Knights baseball team is in for the long haul

By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Ellington - posted Fri., Apr. 15, 2011
Ellington's Justin Vamvilis smacks a base hit in the Knights' extra-inning 7-6 loss to Avon on April 14. Photos by Steve Smith,
Ellington's Justin Vamvilis smacks a base hit in the Knights' extra-inning 7-6 loss to Avon on April 14. Photos by Steve Smith,

The Ellington High School varsity baseball team is off to a 3-2 start, but should get some credit (like overtime losses in hockey) for the heartbreaker they dropped to Avon, 7-6, in extra innings on a passed ball on April 14.

The Knights had led 3-0 early, but Avon rallied for a 6-3 lead on some Knights miscues. Ellington’s Kevin Dwire responded with a three-run triple to push to extra frames. A Matt Kramer pitch dribbled past Dwire to score an Avon Falcon from third, ending the game.

Coach Keith Tautkus said his team has shown that sort of fight early in the season, partially thanks to the leadership of Dwire and fellow captain Zack Graves.

“We're an okay team,” Tautkus said. “We just can't give runs away to good teams, and we did that today, but we haven't been. But, we battled back. We did a good job. It's just little stuff that we have to get better at.”

Tautkus said the season is young and his team's senior leaders should take the team far.

“Graves has been the workhorse for us the last two years,” Tautkus said. “He's been a leader, and roots everyone else on. Even though you may not have had your best game, you root for everybody else. That's the sign of a good leader. That's what he does.”

“Dwire has been our catcher for the last three years,” Tautkus said. “His bat is starting to come around. He's been improving for the past few years. Both he and Graves have been doing a great job as leaders.”

Besides the great playing, the best thing going for the Knights may be their never-say-die attitude.

“We keep fighting,” the coach said. “Some teams I've had in the past, when you're up 3-nothing, then all of a sudden you go down 6-3, that would have been it for them, but these guys kept battling – they're all cheering and rooting for each other – and they kept fighting until the end, and that's all you can ask for.”

Tautkus said the team will be focusing on situational plays on defense, and more disciplined hitting.

“We've got to work on handling the pressure situations just a little bit better,” he said. “I think, offensively, when we've had big scoring opportunities, maybe we've had some bad swings. I think it's just a matter of handling those things better.”

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