NHIAA Baseball: Windham shines in every wayBy JOE DUBALL
New Hampshire Union Leader
April 13. 2018 11:22PM
AMHERST — A regular-season baseball tilt between Windham and Souhegan would’ve been a Division II title game preview in recent seasons. However, Friday’s meeting was a fact-finding mission for the Jaguars and Sabers, who each endured heavy roster turnover in the offseason.
It appears as though Windham might be ahead of the curve in adapting to all the change as the Jaguars breezed 12-2 in five innings. The Jaguars (1-0) scored in four of five innings, including a six-run second inning. Tom Splagounias and Tommy Costa reached base four times apiece for Windham, which got a complete game from starter Ryan Faria.
“We had five guys in the starting lineup playing their first varsity game today,” Windham coach Leo Gravell said. “I know when we have Ryan on the mound that we’re going to have a good chance. What I did not expect was 12 hits because we’ve talked about us not worrying about the hitting just yet.”
Every Windham starter reached base and all but one collected a hit. Splagounias led the charge with three run-scoring doubles as he finished with five RBIs. The senior had a pair of two-run doubles with the first coming during the Jaguars’ second-inning outburst. The second two-bagger capped the scoring in the fifth.
“I was just trying to keep it simple out there with it being the first game of the year,” Splagounias said. “Was really looking for some fastballs and tried to go the other way with it.”
Costa posted three hits to go along with an RBI and four runs scored for Windham, which also picked up two RBIs and two runs scored form JoJo Gallo. Souhegan’s only runs came in the fifth on a Dan Trzepacz two-run homer.
Many of Windham’s offensive feats were a product of its baserunning. The Jaguars stole four bases while moving around on six Souhegan passed balls. Gravell saw his club take extra bases and scratch across runs the Jaguars wouldn’t get with run-of-the-mill baserunning.
“We got some tremendous jumps and ran the bases aggressively,” Gravell said. “The hitting came earlier than we expected, but the baserunning really just set the table for what we did.”
Faria took the offense and ran with it, holding Souhegan to four hits over five innings. Despite striking out seven, the senior righty wasn’t as sharp as his line suggests. The fact that Faria stymied the Sabers without his best stuff was a good sign, according to Gravell.
“It’s the sign of a great pitcher,” said Gravell of Faria, who will play at Northeastern University next season. “As good as he was tonight, he can be better and he would tell you the same thing.”
While there were good signs at every turn for Windham, the same could not be said for Souhegan (0-2). Problems at the plate were secondary for the Sabers, who lacked success from their pitchers while enduring errors, both mental and physical, in the field.
The Sabers were set to be a force this season before shortstop Bryce Reagan transferred to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., over the summer and first baseman/pitcher Alec Burns tore his ACL before the season. Those losses and other via graduation leave Souhegan searching for an identity with so many fresh faces filling big voids.
“They had an outstanding practice (Thursday) with a lot of passion and enthusiasm, which was great,” Souhegan coach Bill Dod said. “We’re having a hard time converting what we’re doing in practice. That’s in all three phases of the game.”