WALLINGFORD – The Wallingford Silver Storm has turned things in around in a big way in Connecticut College Baseball League play this summer.
Last season, in their inaugural campaign, the Silver Storm struggled to a 2-19 mark. But the Wallingford squad has vastly improved this year with a 9-5 record just over the halfway point of the season. The substantial turnaround has catapulted the team into second place and the high quality play has translated into victories.
“This year’s been a big bounce back year for us. Last year we only had two wins but this year we’re 9-5,” Silver Storm infielder Peter Abate said. “The big difference this year as opposed to last year is the pitching. Last year we had a lot of walks, the other teams would load the bases up and capitalize.”
Last year’s experience was a benefit. After getting their feet wet in the CCBL last year, the Silver Storm’s coaching staff had a better sense of how to be successful against competition and how to prepare the roster.
“This year’s team, I don’t want to say has better team chemistry but they’re definitely playing better together. A couple of the guys that came back from last year are acting as leaders and are really showing some of the new guys what we expect and are playing well together,” said Silver Storm assistant coach Dom Lombardozzi.
The Silver Storm are also talented and have added several solid players, who have performed. The Wallingford squad has also been carried by their pitching, including starters Lorenzo Davis (West Haven), Brendan O’Connell (Wallingford) and Jack Rich (Meriden).
“We’ve got four or five pretty solid pitchers on a day in and day out bases and then we have a bunch of guys who back them up every game,” Lombardozzi said. “Defensively, up the middle we’re very solid, outfielders are very solid and behind the plate too. All around we’ve got good defensive players that help keep runs off the board.”
The talent and togetherness was evident in a 9-2 win over the Simsbury SaberCats on Monday at Pat Wall Field.
Simsbury struck for a 2-0 second-inning lead. But, the Silver Storm offense roared back for four runs in the bottom of the second inning. The rally included a two-run double by Abate. Those big innings were more difficult to come by last season.
“Playing on this team is fun. It’s a good group of guys and its fun playing with players who are on other colleges during the season,” Silver Storm infielder Steve Mirra said. “It’s really cool and we’re having a good season so far so I’m glad to be on this team. I think we can go far and maybe even win the championship. Most of all though we’re looking to just keep having a good season and have fun.”
Mirra is among several new faces added to the 2018 roster. The Wallingford native has been a key component of the Silver Storm success as solid middle infielder and a reliable bat at the top of the batting order.
“We definitely can make a run at this year. Considering we only won a few games last year in our first year in the league, this year we’ve come back around. Me and Coach (Matt) Altieri are very happy and excited to see what this team can do moving forward the last couple weeks of the season,” Lombardozzi said. “They’re pitching well, they’re playing great defense and they’re getting timely hits. Offensively, here or there they’ll struggle for a couple of innings but then they’ll come right back. Just like earlier (Monday), we got down 2-0 then next thing you know it’s 4-2 in the same inning. These guys like playing with each other. They’re friends and they hang out outside of baseball which is what’s important in a summer league and a college baseball league.”