Jackets fall on opening day, 7-6
WINSTED — The Nonnewaug Chiefs battled back from a six-run deficit to claim a win over The Gilbert School’s baseball squad Wednesday, April 6, at Walker Field.Gilbert starter Austin Brochu produced a one-two-three hitless first inning with the help of center fielder Devon Molway, who tracked down a very deep fly ball for the out.Yellowjacket Jon Marshall worked a walk in the bottom half of the first, then put himself in scoring position off a wild pitch. Catcher Justin Morhardt followed with a single, and Bobby Smith drove Marshall in for the first run of the game.Brochu kept the Chiefs struggling to find a hit, inducing three easy groundballs for another quick, hitless inning. Nonnewaug dropped Gilbert’s first batter on strikes, but coughed up a walk to Jaron Kolek. Kolek swiped second and reached third off a base hit by Robert Weiss. Kolek continued to aggressively run the base paths, scoring a run off a wild pitch to put the Jackets ahead by two. Molway legged out a base hit bunt to load the bases with only one out and a waning Nonnewaug hurler on the hill.The Chiefs gave up another unearned run off a walk, then a long shot from Bobby Smith was dropped in the outfield, allowing two more Jackets to score. The Jackets scored on another wild pitch, putting them ahead by six in the bottom of the second, and forcing Nonnewaug to turn to the bullpen for relief.Brochu gave up his first walk of the afternoon at the top of the third, but followed it up with his first strikeout. Molway snagged another long shot at center field, and Brochu closed out the inning on strikes.Through the next three innings, Brochu and the Chiefs’ relief pitcher, Brian Dickinson, dueled at the mound in a low-hitting, no-scoring battle. Dickinson was very strong on the hill, tallying strikeout upon strikeout while keeping Gilbert from building on their early lead. Brochu struggled a bit in the sixth, giving up a pair of runs, but was able to recover and end the inning on a strikeout to maintain the Jackets’ advantage.Things turned ugly for the Jackets in the final inning, when Morhardt was called in to close out the game. Morhardt gave up three singles, a hit and an RBI, then walked in a run with bases loaded. Gilbert coach Pat Cooke called in Nate Marshall to relieve Morhardt in an attempt to cauterize Nonnewaug’s offensive explosion. Marshall was able to end the inning without forfeiting further runs to the Chiefs, but the Jackets were unable to respond in the bottom half of the seventh, taking a near 7-6 loss on opening day.Justin Morhardt, Robert Weiss, Austin Brochu, Devon Molway, and Bobby Smith all went one for four on the day. Molway and Weiss added a run and a stolen base each while Smith added an RBI. Brochu tallied four strikeouts through the day and Nate Marshall added two of his own.