forgotten how to hit, top East Lyme 9-5 in ECC baseball

Waterford — Art Peluso was just as impressed as everyone else around the ballpark Saturday afternoon, watching the rather majestic flight of the ball after East Lyme’s Aidan Ellis made contact with it.

Ellis clobbered a first-inning home run to right-center, creating a two-run deficit for coach Peluso’s Lancers, who despite some Division I pitching in recent years, haven’t necessarily hit the ball as well as the ghosts of Waterford past.

"The pitch was actually up and away. (Ellis) put a good swing on it,” Peluso said. “That’s a credit to him. He got all of it too. That was pretty smoked. But it was the first inning. Get it out of your system early.” 

The Lancers, who are just short of 30 runs in three games, responded quickly and definitively, with five in the first and cruised to a 9-5 win over their neighboring rivals in Division I of the Eastern Connecticut Conference. 

If Peluso had doubts about the way his team might hit after a two-year hiatus, he didn’t after seeing his team the first time this spring. 

“When I saw their bodies, a lot of the kids got in the weight room during the pandemic,” Peluso said. “The ball jumps off their bat. The (homer) that Connor Podeszwa hit or the double that Ryan (Salvador) hit, that’s all a credit to the kids putting the time in. We can’t necessarily rely on the arms like we’ve had in the past. We’ve got good arms. But these guys have taken ownership of what they need to do offensively to win games.” 

Podeszwa, the winning pitcher, settled down after allowing Ellis’ homer and gave up two hits and an earned run over the next four innings. Sean Salvador finished, striking out six.

“You just have to reset and trust your teammates,” Podeszwa said. “The five-spot in the first we got really gives you the confidence back. A lot of guys worked hard this off season. Coach likes to call us a ‘burly’ group. We got in the gym. It’s coming around now.” 

Ryan Salvador doubled twice and drove in two runs for Waterford (3-0, 3-0), while Podeszwa had two hits, including the homer in the fourth. 

Ellis finished with three hits for East Lyme (2-1, 2-1).

“We have to get better at all aspects of the game,” East Lyme coach Jack Biggs said. “Mental toughness is a big thing for us right now. Come out here, play seven innings and worry about what East Lyme baseball is doing and nothing else. We got caught up in what Waterford was doing today and a lot of other little things around the ballpark.”

m.dimauro@theday.com

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