It's a team effort for Forestville Dodgers as all players contribute to team's success in seeking City Series title

Published on Thursday, 22 August 2019 20:46


BRISTOL - It’s a cliche term across all team sports, but for Clay Roberts, that doesn’t seem to matter. 

The Forestville Little League baseball manager for never wants to rely on one player or any one set of players to carry his Dodgers club to victory. 

“They’re a team. All of them,” Roberts said. “There are special players on that team, but they play as a team.”

That’s why Roberts didn’t hesitate in rattling off a litany of players who contributed to the club’s 7-4 victory over McCabe-Waters in the City Series opener on Monday night at Breen Field: Aiden Lopez’s dominant start, Nick Ziegel’s relief appearance, Kaden Paghense shutting the door in a pressure-packed situation by striking out the game-winning run with the bases loaded and Dante DePass’ stint on the mound and his strong bat that led the Dodgers offensively.

All of them were major contributors in getting Forestville closer to a title. 

“All those pitchers, Aiden, Dante, Nick, Kaden, they all came in and did a tremendous, tremendous job, and hopefully it continues,” Roberts said. 

And that’s without mentioning the next player on whom Roberts poured the praise for - catcher Hector Rivera-Martinez, who all game showcased strong defense behind the dish. 

“He did a tremendous job behind the plate. I mean a tremendous job,” Roberts said. “Not much got by him. He deserves a lot. He’s awesome. Without him behind the plate today, it could’ve been a different outcome. Besides the pitchers pitching, they all did a great job.”

Roberts was far from the only one impressed by the Dodgers’ performances. In fact, perhaps it was more telling that their opponent came away with just as much admiration for what they had done in the game. 

“These guys are great players,” McCabe-Waters manager Matt Pirog said. “They’re really well-coached, and they hit the ball when they’re supposed to.”

Pirog’s approach to coaching his team is no different than Roberts’ style. Even though baseball is one of the sports most centered on standout individual excellence, that doesn’t stop either manager from taking a collective look at how the game should operate. 

“Every single person on this team has contributed - all 11 players all year long,” Pirog said of his Astros. “Every one of them has had a key hit or key defensive play.”

There is, of course, plenty of room for individual excellence, and that was none more apparent than when Lopez put together 12 strikeouts in four innings - even though he had to shake loose some butterflies in the beginning. 

“I was a little bit nervous at first, but after I got through the first inning I got pretty comfortable,” Lopez said. “You just gotta play ball and that’s it. It’s just baseball. You’ve gotta have fun and that’s it.”

Forestville is certainly having fun as a team, and that fun should continue soon against either Edgewood or McCabe-Waters on Friday or Monday. 

Whoever the opponent is, the Dodgers will be set up with DePass and Rivera-Martinez as top pitching options in the quest to win the City Series championship. 

“You just gotta put your game face on and keep going,” Roberts said. “We’ll get them on the practice field and get them ready for Friday.”

Zack Carpenter can be reached at (860) 973-1811 or

Posted in The Bristol Press, General Sports on Thursday, 22 August 2019 20:46. Updated: Thursday, 22 August 2019 20:49.