Windsor baseball’s annual gauntlet begins with Hartford defeat

Hartford High's Matt Cooney, left, hustles to stay ahead of Cam Bradford on the bases during the Hurricanes' 18-0 defeat of Windsor on April 15, 2024, in Windsor, Vt. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission.

Hartford High's Matt Cooney, left, hustles to stay ahead of Cam Bradford on the bases during the Hurricanes' 18-0 defeat of Windsor on April 15, 2024, in Windsor, Vt. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Valley News — Tris Wykes

Windsor High baseball teammates Morgan Johnson, left, and Joey Gaudette watch a fly ball during their team's 18-0 loss to Hartford on April 15, 2024, in Windsor, Vt. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission.

Windsor High baseball teammates Morgan Johnson, left, and Joey Gaudette watch a fly ball during their team's 18-0 loss to Hartford on April 15, 2024, in Windsor, Vt. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. valley news photographs— Tris Wykes

Windsor High's Alden Weld delivers a pitch against Hartford during his team's 18-0 loss on April 15, 2024, in Windsor, Vt. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission.

Windsor High's Alden Weld delivers a pitch against Hartford during his team's 18-0 loss on April 15, 2024, in Windsor, Vt. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. —Tris Wykes

Hartford High's Wyatt Chambers, left, hands Sean Dunton his bat during the Hurricanes' 18-0 defeat of Windsor on April 15, 2024, in Windsor, Vt. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission.

Hartford High's Wyatt Chambers, left, hands Sean Dunton his bat during the Hurricanes' 18-0 defeat of Windsor on April 15, 2024, in Windsor, Vt. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. —Tris Wykes

Cam Bradford

Cam Bradford —BigZig Photography

By TRIS WYKES

Valley News Staff Writer

Published: 04-16-2024 6:09 PM

Modified: 04-17-2024 3:57 PM


WINDSOR — How does Windsor High baseball coach Jamie Richardson keep his players emotionally afloat as they face their notoriously tough schedule each spring?

“There are a lot of hugs and back rubs,” the veteran bench boss said.

It worked last season, the two-win Yellowjackets narrowly missing a berth in the VPA Division III semifinals after littering their spring with Division I and II opponents. Monday, Hartford delivered an 18-0 pounding during on-again, off-again rain showers.

In fairness, Windsor — which trailed only 2-0 entering the fourth inning — was out of experienced pitchers once it pulled sophomore starter Alden Weld during that frame. The Yellowjackets (1-2) were playing their third game in five days and carry only 12 players.

“We could have kept Alden out there after 60 pitches and stayed in the ballgame a little longer, but we play again Thursday,” said Richardson, whose team was one-hit by Hartford’s Zach Johnson, who struck out nine batters and walked two.

“That’s quite a bit for our little pitching staff, and it just imploded from there.”

Cam Bradford had two singles and a double for Hartford (1-0). Hayden Pascarelli’s fourth-inning single was the hosts’ lone hit.

Windsor began last season 0-9 and only a White River Valley no-hitter kept it out of the semifinals. In 2016, the Yellowjackets won two of their first six contests before capturing the division championship.

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“We just have to withstand defeat and keep our kids positive,” said Richardson, whose team beat Springfield on Saturday. “We explain it pretty good and most of our guys have been with me for a while, so they understand.

“Some of the negatives in the last few innings today overshadowed some of the good things that came before, but I think we’re going to be all right this season.”

Johnson’s effort was his first outdoor pitching of the young season. Working with a slow, smooth delivery that incorporates an old-school windup with his hands over his head, the senior was totally in command.

“He’s only thrown in the gym,” said third-year Hartford coach Bill Vielleux. “We’ve got three or four pitchers behind him, but with Matt, we had a No. 1 and a No. 1A.”

That would be senior Matt Hayes, teed up for a standout senior season before hurting his arm during a college showcase last fall and undergoing surgery that will keep him out all spring. Now wearing a medieval-looking brace and cheering from the dugout, Hayes and the Hurricanes can wonder what might have been but retain a strong squad.

Solomon Flores, Matt Cooney and Wyatt Chambers will back Johnson on the mound. The Hurricanes lost four seniors to graduation and have eight of them now but have brought in freshman Chambers to play first base. He’s part of an upcoming crop of town youngsters who compete during the spring, summer and fall and whose skills and intuition are better because of it.

“We have a lot of kids who love baseball and who play it as much as they can,” Vielleux said, touting JV coaches Mike Hathorn and Dylan Spencer. “The future looks good.”

Tris Wykes can be reached at twykes@vnews.com.