Baseball Taylor wins the duel
NEWTOWN — The last baseball team with an undefeated league record in the SWC just keeps on rolling.
When its ace is on the hill Newtown is even more difficult to beat.
Josh Taylor tossed another gem Wednesday, throwing a complete-game shutout while yielding just two hits in a 1-0 win for the Nighthawks over New Fairfield on Senior Night. Newtown improved to 11-1 with the win to keep its unblemished league record.
“No one expected this from us,” said Taylor. “I expected this 100 percent because the chemistry on this team is unbelievable. It’s a great group of guys; we have the goal in our minds that we’re going to win the SWC championship and the (Class LL) state championship. We deserve to be in that position.”
Nine was the magic number — the Nighthawks had scored nine runs in each of their last four wins — but just one was required with how Taylor was dealing. He struck out nine batters, including the side in the sixth inning.
Todd Petersen and Taylor hit consecutive doubles in the fourth for the game’s lone run. New Fairfield had a pair of runners in scoring position but Taylor didn’t budge. He retired the last nine batters he faced.
“Josh was great today,” Newtown coach Ian Thoesen said. “He’s a competitor and he had a big hit today to score the run.”
The Nighthawks entered the season having graduated their top two pitchers a year ago. But a trio of juniors — Taylor, Sammy Smith and Connor Haywood — have combined to form a quality pitching staff.
“Watching (Kyle) Roche and Orlando (Swift) playing last year; I learned from them.” Taylor said. “It was just learning from them and translating it to my game on the mound; it’s everything coming full circle.”
Jake Smith was also dominant for the Rebels, who dropped to 2-5 in the SWC despite a solid 8-5 overall record. He allowed five hits while receiving excellent defense behind him. New Fairfield forced two double plays and made several other difficult plays, but were shut out for the second straight game.
“I think both pitchers were excellent,” said New Fairfield coach Joe Garbowski. “Josh pitched excellent; he had traffic but when it came too it, he settled down and got the outs. (Smith) pitched an outstanding game; he threw 71 pitches and 55 of them were strikes.”
The game featured a pair of UConn commits in Newtown senior Petersen and New Fairfield sophomore Matt Garbowski. Petersen was the lone player with two hits Wednesday.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Josh Taylor, Newtown: Drove in the winning run in addition to being untouchable on the mound.
“The boys are pressing a little especially when we take a (10-0) loss like we did against Stratford,” Garbowski said. “We come in stressing and pressing to try to get those runs across the board; we’ve got to take that approach of calming them down a little bit and not hit the panic button.”
NEWTOWN 1, NEW FAIRFIELD 0
NEW FAIRFIELD000 000 0 — 0 2 0
NEWTOWN000 100 0 — 1 5 0
Batteries: NF—Jake Smith and Matt Garbowski. N—Josh Taylor and Matt Bradbury. Records: New Fairfield 8-5, Newtown 11-1.