NEW BRITAIN - The weather has not been kind to spring sports so far this season but now that it seems to have taken a break from flooding the fields, teams are starting to be able to get used to playing outside again, including the New Britain baseball team. Three games into the season, the Hurricanes finally played their first real home game at Beehive Field and shook off the rust with an 8-4 win over Bristol Central.
“It felt amazing. I finally got to throw outside,” New Britain pitcher Will Homar said. “It sucks being inside a gym.”
Homar was essential to New Britain’s win over the Rams. He pitched a seven-inning complete game, striking out five while surrendering seven hits and three earned runs. Bristol Central threatened to claw its way back into the game a few times late in the game but Homar was able to keep the Rams at bay.
“He’s a competitor,” New Britain coach Roberto Mercado said. “When big spots come up, he’s up for the challenge.”
Homar also contributed on offense. In three at-bats, the pitcher recorded two hits, two runs scored and one RBI.
“It felt good,” Homar said. “It helped the whole team out because, without those runs, it would’ve been tied or something.”
But the day was not without blemishes for Homar. The ace plunked four Bristol Central batters and Mercado made multiple trips out to the mound to calm down his pitcher.
“His first time out last week, he struggled a little bit,” Mercado said. “Just like everyone else, [he’s] just getting back into the feel of pitching against live hitters. Our whole team needs to continue to get better and Will’s going to get better as well.”
The good news for the Hurricanes was that Mercado’s visits were successful, as Homar was usually able to get focused again and close out the inning, with the only exception being the third when Bristol Central scored three of its runs.
“I settled right after that. I just needed a little break,” Homar said about his coach’s trips to the mound. “He came right up to me, he talked to me, he gave me some advice and I just did it.”
Unlike the Rams, the Hurricanes stayed mostly unblemished in the error column and were able make the plays necessary to secure the win. New Britain only stranded two runners on base in the entire game, compared to Bristol Central’s eight.
“Everyone’s starting up and it’s early in the season, where you’re just trying to figure out where guys are going to play, but it’s a plus when you can give the other team only 21 outs in a game and not any extra outs,” Mercado said. “We tell our guys that all the time: ‘don’t give up free 90s [and] free bases can’t happen.’ Giving free outs just can’t happen. Good teams are going to take advantage of it and we were fortunate enough to come through in some big spots when those advantages came up for us.”
With dependable defense, pitching becomes much easier and with a pitcher like Homar, that should be terrifying for teams facing the Hurricanes.
“It felt real good. I knew my defense had my back if I just threw strikes,” Homar said. “I was in situations and I was nervous but I knew my defense would have my back.”
Josh Kestenbaum can be reached at 860-973-1811 or firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @K_baum30