By John Goralski
Southington played four games last week, and three were against the Simsbury American Legion baseball squad. One was a comfortable win. The second was a comeback victory, and the third…well…the third was forgettable.
“When you’re trying to beat a team three times in a week, it can be hard,” said Southington coach Marc Verderame. “We played two good games. In the third game, we sort of threw a clunker in there. It’s a long season. We’re going to play 20-something games, so one loss isn’t going to kills us. Hopefully they learned that you have to try to bring your A-game to the park every time.”
There’s no cause for alarm. At 5-1, the locals are still off to a good start. Now, the season kicks into high gear with six games over a six day stretch. There’s no time to dwell on their first loss of the season.
“There are some good teams in this league,” said Verderame. “You can’t just show up and expect to win at Simsbury, an Avon, or a Bristol. I’m not worried.”
Andrew Goralski scattered four hits and five strikeouts over six innings on the mound, and his teammates responded with four early runs.
On Thursday, June 20, Southington never trailed. Post 72 scored four runs in the first three innings and rolled to a 4-2 win over Simsbury.
“If Goralski’s our fourth starter, we’re in good shape,” said Verderame. “He pitched great, and we hit the ball. We stole, and we did our thing. We were in control throughout.”
Southington only managed three hits in the game, but they made the most of it. Matt DiNello drove in Ted Shaw with a double in the first inning. Shaw had a double in the second inning, but Southington scored three runs without a hit in the third inning. The locals collected 12 walks and five stolen bases.
On Saturday, Post 72 collected three runs in the third innings, and that was all the scoring for either team. Craig Froebl earned the victory with 12 strikeouts in a complete game shutout as Southington improved to 4-0.
“Craig Froebl was the story, but he’s been brilliant,” said Verderame. “He has 21 strikeouts in two games, and we sort of manufactured some runs. He’s always been a location pitcher, hitting inside or outside, but he’s gained some velocity and a slider. His time at Western CT has done him well.”
DiNello scored Junior Nichols and Matt Santovasi with a two-run single in the third inning, and and Ted Shaw stole home to complete the rally. The locals collected six hits and held on for the shutout.
Simsbury struck first in the first game of Sunday’s doubleheader, but the locals responded with three late runs to capture the 3-1 victory.
Goralski went 2-for-3. DiNello, Matt Sirois, and Zac Susi drove in runs. Post 72 collected three runs on five hits and Simsbury kicked around seven errors .
On the mound, Joe Rivera scattered five hits and seven strikeouts over seven innings to get the win.
“Rivera didn’t have his A-stuff, but his B-stuff is good enough to beat anybody,” said Verderame. “We clawed our way back to tie the game and take the lead. We kind of plodded along, but their a good team. They hit the ball and made us make the plays. I was proud of our guys for gutting it out.”
Then, came the collapse. Brett Susi struck out eight batters and surrendered just one earned run on four hits, but Southing-ton never recovered from an early 4-0 deficit. The locals scored twice in the fourth inning, but lost 4-0.
“Susi is sort of our bad luck pitcher this year,” said Verderame. “He pitched a great game, but I counted something like four errors. He only had one earned run out there, so I feel bad. He deserved better, but that’s baseball.”
Post 72 will try to regain momentum with games against Terryville, Winsted, Torrington, Wolcott, and a doubleheader in Unionville on Sunday, June 30.