Hall High School in West Hartford defeated Northwest Catholic 8-0 in its 2022 season opener at home.
By Paul Palmer
Behind Nick Udell’s pitcher and a few timely power shots, the Hall Warriors tied their record at 1-1 on the year, beating Northwest Catholic in their baseball home opener 8-0.
The Warriors, who were beaten by Westhill on Saturday, launched their attack early on Tuesday. Late in the first, Cole Kocienda singled to the right and a batter later, senior receiver Tommy LaSpada hit a two-run blast over the left field wall to give Hall a 2-0 lead.
The senior catcher, who will move to Westfield State in the fall where he will play baseball, was happy to start his team’s offense. “After Saturday, it was great to get that first hard-hit ball,” he said.
In the top of the second, the Lions put two runners on steps, before Udell got one out on an inside fly rule, one strikeout, then a short pop to end the inning. “He’s someone who’s been competing for a rotation spot for the last few seasons,” Hall coach Nick Marsh said of his pitcher.
In the bottom half of the inning, Brian Chelli tripled to deep center and came in to score on Lucas Pyrro’s base hit to center.
Northwest had its best chance to get on the board in fourth. Sean Tessman doubled the wall down the middle with one out. Udell then asked Jonah Bakerzik to watch on a 1-2 break point, before exiting the final on a sterling play from Kocienda. On a hard-hit ball to his right, the shortstop choked the ball and got up to pitch first to beat the runner and end the inning.
“I just wanted to get a good start for us,” said the senior pitcher who will travel to Castleton (VT) in the fall. “As the game progressed, I felt more comfortable,” he added.
The momentum continued through the bottom of the fourth as Hall put things away with three more points.
Dan Moleti started with a walk and a stolen base. He moved up to third on picking a defender before Chelli again provided the offense with an RBI single to the right. Chelli stole second and scored on a Pyrro brace.
After a strikeout, Udell scored a short-to-third single to bring Hall the sixth run.
Hall’s coach Marsh put him back in the bullpen from there to end the game. Quinn LaRock finished first in fifth and had a 1-2-3 inning with a pair of strikeouts. In the sixth, it was Elijah Salomons mowing down Northwest in order. Simon Rosenberg came in for the seventh and retired the first batter, but the ball went past LaSpada allowing Tressman to reach the first. From there it was a choice of a defender, and one ball through the middle and one on the right to end the game.
Hall’s last two runs came in the bottom of the sixth when Kocienda capped off a strong game with an RBI double, then a wild pitch to the next batter allowed Hall’s eighth and final run.
“We had a few players injured in the Westhill game so it was good to see players in different places today,” Marsh said.
Hall has little time to sit back and celebrate as they look ahead to a tough pair of away games to end their week. A trip to Southington is on the schedule on Friday with a road game at Fairfield Warde on Saturday.
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