WOODBURY – The Woodbury Baseball & Softball U13 baseball team lost its first game of the season on July 5, 7-5, against visiting Amity.
And while the coaching staff wasn’t too happy with the team’s early defensive miscues, assistant coach Chris Conti managed to find a silver lining.
“If you go into the playoffs undefeated and you lose, it’s unexpected,” Chris Conti said. “Sometimes a loss is good. It makes you hungrier to win because you know how a loss feels.”
Amity scored three runs in the top of the first inning, and two of those runs came in on one error. But after that inning, Woodbury’s defense settled down and made plays.
“We are normally a great defensive team,” Chris Conti said. “It wasn’t the way we normally play ball. We’ve relied on good defense, pitching, and timely hitting.”
Woodbury managed to erase the deficit in the bottom half of the first. Gabe Brochu led off and singled to right field, stole second, and went to third on an infield single by Nate Bartoli. Ben Conti hit an infield single to score Brochu.
Travis Bambino reached on an error to load the bases, and Dylan Chung hit into a fielder’s choice to bring in Bartoli. Ben Conti then scored on a fielder’s choice by Colby Leonard to tie the game.
Amity added a run in the third inning and three in the fourth to take a 7-3 lead. But Woodbury chipped away at the lead.
Leonard led off the bottom of the fourth with a single and was sacrificed to second by Brendan Burke. Jason Mauro walked and Ben Stewart singled to load the bases. Brochu walked in Leonard to make it a 7-4 game.
Burke walked to open the Woodbury half of the sixth. Stewart walked to put runners on first and second. Ryan Gilroy then singled to score Burke.
Proving baseball is a game of inches, Woodbury put the ball in play three times with the bases loaded, but hit the ball right to Amity defenders and did not score. Chris Conti pointed out that there was nothing Woodbury could have done about Amity’s solid defensive plays.
“Nobody hung their heads. They fought back right up to the last play,” Chris Conti said. We just didn’t get timely hitting today.”
Woodbury has a relatively young U13 team. Several players are 12 years old, and there are a few players on the team who are still 11. But Chris Conti said bringing these players up to play on the regulation-size diamond early had not caused growing pains.
“Remember, Woodbury is a town of 10,000 people,” Chris Conti said. “[Chris Conti, head coach Chris Mauro and assistant coach Michael Burke have] had these boys for the majority of six years. We added a couple of new kids this year and they fit in perfectly.”
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