MADISON — Coming off its first loss of the season, the Hand baseball team held a quick meeting before taking the field for practice on Sunday.
After the coaches spoke, Eli Davies addressed his teammates.
The senior left fielder spoke about how losing 2-0 to Shelton on Friday would make them better.
After all, if anyone knows about winning, it’s Davies.
He was the starting goalie of the Hand soccer team that won a state title in 2019 and an SCC title this season — there was no state championship. He was a part of the program that won state titles in 2017 and 2018.
“The kid is a winner, the (soccer team) knows how to win, they do it every year,” Hand senior Anthony DePino said. “He is the guy we need to listen to.”
Hand started the season with 12 straight wins and is the No. 1 team in the GameTimeCT/New Haven Register poll.
“You’re going to lose some games, it’s just part of the game,” said Davies, who is batting .515 this season. “You have to take those and learn from them.”
The win streak to start to the season was a surprise, even to coach Travis LaPointe.
“I would have said talent wise we are a .500 ball club, our schedule is brutal, it’s a gauntlet,” he said. “After a week of being in the season, I changed my view on it. I realized this team could not be measured by their physical ability. There is something special about them.”
It was a come-from-behind win over Amity, in the fifth game of the year, that showed LaPointe just how special.
— Pete Paguaga (@PetePaguaga) April 19, 2021
“It was that moment I realized this team has a certain immeasurable toughness that was not going to go away,” LaPointe said. “I knew it then and I had a really good night sleep that night.”
The come-from-behind win was a precursor of what was to come.
Hand has walked off twice this season and has played in close games — four runs or less — in nine of its 12 games.
The biggest moment came against West Haven.
Trailing by 11 the Tigers were two outs away from a run rule loss.
“Danny (Weinstein), Jack (Pireaux), those two guys, looking at their eyes, they weren’t accepting us to lose,” LaPointe said.
Hand scored five runs in the fifth and five more in the sixth.
After allowing West Haven to score another run in the seventh, Weinstein hit a walk-off home run to cap off the victory.
“I just try to get bigger and own the moment,” Weinstein, who has two home runs and 15 RBIs, said. “I know that when I am older, I’m going to wish I was more confident in these situations. So, I just try and bring that confidence now.”
Weinstein followed up his heroics two games later with another walk-off hit — an RBI single — to beat Cheshire 7-6.
“That’s what he is,” DePino said. “Danny Dubs.”
Like most teams across the state, Hand only brought back two starters from the 2019 season.
Davies, Weinstein, Jack Pireaux, Mike Engelhart and others stepped up to help the team to their hot start.
“We have nine guys that are going to win us games,” DePino said. “Just guys that go out there and get the job done.”
Please go to GametimeCT.com High School Sports to read full article.