‘It’s Baseball’ — Top Seeded Sluggers Upset By Falcons
Two seasons ago, Newtown High School’s baseball team got into the South-West Conference tournament as the seventh seed and went on a roll to capture the championship.
Coming off a run to the title game last spring, Newtown seemed destined for a third straight pinnacle contest appearance. But the top-seeded — unbeaten-in-conference play, in fact — Nighthawks were eliminated in the quarterfinals by No. 8 Joel Barlow of Redding on May 21.
The Falcons went on the road and edged Newtown 2-1 to basically do to Newtown what a different version of the Hawks did to the No. 2 seed, Masuk of Monroe, a couple of springs ago.
Barlow freshman standout pitcher Matt Scott, who started in a regular-season clash with NHS only to depart early due to injury, outdueled Newtown’s Connor Haywood, who was better than solid on the hill for the Nighthawks.
“It’s baseball. We were on the wrong end of a pitchers’ duel,” Newtown Coach Ian Thoesen said. “I’m very disappointed because I know how much the kids wanted it.”
Newtown got its lone run in the second inning when Matt Bradbury walked and later scored on a wild pitch, one of the few mistakes by Scott, who allowed only four hits and struck out five batters.
Barlow couldn’t do much against Haywood, but scratched out two runs in the third. A single, two hit batters, and two-run double off the bat of Tiernan Lynch was the difference in the game.
Haywood escaped a bases-loaded jam in the seventh and finished with seven strikeouts. He fanned the side in the fifth as part of whiffing four batters in a row after settling in. Haywood allowed eight hits and one walk; he hit three batters.
Newtown couldn’t capitalize on leadoff singles in the fifth by Harry Lucas and seventh by Luke Melillo. Each time, the Hawks successfully sacrifice bunted to move the runners into scoring position but couldn’t push they tying run across. Shane Demers had Newtown’s other two hits, both singles.
“We played hard. Defense played well today. We just didn’t get the timely hit,” Thoesen said.
Newtown’s final few regular-season games included a wild 7-6 win over Bethel in an eight-inning contest. Each of the last five regular-season battles between the Nighthawks and Bethel have been decided in the last at bat.
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