Power from Powers: Saints beat Killingly

Apr. 16—MONTVILLE — It has been suggested that growth happens when you can cope with being alone. And there was Desmond Powers, on the mound, alone. This perfectly good start was beginning to unravel Tuesday afternoon, when Powers, the sophomore right-hander at St. Bernard, began the top of the fourth inning with a walk, hit batter and a 2-0 count on the next hitter.

This is the same Powers who admitted he "couldn't get anybody out" last summer returning from injury and had a "rough start" Saturday against Stonington. Ah, a young man alone with his thoughts, perhaps with natural self-doubt lurking.

"It's really just thinking about the next pitch," Powers was saying later. "It's always the next pitch. I knew my defense behind me would make the plays. Just get strikes over the plate."

He certainly did. Growth happened in what became an eventual two-hitter, leading the Saints to a 3-1 win over Killingly in Division II of the Eastern Connecticut Conference.

Powers struck out eight, walked four and hit three batters.

"He showed me some big cojones in that moment. There's no other way to put it," St. Bernard coach Grant Livingston said. "He's very hard on himself. Big self critic. We're trying to move away from that and Desmond is doing a great job. When he gets in those positions, he has to be able to reset himself. He knows he's got a great defense back there. So fill that (strike) zone up. I think he quieted his mind a little bit.

"There's a lot of young talent in the ECC that are big, tall pitchers. Their bodies get on you so quick. Desmond's fastball looks even harder because he's so tall and it's on you quick. It's all going to be about how hard they work in the offseason. You can tell the guys that don't get in the gym. He puts in the work. His upside is massive."

Powers helped himself with an RBI double and an RBI single. Martin Light scored two runs for the Saints (3-2, 1-0), Colin O'Leary hit an RBI single during a two-run first inning.

Killingly entered the game at No. 15 in the latest GameTimeCT poll, the latest in quality competition to which Livingston has introduced his team. The Saints defeated Class LL Greenwich earlier this season and lost 6-4 at No. 6 Joel Barlow.

"We're usually in Division IV playing a bunch of Class S schools," Powers said. "We're a big boy schedule now. We are playing a lot of good teams and we're showing we can play."

Livingston: "When it comes to state tournament time, we're working for one goal. The Hall of Champions down in our gym. We had a great team last year. But our schedule didn't test us and I think that showed with the earlier-than-we-wanted exit. We tried to load up a little bit this year, test our abilities and use that experience moving forward. We're winning a few games early here, which is good. I think it'll pay off in the long run."