Waterbury Career Academy baseball working hard, looking to improve

WCA reliever Zack Schaffner delivers a warm-up pitch while Justin Torres (20) looks on.

It’s been an up-and-down first season in the Naugatuck Valley League for Waterbury Career Academy baseball.
The Spartans are 3-6 after Monday’s 12-2 loss at Wolcott, but there have been some good moments. WCA started 1-3, but picked up an 18-8 win over Kennedy on April 17. The Spartans had a good chance at a second straight win on April 19, but lost 5-4 in extra innings to Derby. WCA lost 7-1 to Seymour on April 20, but rebounded with a 17-6 victory over Kennedy on April 22.
“Boys continue to fight and improve each day,” Spartan head coach Joe Russo said on the team’s Facebook page. “That’s all I can ask for. Love this group of guys.”
On Monday, WCA showed some fight despite falling into a 7-0 hole against Wolcott. Jordan Layman led off the top of the fourth inning and reached on an error. After a pop out, Layman was erased on a fielder’s choice hit by Adrian Velez.

The next batter was Justin Torres. Torres hammered the first pitch he saw from Wolcott’s Ethan Gillotti over the left field wall to get WCA within 7-2.

WCA’s Celestino Toucet (15) jogs back to the dugout as teammate Jon Castro (6) looks on.

The Spartans actually got off to a solid start against the big bats of the Eagles. WCA starting pitcher Jacob Torres, who is only a sophomore, retired Wolcott 1-2-3 in the first inning. Torres got a groundout to second baseman Eduardo Huertas, then fielded a comebacker for the second out. The last batter of the inning popped out to left fielder Mike Matta.
Torres sandwiched two outs around a single in the second inning. After that, the game came unglued for WCA. The Spartans were hurt by an error, a balk and four walks. When the inning finally ended, Wolcott was ahead 7-0.
Russo implored his pitchers to throw strikes.
“If you let them put the ball in play, we have a chance,” Russo said during one inning.
WCA has been playing better, but it was reminded of how far it needs to go Monday. The Spartans are scheduled to host Crosby on Wednesday at Municipal Stadium, then travel to Woodland on Thursday.

PHOTOS: Click here to view images from Monday’s game.