Wednesday night, for the first time this season, fans saw a glimpse of the old Kevin Meisterling. In painstakingly deliberate movements on the mound, the pitcher is finally set, the arm flows easily, seemingly effortlessly, past his ear on the way down. Even from one side of it, the ball zips in with a rippling life seldom seen in high school.

"I owe it all to him," said Meisterling, nodding at pitching coach C.J.Giampaolo, standing beside him. Meisterling went five innings against a 7-11 team that needs just one more win to qualify for states, his longest stint of the season. He gave up just two hits, including a home run, struck out eight and walked just one.

"The biggest thing is to stay composed," said Meisterling, who would almost certainly overthrow earlier in the season after a shot like Mark Dorso's home run tied the score 1-1 in the second inning.

"Mechanically, he had to learn to keep his motion more compact," said Giampaolo of Meisterling's overall comeback, but the more important teachings were clearly in the head.

"He was trying to do too much sometimes," Coach Giampaolo continued. "Now, he's going to become a pitcher again, instead of just a thrower. He has a good defense behind him, and he doesn't have to strike out every batter."

Wednesday's re-discovery is that, armed with such an attitude, along with that gorgeous, flowing pop, lots of batters do most of the strikeout work themselves, flailing at fastballs out of the zone.

Maybe that mode was established by the sixth inning; maybe it was just a night for Torrington pitchers. Sophomore Tom Kinzer finished off the last two innings, giving up just one Eagle hit, along with five strikeouts of his own.

Meantime, Torrington hitters strung together just enough of their nine hits to build a 2-1 lead in the second, but no more until Justin Pellegren (2-for-3, 2 doubles) and Dustin Waldron connected a pair of doubles for an insurance run in the sixth.

"Doing what you have to" is part of tournament success, and the Raiders did just that on Wednesday.After Meisterling zipped through Kennedy's first three batters (2 strikeouts), Bubba Green lined a one-out single in the bottom of the first, then zipped around the bases on a steal, ground-out and RBI single by Jerry Colon.

Dorso started the second with his homer to left field, but Meisterling visibly collected himself, slowed his movements, and polished off the next three batters on two ground-outs and a K.

Dave Alexander made Kennedy pay for mistakes in the second. He led off with a walk, then got an extra base on an error when he stole second. Gary Robinson drove Alexander in from third base, 2-1.

Meisterling kept humming on the mound. A lead-off error didn't bother him in the third. Far from it; after a strikeout, he converted it to his most spectacular strike of the night. With Kennedy's Josh Allen on first, Justine Raymond (2-for-3, double) laid down a bunt single. Meisterling fielded it, slumped as he saw the runners safe, then threw a perfect hummer from near home plate to second, as Allen overran the base. Meisterling's throw was in time for the out.

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