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Week of March 25: Woodstock Academy opens with 7-1 win over NW Catholic

Woodstock Academy first-year baseball head coach gave out two game balls on Saturday after a season-opening, 7-1, win over Northwest Catholic on Saturday.

He got one back in return.

Eric Mathewson turned in a fine pitching performance and Caleb Simoneau shined both on the field and at the plate for the Centaurs to earn their game ball awards.

The team, however, wanted Elliott to remember his first coaching victory at the varsity level so they also awarded him a game ball following the victory.

“It’s a good feeling to get that first win under the belt and it keeps the pressure off the team, we’re not going to be chasing it. It’s validation for the team as well as they have been putting in a lot of hard work throughout the preseason in less than ideal circumstances. Today was our third time on a field all spring,” Elliott said.

The baseball field at the Bentley Athletic Complex was not ready to be played on Saturday especially since it had to absorb about four inches of rain in five days.

The Centaurs had hoped to be able to play the Lions at Dodd Stadium in Norwich on Saturday but the two inch-plus rainfall on Thursday and Friday put that field underwater and forced the Centaurs to play a home game on the road at Northwest Catholic’s field in West Hartford.

Mathewson wasn’t fazed by the move or the conditions.

“There was a consistent 15-to-20 mile per hour wind, it was sunny and not all that warm, especially with the wind. We told him to pound the zone. Throw fastballs and make them hit. It wasn’t ideal weather to hit,” Elliott said.

Mathewson did just that.

Out of 81 pitches, 60 were strikes as he allowed just two hits, struck out nine and did not walk a batter.

Mathewson had to wait for some offensive support.

The Centaurs had only five hits but benefitted from eight walks offered up by Northwest Catholic pitchers.

Two of those came early in the bottom of the third inning as Tanner Graham and Mathewson both walked.

Simoneau, playing shortstop for the first time at the varsity level, singled to center, driving in both runners.

The sophomore had to step in at shortstop on little notice as Elliott woke up on Saturday to a text from junior Maxx Corradi saying he was ill and was not going to be able to play.

“Caleb stepped in at short. He’s played there so I had total confidence in him but he had not had any reps there this spring. He had worked at third and second base but when I got the text from Maxx, it was a no-brainer. He hit second in between Eric and Brady (Ericson), he was 1-for-2 and his out was a line drive to left field. He’s swinging one of the best bats on the team and he also played a flawless shortstop,” Elliott said.

Keon Lamarche added a run-scoring double and Brady Lecuyer had an RBI groundout, giving the Centaurs a 4-0 lead going into the fourth.

Lecuyer got his second RBI of the game on a sacrifice fly in the fifth and Mathewson made it 7-0 in the sixth with a two-run double.

Woodstock Academy is off until Wednesday when it goes on the road for a game at Coventry at 4 p.m.