Fermi baseball falls in first-round matchup

By Colin Rajala - Staff Writer
Enfield - posted Wed., May. 30, 2012
Junior Alex Zachary winds back to throw a pitch during Fermi's first-round matchup in the Class L state tournament versus Sheehan. Photos by Colin Rajala.
Junior Alex Zachary winds back to throw a pitch during Fermi's first-round matchup in the Class L state tournament versus Sheehan. Photos by Colin Rajala.

The 12-seeded Enrico Fermi Falcons' (13-8) season came to a close on May 29 in Enfield when they fell to the 21-seeded Sheehan Titans (12-9) 8-1 in their first-round Class L state tournament matchup. “No one expected us to be here at the start of the season,” said Connel Clark, Fermi head coach. “Sure, today didn’t end the way we wanted it to, but we made a lot of improvements this year and we turned some heads. We did better than everyone expected.”

Sheehan’s Jim Davitt, a Bryant University baseball commit, and Kevin Duffy combined on a four-hitter and did not allow a run after the first inning.

“We battled and we competed,” Clark said. “We did not take this team lightly. We played hard, but in the end it wasn’t enough; the better team won today.”

Fermi’s lone run in the first inning was aided by some strong and swirling winds in the outfield. Junior captain Alex Zachary led off with a double to center and was sacrificed over to third by junior captain Dan Brunetto. Senior Chaz Millett hit a high fly to right center field, but the strong wind gusts carried the ball back towards the infield, where it landed behind the Sheehan second basemen, scoring Zachary. Fermi threatened Davitt for more runs in the first inning after freshman Greg Kraucunas hit a single that was also caught up in the strong currents to put runners at first and second. A double steal put Kraucunas and Millett in scoring position with just one out. Davitt halted the threat and got out of the inning without any more trouble with a strikeout and fly out.

After the three first-inning hits, the Falcons would not get to Davitt, who mixed his pitches well, hit his spots, and showed good control and location on his changeup. Fermi managed to muster up one hit the rest of the game, a sixth-inning single from senior Chris LaTorra.

The Titans jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the first before Fermi tied up the game. They took the lead in the second, pushing two runs across, and added another in the fourth off Fermi starting pitcher Alex Zachary.

In the top of the fifth inning, the Fermi defense tried its best to keep the game within striking distance. Zachary loaded the bases and a single to leftfield scored a run when leftfielder LaTorra earned an outfield assist. Latorra gunned down the runner at home to keep Sheehan from adding on more insurance runs. Sheehan tacked on another run in the next at bat for a 6-1 lead. With runners on the corners and one out, Kraucunas fielded a hard hit groundball at third and fired home to freshman catcher Chris Giottonini, who tagged the runner out, saving another run.

“Today you feel for the seniors who played their last high school game,” Clark said. “Millett had a great game for us today and a great career here at Fermi. We will miss him in the lineup next year.”

When the game ended, seven of Fermi’s nine players on the field were underclassmen. The Falcons return their entire starting infield; number one pitcher Zachary, and freshmen Kraucunas and Giottonini will be ready for break-out roles with a year of varsity experience under their belts.

"It's a little different than last year, where six out of nine were seniors,” Clark said. “That's a bright spot for us, looking forward to next year. We got some work to do still and we got some growing to do. We look forward to next year, getting back here and going a little bit further.”

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