The Berlin boys lacrosse team and the New Britain softball team combined to go 6-0 last week and this week’s Athletes of the Week were big parts of their respective team’s success.
The Redcoats defeated RHAM 12-8, Newington 9-3 and Bristol Eastern 16-2 this past week, racking up a goal differential of plus-24. The three-win week improved Berlin’s overall record to 5-2 with five wins in its last six games.
A combination of offense and defense resulted in the Redcoats’ stellar week and junior defender Jack Lombardo made big contributions to both. Lombardo had a goal in Friday’s rout of Bristol Eastern but he made many long runs upfield to help Berlin establish offensive presence, which often-times led to goals.
“As a defenseman, he has four goals on the season,” Berlin coach Scott Rossi said. “He’s been tremendous.”
On the other side of the ball, he has also been outstanding. With his height and his stick, his defensive radius is large and that helps cut down on the opportunities opponents are able to find in the Redcoats’ defensive zone.
“He has been a force in front of the net for us,” Rossi said. “He’s been a leader back there. [He’s] leading the team in ground balls right now [and] he’s leading the team in takeaways [and] interceptions. He clears the ball for us and initiates the offense for us.”
This is just Lombardo’s junior season but the improvements he has already made have been noticeable and he and Rossi hope he continues to grow.
“Compared to last season, I think I’ve had a lot more success,” Lombardo said. “I have to thank my coaches for that and all my teammates.”
“He was all-conference last season as a sophomore,” Rossi said. “The expectation is he’ll repeat again. He’s been fantastic.”
The Hurricanes are off to an excellent start to its season. Since losing the season opener to Bristol Central, New Britain has won six games in a row and the offense has exploded.
In those six wins, New Britain has scored double-digit runs five times and of those five double-digit run games, the team has scored more than 17 runs four times. Three of those six wins came last week, as the Hurricanes swept the week’s schedule.
One of the big reasons for the recent offensive explosion has been Jamyra Irizarry. In Thursday’s 23-16, extra-inning win over East Catholic the senior first basemen had a game for the ages. She finished 6-for-6 with a home run, three triples, two doubles, six runs and eight RBI.
“I have never seen anything like that done on any level,” head coach Joel Simmons said.
That game against East Catholic wasn't the only tremendous performance she put together last week. In the game prior, against Northwest Catholic, a 4-3 extra-inning win, she went 3-for-5 with a triple, three runs and two RBI. It wasn’t quite as prolific as the high scoring affair against East Catholic, but, all-in-all, it was a special week for the senior.
Irizarry isn’t the only New Britain softball player off to a tremendous start this season, but she is as big a reason as any as to why the team is playing so well.
“Jamyra has been pretty incredible,” Simmone said. “Our team is doing some very special things so far this year.”