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Week of April 8: Ericson picks up where he left off with 14-strikeout performance vs. Killingly

Something strange greeted high school baseball teams on Tuesday.

Warm weather.

“It was so nice,” Woodstock Academy junior Brady Ericson said after a 5-1 victory over Killingly at Owen Bell Park in Dayville. “After having games delayed by rain, school being delayed for snow, and the day I finally get a chance to start (on the mound) being 70 degrees and sunny, there was nothing more that you could ask for.”

Indeed, it was shirt sleeve weather for a change.

“It was one of my favorite parts of the game. I was wearing long sleeves and a pullover and I was warm at the start of the game. It was just good to get outside. Things are looking up and we have a whole bunch more of baseball to play over the next few days and I’m pretty confident it won’t be any worse than it’s been the past few weeks,” added Woodstock Academy coach Connor Elliott.

Ericson made Elliott’s job pretty easy.

He only threw five innings but the junior southpaw, bound for UConn in a couple of years, only allowed two hits and all of his outs recorded, with the exception of one, were by strikeout as he finished with 14.

“For the most part, everything was working,” Ericson said. “It’s still early in the season, but my curveball is still going a little high. I have to get it down more but that’s something I can work on, fix and figure out. Other than that, I felt pretty good.”

Elliott had said previously that Ericson just makes a hard game look easy and his performance against Killingly was no exception.

“I don’t get it all the time,” the Woodstock Academy coach said. “You know its coming but it’s just darn tough to hit. I don’t envy any of the kids going against (Ericson), I’m just glad we have him on our team. I wouldn’t want to see him once or twice a year. He’s solid, he’s come back with a great attitude and is a junior captain, stepping into more of a leadership role.”

What impressed Elliott equally as much was that Ericson was 0-for-4 at the plate with three strikeouts and he didn’t let it affect him on the mound.

“He battled on mound, pounded the zone all day. I would like to see a few more strikes but I also think that is kind of an asset for him. I’m not going to over coach that when you get 14 K’s in your first time out,” Elliott said.

His teammates also provided with not overwhelming but, certainly, enough support.

The Centaurs jumped out to a 2-0 lead when both Maxx Corradi and Eric Mathewson walked to start the game.

Corradi stole third and scored on an error which allowed Mathewson to move to third. Keon Lamarche delivered him with a single.

Woodstock Academy made it 3-0 in the third inning when Noah Sampson singled, stole second and third, and came around on a Matt Hernandez single.

The Centaurs finished things off in the fifth when Mathewson doubled and Lamarche plated him with a triple, coming home on an error on the play by Killingly.

“We need to string hits together a bit more,” Elliott said. “We get a walk and then hit him around but I would like to see more hits strung together. They don’t have to be extra-base hits or big home runs, just a little more contact and a few more balls in play.”

And there is one other thing Elliott would like to see.

He felt the Centaurs needed a little more energy in the game versus Killingly, something he has felt for much of the season.

“I’m happy with the record but I would like to see more intensity. If we have to scrape past a team, no problem. But if we have opportunities to put teams away, expand our lead, occasionally we do it, but we also get comfortable because the pitching has been so good and the defense so solid. It’s a long season, but we have to look at that more,” the Woodstock Academy coach said.

The Centaurs had plenty of baseball to play this week.

But they like the game so much, they just wanted to play more.

On Wednesday, they traveled to Coventry for, what turned out to be, a marathon.

The two teams battled for 10 innings before the host Patriots pulled out the 8-7 victory.

Senior Evan Menzel singled in the bottom of the 10th for Coventry, scoring Nathan Spear and finally ending the contest in the Patriots (2-0) favor.

The Centaurs led 3-0 early only to see host Coventry score seven times in the bottom of the fifth.

But Woodstock Academy didn't call it quits.

Caleb Simoneau was hit by a pitch in the sixth inning and Riley O’Brien followed with a double, both came home on ground outs in the sixth to cut the Patriots lead to two.

Woodstock Academy tied it in the top of the seventh when Corradi tripled and scored on a ground out and O’Brien later singled home the tying run to force the extra innings.

The Centaurs (4-1) made up for the overtime a bit on Thursday when they were able to shorten a game to five innings due to the mercy rule.

Woodstock Academy put 10 runs up on the board in the third inning and rolled to a 16-2, five-inning, victory over Tourtellotte.

Ericson (3 RBIs) drove in two with a double in the uprising as did Hernandez with a single. Brady Lecuyer added an RBI single and was the recipient of one of the three bases-loaded walks in the third inning while Sampson had a sacrifice fly.

O’Brien was the only Woodstock Academy player with a pair of hits in the game to back the pitching of Jack Sumner who struck out 10 in five innings.