Westport Senior Legion baseball keeps on fighting
Life is about making the most with the hand that's dealt to you.
This is what Westport Senior American Legion baseball coach Wayne Randazzo is dealing with this summer. None of the senior frontliners that were instrumental in Staples winning the FCIAC championship are on the squad (the ones that are playing are in other leagues) nor did he get back lefty David Speer and righty Jimmy Sikorski, who graduated Staples in 2010 and pitched for Columbia University and Cornell University, respectively this past year.
In fact, the only frontliners from the Wreckers are righty Jimmy Kopack and third baseman Bryan Terzian, who completed their junior and sophomore years, respectively, and are providing leadership for this summer's legion team.
"We're a young team and we'll take our lumps but if we beat the teams we should beat, we'll be OK," Randazzo said.
Westport lost three straight games to drop to 2-5 but between final exams and rain, the team didn't play for a week. It started its losing streak June 12 with a 4-2 loss to Trumbull and lost 9-1 to Greenwich Sunday and 9-2 to Stamford Monday.
Despite the losing streak, the coach is pleased with his team.
"We're hitting the ball well but right at people," Randazzo said. "There's a lot of young talent on the team and they are playing hard. Against Stamford, [who is one of the better teams in Zone IV], we had two bad innings. You throw it hard and they hit it, what are you going to do. Some teams win and some teams lose."
Righties John Lobello and Julian Clarke have Westport's two wins on the mound. Lobello, who was cut by the Wreckers and graduated Wednesday threw a thee-hitter in a 2-0 complete game road victory over Wilton June 6, and Clarke, who saw some time for Staples this year and expects to be a major force on the mound next year, beat Darien 5-2 at home June 10. Kopack got the save in the win over Darien.
Lefty Chris Speer (David's brother) has showed some promise this year. Righty Austin Mills, who graduated in 2010 and didn't play in college, has thrown well, which impressed Randazzo since Mills hasn't thrown this year. Mitch Gilbertie, who pitched well for last year's legion team and was a classmate of Mills, is a righty a classmate of Mills at Staples and is a righty hurler for Western Connecticut State University and has also pitched well for Westport this summer.
Terzian has been the team's leading hitter and Alex Gandolfo (first base and catcher) is also swinging the bat well. Nick Kiedasch (center field), Zach Mitchell (right field) and Marco Romero (left field) have been a reliable outfield with Alex Ludel backing them up.
"Everyone is swinging the bat well for us," Randazzo said. "If we hit where they are playing, there's nothing we can do about it. We're making a lot of hard outs and not many weak outs."
Westport's schedule gets busier the next 10 days as the team plays for six straight days and has games scheduled every day except for next Thursday. Making it challenging is the fact Kopack and Clarke are going away this weekend for eight days for a mission in Costa Rico.