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Wheeler roundup: Lions’ softball team off to best start in long time

NORTH STONINGTON — Wheeler High jumped out to an early lead and never looked back in Friday’s 13-3 nonleague softball win over Westbrook.

Jennifer Paride had a strong day at the plate and in a limited time as a pitcher. The junior singled, tripled and drove in four runs. She started and pitched four shutout innings, giving up just two hits and striking out nine.

The Lions (4-1) opened the game with four runs in the first, one in the second and five in the bottom of the third to lead 9-0 after three innings.

Kylie Baker had the big hit in the four-run Wheeler first, a two-run triple that made it 4-0. Baker had two hits in the game and is batting .500.

Wheeler leadoff hitter Raven Houck singled three times and scored four runs. Houck, a sophomore, is batting .550 after five games.

Westbrook (2-6) scored all of its runs after the fifth inning off relief pitcher Samantha Muller. The freshman did not allow a hit in three innings and struck out four. All of the runs scored off Muller were unearned.

With four wins in their first five games the Lions are off to the best start since at least 1985. Wheeler started 3-1 in 2011, 2010 and 2000 but lost the next game all three times. The Lions are 1-0 in the ECC-Small.

The Lions host Plainfield of the ECC-Medium on Tuesday. Wheeler beat the Panthers 6-0 on April 11.

“Any ECC game we take very seriously, I feel like it’s the best conference around,” Wheeler coach Joe Cawley said.


Wheeler ..........................12

Grasso Tech .....................0

GROTON — Kevin Knowles made a spot-start for the Lions and came through with a one-hitter over six innings in Friday’s nonleague win.

Knowles, make his first start and third appearance on the mound, walked one and struck out six. It was Wheeler’s (2-4) second double-digit victory over Grasso (1-6) this season.

“Kevin only walked one guy and stayed in the strike zone. He’s not normally a pitcher even though he’s pitched in relief a couple of times. I was trying to give some of our regular guys a break. We had faced Grasso already and I thought Kevin could handle them, which he did,” Wheeler coach Charles Roark said.

Andy Rauch pitched the final inning in relief and struck out two batters without allowing a hit or a walk.

There were plenty of hitting stars in Wheeler’s 14-hit performance.

Knowles went 3 for 5 with four runs scored, a double and a run batted in. Troy Stefanski went 4 for 5 with two doubles, four RBIs and a couple of runs scored.

Rauch went 2 for 2 with three RBIs and a double. Mike Dellaporta contributed three hits, including a double, and scored two runs. Dylan Wilkinson went 2 for 4 with a couple of runs scored and a run batted in.

Wheeler plays a nonleague game today at Parish Hill at 11 a.m.

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