Pickens' Perspective: Warde's speed helping it win games
There's an old saying in baseball "speed never slumps."
The point is, hitting goes through cold spells, as does pitching, but if a team is fast and active on the basepaths it will make its own breaks.
In high school baseball this is especially true.
Watching one of the ugliest games in recent memory reminded me of this. Warde's 12-8 win over Norwalk on Wednesday featured 13 errors, nine walks and even a balked-in run.
"We set the game of baseball back a few years," Norwalk coach Pete Tucci said.
And yet, what helped Warde overcome its own four errors, copious miscues and poor defensive body language?
After falling behind 2-0 off the hop, the Mustangs' patience and hitting came through, but a pair of Mike's -- DeFillipis and Foley -- took over. DeFillipis could have settled for a two-RBI double in the first inning, but tried for third, and not only made it safely. The Bears' relay throw skipped into Warde's dugout and he scored, putting Warde up 4-2.
Foley followed with an infield single, more speed. He then stole second and third, and scored on the errant attempt to throw him out at third base.
The second inning was a similar story. Joe Bartolomeo singled, stole second and reached third on a throwing error by Norwalk's catcher. He scored on Andrew Kirkpatrick's single, after DeFillipis walked. DeFillipis scored when he forced Norwalk's pitcher Brendan Hanzlik to balk.
In all, the Mustangs stole five bases and earned three extra bases on Norwalk throwing errors trying to nab the stealing Warde baserunners.
Naturally, those types of statistics can't be expected every game. Better teams will not make nine errors in a game. They won't lose their heads and balk and won't give the Mustangs extra outs.
But in this day of BBCOR bats and less offense, defense and stealing bases is the way to play. And according to DeFillipis, that's the only way Warde can play.
"That's pretty much the only way we score runs," he said. "We do what we can to get in their heads."
Warde's now run itself halfway to a state playoff berth and to a 2-1 FCIAC record. The Mustangs need to play better defense, but that aspect slumps as well, especially early in the year when cold weather and rock hard baseballs come into play.
But speed doesn't slump, and Warde can be grateful for that.