Trumbull pitchers fare well in top-flight scrimmages

Jake Gruttadauria, Bryan Kraus, Ray Leonzi and Luke Masiuk are team captains for coach Phil Pacelli.

Jake Gruttadauria, Bryan Kraus, Ray Leonzi and Luke Masiuk are team captains for coach Phil Pacelli.

Trumbull Athletics / Contributed photo

It has been 678 days since Trumbull baseball coach Phil Pacelli last took his team onto a field for a game, so he put together a challenging preseason schedule to test his players.

“We had a great week of scrimmages (Bunnell, Newtown, Warde and Fairfield Prep). We found out we are very deep on the mound. We had a lot of innings to eat up with four scrimmages in four days, and our guys were throwing strikes and getting outs,” Pacelli said. “We ran Bryan Kraus, Joey DeRienzo, Connor Johnston, Tyler Basher, Logan Huzi, Matt Gay and Matt Cummings out there and we got a great effort by all.”

Trumbull hopes are buoyed by key returning players.

Pacelli said: “We have four seniors who played significant roles for us back in 2019. Ray Leonzi (shortstop), Luke Masiuk (right field), Bryan Kraus (pitcher) and Andrew Harvey (pitcher) are seasoned veterans.”

Trumbull’s overall 51-player roster includes young kids (16 freshmen, 15 sophomores).

“Even now, five of the seniors we have didn’t get varsity playing time,” Pacelli said. “Jake Gruttadauria (shortstop) and John Bova (second base) are both going to play in college. We are happy we can plug them into our infield. Henry Honychurch is a reserve outfielder and catcher. Riley Simpson is an outfielder, who can DH and pitch.”

Dylan Moran and Rob Dunkel will get time at first base and the combination of Kevin Katragadda and and Tyler Basher will play third. Jack Ligouri was competing for a job in the infield before being injured.

“Scott Gell is a sophomore and really stood out defensively with a good arm and puts the ball in play,” Pacelli said of his starting catcher. “Justin Delaney will be in left field along with Connor Johnston.”

Trumbull went 13-7 in 2019 and advanced to the Class LL quarterfinals out of the 13 seed, where it lost to eventual champion Staples.

“We’ve been able to get everyone at bats, so we have a good feel for the players and how they will help us,” said Pacelli, who will be assisted by Buddy Bray and Tim Tvardzik. Gene Cellini will coach the junior varsity and Jim Pjura the freshmen team.

“We are athletic, we have speed on the bases. I think our pitchers will do well and we are looking forward to a successful season. I’m pleased with the team. The players are hungry and want to win. It shows with the way they are focused every day.”

Pacelli led Trumbull to the FCIAC title in 2012. His Eagles were league finalists in 2013, 2014 and 2017. Where does this group stack up?

Pacelli said: “The players on the team are confident in their ability. They are eager to show that. Our goal every year is to get to Cubeta (FCIAC final) and Palmer (Class LL final). I don’t see why we can’t do it this year.”

Trumbull will visit St. Joseph Saturday at 11 for its season opener.

william.bloxsom@hearstmediact.com Twitter: @blox354