BASEBALL: Wallingford squad looks to take CCBL by Storm

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WALLINGFORD — The Wallingford Silver Storm are off to a 4-3-1 start in the Connecticut Collegiate Baseball League and head coach Dennis Boucher has the highest expectations for his boys this season.

Wallingford made it to the league semifinals last summer after a .500 regular season and return plenty of talent. The squad also reinforced its 28-man roster with strong newcomers.

Boucher, a Cheshire resident, took over the team two years ago from former Sheehan coach Matt Altieri. His team picked up a marquee win over defending league champion West Haven on Tuesday, 2-1, at the University of New Haven before falling by the same score to the Brass City Bombers the following night at Waterbury’s Municipal Stadium.

The Silver Storm opened the season with victories over the Western Mass Pioneers (7-2) and Glastonbury Arrows  (6-5). Wallingford also beat the Simsbury SaberCats 8-1.

“I would expect no less than for us competing for a title this year based on who we have beaten so far,” Boucher said this week. “We’ve been very competitive in every game. Everyone’s got pitching; it’s about who makes the least mistakes most nights.”

Underscore “competitive.” Wallingford has played three extra-inning contests already and the tie — a 4-4 stalemate at Manchester last week — was due to darkness.

The Silver Storm plays home games at Cheshire High’s Burt Leventhanl Field. The team suits up college players ranging from Division I to Division III.

Some returning players are outfielders/pitchers Jake Ranney and Gianni Fanelli, shortstop/pitcher Jack Boucher and catcher Jack Clancy.

One big newcomer is Platt standout Ommy Velez, who plays first base and pitches.

“We went into the season with high hopes,” Boucher said. “We have a talented team with a deep pitching staff. We are hoping to be one of the upper-tier teams.”

The pitching staff is anchored by Alec Erskine and Steve Phillips. Both combined to give up one run in the win over West Haven.

Wallingford’s regular starters, at least to open the season, have been Clancy behind the plate, Velez at first, Cole Zalegowski at second, Jack Boucher at short, Matt Costello at third, Ranney in left, Fanelli in center and Mark Smith in right. Enrique Diaz is the DH.

“The team goal is to be competitive in every game and finish in the top of the league so we can get a top playoff seeding,” Coach Boucher said. “The league is deep; pitching and the overall talent level is up across the board.”

Boucher’s coaching assistants are Scott Banche and John Burcato.

After playing on the road Sunday at Western Mass and Tuesday at Glastonbury, the Silver Storm return to Leventhal Field to host the Manchester Eagles on Wedensday at 5:45 p.m.


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