This is a printer-friendly version of an article from Zip06.com.07/18/2022 11:47 AM
While there have been some ups and downs, the Clinton Huskies 19-U AAU baseball team is still finding ways to excel in certain moments this summer. Clinton currently owns a record of 2-5-1 while traversing a difficult schedule that’s challenging the team on a game-by-game basis. In one of their most-recent games, the Huskies claimed a narrow victory over the City Angels that showed what Head Coach Willie Fritz’s club is capable of when everything comes together.
Clinton hosted the City Angels on July 7 and came away with a 2-1 win in an East Shore Travel League matchup at the Indian River Complex. After falling behind early, the Huskies scratched out a few runs by capitalizing on a couple of offensive opportunities in order to emerge victorious. Clinton only had 4 hits in the game, but Coach Fritz was impressed with the Huskies’ ability to cash in when they needed to, while receiving sound contributions both on the mound and in the field.
“That was a real good game. The pitching was the star of the game, and the defense was fantastic after that first inning,” Fritz said. “We made the plays. We did a good job.”
Lucas Kamoen and Alex Sheehan both turned in solid pitching performances for Clinton in the victory. Kamoen pitched 4 innings and struck out 5 hitters, while Sheehan fanned 6 batters over his 3 innings of work.
After the Angels scored a run in the first inning, Brady Fritz singled home Garret Garbinski with the tying run during the third. Then in the fourth inning, Bryan Higgins dropped down a bunt single that allowed Mike Zingarella to cross home plate with the go-ahead run, giving the Huskies a 2-1 advantage. Ethan Reemsnyder and Declan Christopher also had hits for Clinton in the win.
Even with the victory, Coach Fritz still emphasized the importance of his team getting more people on base in order to create a surplus of opportunities. Overall, though, Fritz was pleased that his players were able to execute a couple of plays that made the difference in the game.
“The two runs we scored were on little gimmick plays where I run the guy on second basically on a bunt-and-run,” said Fritz. “Some of the fundamentals we like to do, we executed. I want to get into situations again where we can run a bunt or we can run a hit-and-run. When we’ve been in those situations where we have the opportunity to do it, we’ve done a pretty good job.”
Following their win versus the Angels, the Huskies went on to play Bluefish Travel at Veterans Field in Bridgeport on July 10. Clinton was able to get more runners on base in this game, but ultimately took a 12-2 defeat to the Bluefish on a day where the team struggled defensively while missing a few players.
“This was a real good team we were playing. We had guys playing out of position that made a couple errors, and they hit the ball,” Fritz said. “We used it to try out some things, and I liked some of the things I saw. It was just hitting the ball in the big spot was what we were lacking.”
Fritz and Reemsnyder scored the runs for the Huskies in the contest. Fritz, Zingarella, Declan Christopher, and Dom Carpenter all had 2 hits on the day. Reemsnyder, Ethan Ranaudo, and Ryan Hromadka added 1 hit apiece for Clinton.
Coach Fritz has noticed a different atmosphere in the dugout this year as many of the team’s athletes get ready to head off to college. With this potentially being the final campaign in the program for several of their players, Fritz feels that the Huskies are taking the 2022 season more seriously than in years past.
“They put a lot of pressure on themselves. I try to make my little comments and jokes, and I laughed at them the other day. I said, ‘I’m making jokes guys,’ and nobody’s laughing, because they’re so serious about what we’re doing out here,” said Fritz. “You can be serious, bust each other’s chops, and have a good time, but they seem very tight. They want to win is what it is.”
Coach Fritz and company are looking forward to some competitive baseball for the remainder of the summer season, including an opportunity to go out of state to face some unfamiliar opponents. Beyond the performances on the field, Fritz enjoys spending time with his players and knows that they are enjoying the moments spent together both on and off the diamond.
“We got a tournament in Delaware in a couple weeks for four days that I’m really looking forward to. The guys love going there. We get up for it, we have a good time, and it’s good bonding for the team,” Fritz said. “We’ll be hanging out with the 17-year-old team, too. It’s good for the kids and the families, too.”