Trumbull wants to reach league, state finals

Connor Johnston and Dylan Moran are Trumbull baseball captains.

Connor Johnston and Dylan Moran are Trumbull baseball captains.

Trumbull Athletics / Contributed photo

Names change but goals are the same for Trumbull baseball

“We want to get to Cubeta and we want to get to Palmer,” Trumbull coach Phil Pacelli of reaching FCIAC and Class LL finals. “This week we have Conard and Fairfield Prep. Our SCC game is with Amity. Playing those games prepares us for our league schedule.”

Pacelli, in his 16th season (207-140), believes pitching depth will carry the Eagles forward.

“We have a lot of arms. When you lose a guy like Bryan Kraus (Rhode Island) to graduation it is tough. We have Conner Johnston (headed to Sacred Heart University) and many other guys to back him up,” Pacelli said. “It is a luxury. Matthew Cummings will be the No. 2 starter. Sean Francoeur (a lefthander) will be No. 3. Then we have guys like Joey DeRienzo, Jeff Kraus, Logan Huzi, Colin Csizmadia and Dave Baber. All throw strikes. Scott Gell (Stony Brook commit) will be our catcher.”

Dylan Moran and Johnston are captains of a team that also graduated shortstop Jake Gruttadauria (Southern), outfielder Ray Leonzi (Fairfield) and outfielder Luke Masiuk (Northeastern).

“Dylan is a returning starter at first base and has pop in his bat,” Pacelli said. “Junior Jack Durland is at shortstop. Kevin Katragadda and Jack Ligouri will play third and second. They were nursing injuries much of last year. It is great having them back. Jack Nemec and Ryan Warner will compete for time in the infield.”

A handful of players are trusted outfielders.

“Logan Huzi, Matt Wood, Nick Lobuono, Paul Visconti, Jeff Kraus, Colin Csizmadia, Ryan Warner, whoever is hitting will be out there,” Pacelli said. “I think we have a nice mix of guys with experience and younger guys coming up.”

Trumbull began its season with a 10-2 win over Masuk.

“I don’t expect to score 10 runs a game, especially with the caliber of pitching in our league,” Pacelli said. “But if we swing the bats our pitching and defense are solid. That is a recipe for wins.”

Opening win

Connor Johnston struck out three batters to leave the bases loaded in the top of the third and Kevin Katragadda hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the inning when Trumbull sent 12 hitters to the plate and scored seven runs.

“I got in some trouble, but my fastball felt good today,” said the 6-4 Johnston. “I got some timely strikeouts. We built some energy off that when we came up to bat.”

Katradadda’s homer cleared the left field fence by a wide margin. “I’ve worked on my hitting in the offseason. It’s good to get a home run in the first game,” he said. Katragadda added a run-scoring single in a two-run sixth

“It was windy and cold, not ideal hitting weather, but I’m pleased with how we swung the bats. Dylan Moran had a big two-run single,” Pacelli said.

Shortstop Jack Durland finished with four assists and a put out. Catcher Scott Gell had two hits and threw out a runner stealing.

“It is great to get the first win against a good well-coached team like Masuk,” Pacelli said. “It came down to that third inning. Conner got the strikeouts and we put six hits together.”

william.bloxsom@hearstmediact.com Twitter: @blox354