The Danbury Westerners moved to a 1-2 record at Rogers Park after an 8-3 loss to the visiting Martha’s Vineyard Sharks on June 15.
The Sharks [6-1] gained an early 3-0 lead after a three-run home run from their first baseman Ryan Hernandez off Danbury starter Tate Kuehner. They added two more runs in the inning after center fielder Connor Beichler brought in Jake Berger and Brad Grenkoski with a single.
Danbury [3-5] added one run in the bottom half of the inning after third baseman Nicholas Lorusso slapped a single to center field, scoring left fielder Henry Strmecki. Still, the Sharks got a run back in the top of the second after a sacrifice fly from Ryan Hernandez gave him four RBIs on the night.
Danbury’s second baseman John Anderson floated his first hit as a Westerner over the right-center field fencing of Rogers Park to make the score 6-2 Sharks in the bottom of the third.
Both teams continued to add to their run totals in the fourth inning. Ryan Hernandez singled another run home for Martha’s Vineyard while Danbury designated hitter Justin Kapuscinski smoked a home run to left field for his second round-tripper of the season.
In the top of the eighth inning, Sharks left fielder Collin Shapiro added another Martha’s Vineyard insurance run off of an RBI single that scored Connor Beichler to make the score 8-3 Sharks. That score would remain for the rest of the game.
It wasn’t Danbury’s night at the plate. Three Martha’s Vineyard pitchers struck out Westerners hitters 21 times, led by Noah Johnson, who had twelve strikeouts through four innings.
“We didn’t jump on fastball counts,” Westerners hitting coach Bobby Rodriguez said after the game, “We took a lot of strikes and put ourselves into a hole. We weren’t able to recover from that.”
While the Westerners also had a few errors on the night, many highlights came from the Danbury fielders. Sebastian Murillo flashed the leather at shortstop for the Danbury Westerners with a pair of great backhanded plays to keep Sharks players off of the basepaths. Outfielders Jake Roper and Cameron Masterman also threw Shark runners out at third and second base, respectively, throughout the night.
The losing pitcher for Danbury was Tate Kuehner, who gave up four hits and five runs. He also walked five Sharks over one and two-thirds innings. Four Westerners pitchers later held the Sharks to two runs and three hits for the rest of the game while combining to strike out eight. Justin Solimine, Ethan Clough and Renn Lints pitched two innings each before Ryan Smith pitched a one-hit top of the ninth.
The Danbury Westerners will travel to Cardines Field in Newport tonight to take on the 6-1 Newport Gulls, who have won four straight games. The game will take place at 6:35 PM and will be livestreamed on the NECBL Network.