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Hits And Braun Carry Nighthawk Baseball Team



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Newtown High School’s baseball team used its Braun — as in David Braun — to overpower Stratford with a 6-1 win at Penders Field on May 6. Braun pitched a complete game three-hitter, allowing only one unearned run, walking three, and striking out eight.

Braun mixed and matched with his fastball, curve, slider, and changeup.

“It’s always good to play your best and do your best for your team,” the pitcher said.

“He was tremendous. He attacked the zone. He’s aggressive out there — doesn’t get rattled,” said Newtown Coach Ian Thoesen, who witnessed Braun pitch around four errors to shut down the Red Devils.

Newtown had two hits and a run batted in off the bat of Tom Tavar, and got RBIs from Jack Petersen, Dylan Goyette, and Karl Miller. Grayson DeFelice and Goyette doubled, and Charlie Curtis tripled.

The Nighthawks overcame four errors against Stratford but couldn’t shake off three fielding miscues against Weston in a 4-3 nine-inning loss on May 7. The Nighthawks made some strong plays in the field, too, with first baseman throwing home to catcher DeFelice to nab a base runner trying to score in the opening inning, DeFelice throwing to second baseman Goyette to catch a would-be base stealer, and Braun making some solid plays at third base, including a dive to snare a slightly off-line throw from the outfield to save a run. Goyette doubled and drove in a run, and Miller had an RBI.

It was 2-1 Newtown in the seventh, when Weston cashed in on some fielding mistakes to knot the score. Will Burns pitched into the eighth inning before exiting on a pitch count. He did not allow an earned run struck out nine. Weston managed one unearned run. The Trojans took a 4-2 lead in the top of the ninth. Newtown rallied, got a run closer, and left two men in scoring position.

“It was a tough baseball game. Overall, we played well. We made a couple errors late that cost us,” Thoesen said.

Newtown doubled up Bunnell of Stratford 12-6 on May 10, improving to 9-5 this spring. Goyette led the offensive charge with four hits and four RBI, and DeFelice knocked in two. Goyette and Curtis doubled, and Miller tripled.

The hitting has been stellar in several games. Pitching, however, has been keep in keeping the Hawks in almost every contest. Thoesen describes Braun and Burns, in no particular order, as 1A and 1B — co aces of the staff, if you will.

Newtown’s pitchers earn plenty of praise from pitching coach Matt Paz, who has done a nice job not only with Burns and Braun, but with the rest of the rotation.

“Burns and Braun have been very successful this year attacking the strike zone and mixing up their pitches in all situations. Their maturity is what I am most impressed with. Their stats show how unquestionably dynamic they are but its their ability to deal with adversity — errors, questionable calls, noise — that has turned them into elite pitchers and standouts for our pitching staff. Both of them showcase phenomenal control and always keep our team in the game,” Paz said.

“Honestly, our whole starting rotation including Zach Kugler have been standouts,” said Paz, adding that Kugler limited New Fairfield to just a pair of runs in five strong innings, outpitching University of Connecticut commit Braden Quinn.

“Our starting rotation combined ERA has truly helped lead this team to consistently win and has helped keep us in ball games,” Paz added.

Braun has a 1.13 earned run average, Burns a 1.18, and Kugler 2.56 heading into this week’s action.

“I could not be more proud of their performance so far this year. I also want to include Zander Kasbarian, who has thrived in his closer role. He, too, has under a 1.00 ERA and has thrived in the highest of pressure situations. Again, very proud of all of them and they will continue to be the staff that helps create a strong team,” Paz added.

Andy Hutchison can be reached at andyh@thebee.com.

David Braun shut down Stratford in Newtown’s 6-1 win on May 6. —Steffan Burns photo
Second baseman Dylan Goyette gets ready to tag a base runner during Newtown’s 4-3 setback to Weston on May 7. —Bee Photos, Hutchison
CJ Demers swings the bat as Zach Kugler takes his lead off third and Coach Ian Thoesen looks on in the Weston game.
David Braun, playing third base, dives to snag the ball on a throw from the outfield.
CJ Demers makes a swipe tag as a Weston runner slides back safely to first.
Zach Majeski runs the bases.
Newtown’s right fielder prepares to scoop the ball.
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