Legion builds to midseason

Connor McDonough unleashes a strike during a double header at Unionville on June 26.

Connor McDonough unleashes a strike during a double header at Unionville on June 26.

By BRIAN JENNINGS
STAFF WRITER

The Southington American Legion baseball team went 2-3 over the week, and as the closing stretch of the season nears, Southington manager Marc Verderame explains that the team is improving, but is still experiencing difficulty in different areas on the field.

They’re taking it game by game, not trying to look too far ahead.

“I still believe in the team,” said Verderame. “If we can make the playoffs, we can beat anyone. I don’t think anyone wants to face us, especially with our pitching staff.”

At Winsted

JUNE 22—Post 72 began the week at Walker Field on Wednesday where Winsted edged out Southington by a run, 3-2.

Winsted took a 1-0 lead with a run in the second, but John Mikosz tied the game by driving in Zach Parent on an RBI single in the fourth.

Southington jumped out in front of Winsted by a run in the fifth after Kyle Semmel drove in Ryan Sheehan with a base hit, but Winsted rallied back with two runs in the seventh off of back-to-back singles and an error.

Mikosz finished the game by going 2-for-3 as a part of Southington’s three hits.

Bailey Robarge started on the mound and went four innings with five strikeouts, five hits, four walks, and an earned run. Ryan McIntyre closed.

Vs. Bristol

JUNE 23—The next day, Post 72 was blanked, 4-0, by Bristol at home after their bats went cold for a second-straight game. Southington mustered just three hits. Bristol posted a pair of runs in the fifth and seventh innings.

Mikosz, McIntyre, and Jake Babon had the team’s only hits.

Drew Farkas started on the mound and went six innings with eight strikeouts, four hits, three walks, and two earned runs. Justin Makles closed.

At Bristol

JUNE 24—Southington avenged the shutout loss with a one-run victory, 3-2, over Bristol at Muzzy Field on Friday.

Southington went up 2-0 in the opening inning after McIntyre scored Mikosz on a sacrifice fly and Babon stole home.

Bristol tied the game with two runs in the very next inning, but Brayden Cooney clinched the win for Southington when he brought in Sheehan on a sacrifice fly in the sixth.

Babon went 2-for-4 as a part of Southington’s four hits.

Mikosz pitched a complete game with five strikeouts, five hits, two walks, and two earned runs.

Unionville Doubleheader

JUNE 26—Post 72 traveled to Tunxis Meade Park in Farmington on Sunday to wrap up the week with a doubleheader against Unionville. Game one was taken by Unionville, 5-2.

Unionville wasted no time with four runs in the first inning and never looked back.

Mikosz went 2-for-3 with a RBI. AJ Mondo went 2-for-3 with a double. Southington outhit Unionville, 9-6. Each team committed three errors.

Sheehan started on the mound and went four and two thirds innings with six strikeouts, four hits, two earned runs, and two walks. Makles closed.

Southington bounced back from their game-one loss to win game two comfortably by a count of 9-2.

Unionville came out swinging early, scoring their only two runs in the opening inning, but Southington rallied by responding with three runs in the next inning. Southington scattered more runs throughout the game, including four in the fifth inning on three walks, two hits and a fielder’s choice.

Cooney went 3-for-4 with a with a run scored and a double as a part of the team’s nine hits.

Connor McDonough tossed a complete game for Post 72 with seven strikeouts, five hits, two earned runs, and two walks.

“We’ve been struggling with mental mistakes,” said Verderame. “We came out on Wednesday night, lost to Bristol, and made some mental errors. Then Friday night, we played the best game of the season. We executed by getting bunts down and stealing bases. It’s kind of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde right now.”

Post 72 is currently sixth in the zone one standings and four and a half games back of Avon in first place. With 10 games remaining in the regular season, Southington (6-8) will look to make a run for the postseason this week with games against Terryville (5-8), Wolcott (7-6), and Torrington (3-11).

Verderame said that if the team continues to battle and bring it to the park every day, the wins will come.

“You can’t get too high when things are going well, and you can’t get too low when things are bad,” the manager said. “You’re going to make mistakes, but what you can’t do is make mental mistakes in close games. We have to learn how to deal with adversity and be more focused because when we’re on our game, we can beat anyone.”

To comment on this story or to contact sports writer Brian Jennings, email him at bjennings@southingtonobserver.com.

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