Pictured: Valley Regional’s Colin Carver pitched four innings for the win and also doubled and homered in Monday’s rout of H-K. (Photo by Marc Silvestrini)

By Marc Silvestrini

HIGGANUM – About the only things that were hot at the wet and windy Haddam-Killingworth baseball field Monday were Valley Regional’s bats.

The Warriors pounded out 12 hits in handing the Cougars a 13-3 loss in a game that was played in a steady drizzle from the third inning on and was ultimately called after six innings under the 10-run mercy rule.

The win improves Valley’s record to 9-2, both overall and in the Shoreline Conference. The loss drops the Cougars, who had won four of their last five, to 8-4 overall and 8-3 in the conference, one game behind the Warriors in the league standings. The teams meet again on May 9 in Deep River.

Valley’s attack Monday featured six extra-base hits, including home runs from James Marsden and Colin Carver, the starting and winning pitcher.

Carver, a right-handed junior, surrendered a run and two hits in four innings of work and had a double to go along with his second-inning homer. He reached base in all four of his plate appearances and scored four runs on the afternoon.

“He struggled a bit with his control today (walking seven and uncorking four wild pitches) but still gave us a pretty good effort,” Valley coach Brian Drinkard said of Carver’s work on the mound.

Those control issues led to an H-K run in the bottom of the first as the Cougars grabbed their only lead of the game.

H-K sophomore Blake Kamoen led off with an infield single and moved to second on a bouncer to second by Alex Sheehan. Back-to-back walks to Nick Glynn and Dylan Coon then loaded the bases before Carver’s second wild pitch of the inning allowed Kamoen to race home with the first run of the game.

Unfortunately for the home team crowd, H-K’s lead didn’t last for long. With one out in the top of the second, Carver launched a fastball from Sheehan, the Cougars’ starter, over the fence in right-center field to tie the game.

A walk to Mason Erwin and a sharp single to center by Brayden Shea then put two men aboard for Jack Finnegan, who brought both runners home when he sliced a wind-blown double to right field, staking Carver and the Warriors to a 3-1 lead.

Valley came right back to score three more runs in its half of the third.

Sheehan hit Valley third baseman Brayden Sparaco to start the inning off and, after an out, Marsden reached for a slightly high and outside fastball and pulled it over the fence in right to make it 5-1. Carver followed with a double and strolled home on Shea’s two-out double to give the Warriors their second straight three-run inning.

Following a scoreless fourth, the Warriors put another three-spot on the board in the fifth. Erwin’s sacrifice fly to right brought home Marsden, who led off the inning with a triple, and run-scoring singles by Lucas Rogers and Sam Hutchinson later in the inning stretched the Warriors’ lead to 9-1.

Valley then sealed the deal with a four-run outburst in the sixth, sparked by Erwin’s run-scoring single, a sacrifice fly by Rogers and an infield error by the Cougars that allowed two more runs to score.

H-K — which was held to four hits by three Valley pitchers — came back to score two runs in its half of the sixth against Finnegan, the third Warrior pitcher of the day, but was unable to draw closer than 10 runs, triggering the mercy rule.

“I looked at Valley as one of the favorites in the Shoreline at the beginning of the season and I didn’t see anything today to change my mind,” Cougars coach Mark Brookes said. “They’re a very solid team — they have some pitching, they play good defense and they hit the ball real well.”

While conceding that “it’s always good to beat a talented and well-coached team like H-K,” Drinkard said he tries to keep his team on an even keel, no matter whom they play or what the outcome is.

“We try not to get too up or too down no matter what happens out on that field,” he said. “We just try to play steady, solid baseball, every time out there, game after game.”

Marsden, Carver, Shea and Finnegan each had a pair of hits for the Warriors while Erwin, Rogers and Finnegan each had two RBIs. Carver was relieved by Sparaco, who pitched an inning of scoreless, hitless relief, in the fifth. Finnegan came on in the sixth to close out the game.

Blake Kamoen had two of H-K’s four hits while brother Lucas Kamoen and Caden Civiello had the others. Sheehan started the game for the Cougars, yielding seven hits and six runs in three innings and fanning six against no bases on balls. A good chunk of the damage against him came as a result of poor defense, particularly in the outfield, where several balls that fell in for hits might have been caught.

“We didn’t do a very good job today on defense,” Brookes conceded. “There were balls they hit today that should have been caught.”

Lucas Kamoen pitched the fourth and fifth innings for H-K while Ryan Erskine worked the sixth.

Valley has back-to-back home games this week against East Hampton on Wednesday and Cromwell on Thursday. H-K will hit the road for the balance of the week, traveling to Clinton to face Morgan on Wednesday and to East Hampton to face the Bellringers on Friday.

Valley….033 034–13 12 2
H-K…….100 002–3 4 1

Batteries: VR–Carver, Sparaco (5), Finnegan (6) and Erwin; HK–Sheehan, Lucas Kamoen (4), Erskine (6) and Glynn. WP: Carver; LP: Sheehan; 2B: VR–Finnegan, Carver, Shea; HK–Blake Kamoen; 3B: VR–Marsden. HR: VR–Carver, Marsden.

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