Following a 6-4 win over Valley Regional, the Coginchaug boys baseball team had several games canceled and rescheduled due to rain and field conditions. These delays forced the boys to host four home games over the span of five days over April break. They faced the likes of Westbrook, Creed/Hillhouse, North Branford, and Old Saybrook, all teams that had more than one game experience than the Devils, leaving the Devils at a disadvantage.

 

The boys first hosted the 0-2 Westbrook Knights on Monday, April 10. The boys had themselves dug into a hole early on in the game, as they trailed 6-1 after the second inning. After some reevaluation with their coaches and one another, the Devils began to play a much different game in the third and fourth innings. Coginchaug was able to get multiple base hits which resulted in RBIs that continued to add to their score until the Devils eventually took the lead. Shortly after these two innings, junior John-John Jose hit a two run homerun that nailed the coffin on the Knights and added to their winless season (now 0-3). The Devils went on to win the game 10-6 and in the process outscored the Knights 9-0 after once trailing 6-1.

 

The boys next hosted the co-op Creed/Hillhouse, also 0-2 before their encounter, on Tuesday, April 11. Once again it was the Devils trailing, this time only 2-0, after the top of the first inning. Following their great comeback against Westbrook, the Devils were feeling much more confident in their ability to play. Cole Niedmann got things going for Coginchaug with a quick triple and was able to score after a Connor Rulnick RBI (who eventually was also able to score by stealing home). The Devils’ dominant first inning did not stop there, as the boys were able to go through their entire lineup and finish, leading 8-2 after one inning. Things did not pick up for Creed/Hillhouse at all in the second inning as they were not able to score, while the Devils kept adding to theirs (most notably a grand slam by John-John Jose). Creed/Hillhouse was not able to keep up with this high-scoring affair, as the Devils came out on top 21-4.

 

The following day, the Devils hosted the 2-2 North Branford Thunderbirds, who would prove to be a much more competitive opponent for Coginchaug. This time the Devils struck first and went up 1-0 in the top of the first inning; however, the Thunderbirds took advantage of a few walks and went up 3-1 over the Devils in the top of the third inning. The Devils were not looking to lose so easily, and tied the game up at 3-3 after a Cal Pitruzzello RBI that sent two runners home. At the top of the fifth, the Thunderbirds continued their scoring with a sacrifice pop fly that put them up 4-3, and two additional RBI’s put them up 6-3 over the Devils. For the next inning or so the scoring went quiet until John-John Jose was able to send a runner home for the Devils and cut the deficit to two. Coginchaug was able to hold off the North Branford scorers at the top of the seventh inning and went into the bottom of the seventh trailing by two. The Devils were able to tie and go into extra innings: outscore the T-Birds and win it, or go home with their first loss. Nate McDonald went up with two scorers on base and was able to send both runners in, to tie the game 6-6. Following this, Cal Pitruzzello came up to the plate and was able to get the game-winning RBI while McDonald scored the winning run.

 

Finally on Friday April 14, the Devils hosted their last opponent over break, the Old Saybrook Rams. The Rams got to an early 1-0 lead, and little scoring followed for several innings. The Devils were finding trouble getting any hits off of Rams pitcher sophomore Jaden Rolon, who completed the game will 11 strikeouts. At the top of the seventh, Old Saybrook broke the scoring drought and went up 3-0 over the Devils. Rolon struggled, throwing walks, and the Rams were forced to put in a new pitcher. The Devils were able to get a few quick runs to cut the lead to 3-2. Connor Rulnick was up to bat with two outs and a 2-2 count. After another ball, Pitruzzello tried to steal third but was stopped short, ending the Devils’ undefeated season.
The boys will try to take advantage of their early series of home games and build on them with their seven remaining away games and seven remaining home games.

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