NEW BRITAIN - The weather has not been kind thus far during the spring and it has impacted many teams and their ability to prepare for the spring season. The Goodwin Tech baseball team is among those that have had very little practice time because of all of the rain over the past couple of weeks.
The Gladiators played their first game of the season on Friday afternoon and lost to New Britain 10-4.
“The reality of the situation is that we have been on a baseball field twice this season,” head coach Joe Granja said. “We have practiced and we have been outside, but with the rain and snow we have had to find other places to practice because the fields haven’t been playable.
“We did our work in the gym and we have been working hard, but it’s not quite like going out there and getting on the field.”
Because of the limited practice time the Gladiators may be a little bit behind other teams, but they need to catch up fast because conference play starts Monday when the team visits Vinal Tech.
“We are going to try and work on everything,” Granja said. “We need to work on everything. We didn’t play great defensively [against New Britain], we didn’t play awful, but we also didn’t play great. But I am excited about this team overall and I think we will be OK.”
The Gladiators’ hopes are sky high for this season. Last year’s team won 12 games and made it to the second round of the state tournament before losing to top-seeded Waterford. This year’s team has a lot of returning players, so the expectation is to top last year.
“We have six starters returning from last year’s team and they are all really good baseball players,” Granja said. “I think our pitching is going to be a strength and, although we didn’t hit well [on Friday], I think we are going to be a good offensive team this season, too.”
“We want to win a state championship,” said David Plourde, who the coach said will be a big key this season. “We feel really confident as a team that we have good enough players to get it done.”
Plourde is the team’s ace and also its No. 3 hitter, so his play will have a lot to say about how successful Goodwin Tech is this season. In Friday’s game he got knocked around a little bit on the mound, but that was against a top-notch Class LL school. At the plate he hit a big triple in the fourth inning and scored the tying run.
The Gladiators believe that games like the one against New Britain will only help in the long run.
“We schedule teams like New Britain, Woodland and Valley Regional because we think it will help us come state tournament time,” Granja said. “Playing good teams out of our conference is good preparation for the end of the season.”
“Facing a team that good to start the season shows us what we can do,” Plourde said. “I think from here we will only go higher and higher and I think we will do some great things this season and go very far.
“We may be a little bit slow in the outfield, which is a bit of a weakness, but our infield is great, our pitching is great and one through nine can hit, so the offense should be potent. We are going to be just fine as the season keeps going.”
Michael Woolfson can be reached at 860-801-5203 or firstname.lastname@example.org On Twitter: @Bigwoolf5