Quality Matters: Low-on-Numbers Woodstock Rolls

Low-on-Numbers Woodstock Rolls

Windsor — Baseball may not be the sport of choice this spring at Woodstock Union High School. But in a season-opening 12-1 dispatching of Windsor yesterday at MacLeay-Royce Field, the Wasps proved quality sometimes counts more than quantity.

Woodstock has just 14 players in its baseball program this season and is not fielding a junior varsity team. By comparison, nearly four times as many athletes turned out for the school’s varsity and jayvee lacrosse squads.

And first games are not supposed to be played as efficiently as the one the Wasps produced yesterday: Woodstock pitchers fanned 14, baserunners stole nine bases and the defense made just one error.

“Yes, I’m happy,” said Woodstock coach Jason Tarleton. “This was a pleasant surprise.”

What surprised Tarleton the most was the pitching of Zack Cole, who tossed one-hit ball with 11 strikeouts in the four innings he worked. Cole fanned the side three times, and he also whiffed the first five Windsor batters he faced. “I just didn’t think he would strike out that many, ” Tarleton said.

The game was stopped after the sixth inning by the mercy rule. Jack Fitzpatrick pitched the final two innings for Woodstock, picking up four more strikeouts.

“Our pitchers threw strikes, and we let the kids take care of the defense,” said Tarleton.

While the Wasps played at a midseason level, Windsor showed that there is a lot of work to be done. “We didn’t have much to cheer about today,” said Windsor coach Don Swinyer. “Nothing very positive.”

Windsor pitchers allowed 10 bases on balls and the defense made five errors, a factor Woodstock exploited for its plethora of stolen bases.

“You know this is an easy game when you throw strikes,” said Swinyer.

The one bright spot for the Yellowjackets was the pitching of Ethan Hill, who allowed just one earned run over the first four innings with six strikeouts.

“Ethan did real good,” said Swinyer.

Woodstock had just five hits in the game, but the Wasps received six bases on balls in their nine-run fifth inning. All six came around to score. Woodstock had just one hit in the inning.

If a Wasp is a pest, then leadoff batter Doug Avellino is the nastiest of pests. He had only one official at-bat, but scored three times, drawing two walks and taking a pitch off the front of his helmet.

In the first inning after he walked, Avellino stole second, taking third on an infield out. When a pickoff throw to first base rolled just a little ways from the first baseman, Avellino blazed home.

In the third, Avellino legged out an infield hit, stole second and scurried the rest of the way on Brad Lewis’ single. Avellino completed the day by walking in the fifth and came on to score on a bases-loaded walk. Avellino also made the defensive play of the day when he leaped from his shortstop position to snare Tanner Tibbits’ screeching liner.

Of the three Windsor hits, two came off the bat of Russell Simonds.

Connor Collins, Tibbits and Shawn Pinsonault followed Hill to the mound for Windsor. Pinsonault had a 1-2-3 sixth inning with a strikeout.

Windsor is back at home tomorrow against Springfield. Woodstock has a scheduled Friday night game at home with Bellows Falls.