Hoosac Valley's Baserunning Leads Way in Win over Drury
CHESHIRE, Mass. -- Hoosac Valley junior Henry Sniezek had five stolen bases on Wednesday afternoon, and that was just the tip of the iceberg.
The Hurricanes stole 19 as a team en route to a 17-4 win over Drury.
Hoosac Valley made the most of its 12 hits -- all singles -- as it picked up its first win of the season.
“I told them from the get-go, from the first day of the season, that I feel we can be a really good team, but I want to be really aggressive in the way we play,” Hoosac Valley coach Trevor Swistak said. “Sometimes, we’re going to be thrown out, but that’s the way it is. We’re going to make everybody play.”
The Hurricanes (1-1) had a 9-0 lead before Drury scored its first run and responded to that with three more in the bottom of the fourth to take a 12-1 lead.
But the Blue Devils (0-2) scratched out a couple of runs to keep the game alive, which suited Drury coach Pat Boulger just fine.
Any opportunity to play baseball in the fresh air and outside Bucky Bullett Gymnasium has been a rare commodity this spring for Boulger’s club.
“You know, it’s funny, we just played four hours on a field, and it’s more time than we’ve practiced on our own field all year,” Boulger said, referring to the warm-up and game-time at Hoosac Valley on Wednesday. “And that’s what happens.
“I’m not trying to blame people, but this is the truth: When you don’t have time outside to practice and you go out on the field to play, it shows. We just need more time on the field. As soon as we get that time on the field, this team is going to get better.”
Boulger already saw improvement in his young squad from its rain-soaked opener on the high school field earlier this week.
But it was not enough on Wednesday against a more experienced Hoosac Valley nine, particularly against Hurricane hurlers John Krol and Devin Kogut.
Krol threw fewer than 50 pitches in going four innings to get the win. He struck out four and allowed just two hits and one run before turning the ball over to Kogut.
Kogut struck out five in three innings, not allowing an earned run.
But the big difference in the game was Hoosac Valley’s efficiency on the basepaths. The Hurricanes were not caught stealing in those 19 attempts, which included Sniezek’s steal of home in the second inning when he took advantage of a pickoff try at first when the Hurricanes had runners at the corners.
Sniezek reached base in four of his five plate appearances and ended up scoring three times. He went 3-for-4 with a walk and a pair of RBIs to lead Hoosac Valley’s offense.
Colby Rougeau went 2-for-4 with two RBIs.
“We got enough hits, but I didn’t feel we hit the ball hard,” Swistak said. “It’s not the way I want to hit it. We had a couple of nice line shots, but it’s something we’ve got to work on.”
A couple of hits by both teams may have gone for extra bases on another day, but in the still spongy early-spring turf, anything that hit the ground tended to stick, allowing the outfielders to get the ball back to the infield in a hurry.
The Hurricanes had their best inning with the bats in the third, when Zach Swistak, Cole Desroches and Zach Boulger got things started with three singles in a row. Rougeau and Luc Trombley tacked on hits in a four-run rally.
Drury’s offensive highlight came in the fifth, when Ben Moulton and Corbin Rumbolt (2-for-3) each drove in a run, the latter on the game’s only extra-base hit, a double down the left-field line.
Hoosac Valley gets back at it on Thursday when it hosts Taconic.
Drury (0-2) is looking forward to a needed opportunity for Thursday time on Joe Wolfe Field, where it is scheduled to face Monument Mountain at 1 p.m.
“I know the will and the grit of this team, and they want to play the game correctly,” Boulger said. “And they’re a young team, and I have no problem with that, and I’m not using youth as an excuse. I never have, and I never will.
“But, these guys need to get out on a field and practice every day for two or three hours, and then they need to bring it to a game -- all the experiences and situations you talk about in practice.”