NEW BRITAIN - The New Britain Bees’ bats ended up being as cold as the frigid temperature, and the pitching wasn’t much better, in their season opening loss Friday night.
On the one-year anniversary of the franchise’s first game, the result ended up being the same - a loss to the York Revolution, this time by a 7-4 score.
Unlike a year ago, the Bees did make a run late, giving the crowd something to cheer about in the ninth inning as they brought the tying run to the plate. Craig Maddox hit a deep shot to left that could have tied the game, but Revolution leftfielder Jose Costanza made a running catch near the warning track to end the threat, while Jonathan Griffin struck out to end the rally.
After neither team was able to get much going through the first three innings, York broke through in the fourth on an Isaias Tejeda two-run double off Bees starter Casey Coleman.
Things quickly deteriorated from that point on. An inning later, Travis Witherspoon blasted a two-run shot off the scoreboard, putting the Revolution up 4-0 and ending Coleman’s night with just one out in the fifth. The Bees pitcher went 4 1/3 innings, allowing the four runs (three earned) on seven hits before giving way to Newington native Mike Hepple, who had the same amount of success in his own debut.
After getting out of the fifth, Hepple issued back-to-back walks to start the sixth before surrendering an RBI double to Jared Mitchell, which brought home Tejeda. Bryan Pounds walked a batter later before Hepple gave way to Nate Roe.
On Roe’s third pitch, Angel Franco knocked in Mitchell with his own RBI double. In the span of three innings, York put up seven runs on five hits. Roe struck out the next three batters to get out of the inning.
New Britain, meanwhile, could not find much rhythm offensively with two hits coming off the bat Griffin. Torrington native Conor Bierfeldt proved to be another one of the Bees bright spots. The leftfielder was responsible for two team’s four runs on the night thanks to solo home runs in the fifth and ninth innings.
Maddox, who wasn’t expected to be the team’s every day DH last year and ended up hitting .306, also started fast once again. The 32-year-old Bee singled in his first at-bat, drew a walk and doubled, going 2-for-3 in his season debut with an RBI.
Bees hitters reached the warning track twice. Jovan Rosa did so in the bottom of the first, while Steve Carrillo just missed a grand slam in the seventh. Both were to deep center field and ended their respective innings. In total, the top three hitters in New Britain’s lineup went 0-for-13.
The Bees tacked on a run in the bottom of the eighth after pitch runner Michael Baca was brought home on a Griffin groundout.
Roe pitched two scoreless innings in relief. The right-hander struck out five of the seven batters he faced with no walks. … Bees pitchers combined to strike out 12 Revolution hitters. … Rosa was pulled from the game in the eighth after being hit by a pitch in his leg. … Jamar Walton ended his Bees debut going 0-for-4 with two flyouts and a strikeout while reaching on an error.
David Glovach can be reached at (860) 801-5085 or email@example.com
On Twitter: @DavidGlovach