Unlucky 13: Blue Knight baseball falls in extra innings

Kyle Leifert throws out a baserunner during a 13-inning battle against Glastonbury.

By KEVIN ROBERTS

STAFF WRITER

The Southington baseball team experienced defeat for the first time this season on April 16 in a marathon 1-0 home loss to Glastonbury.

The Blue Knights barely had time to dwell on the 13-inning loss, however, because they were right back on the diamond at Tunxis Mead Park to play Farmington on April 17.

Southington took out its frustrations on Farmington in a 15-1, five-inning rout. The Knights stand at 6-1 heading into this week’s action.

In the Glastonbury game, the pitching staffs for both teams locked horns for the first 12 innings and didn’t yield a run. With one out in the top of the 13th inning, Tomahawk No. 9 hitter Colby Seymour sent a long fly ball to the left of the 350-foot sign in center field. Andrew Paradis gave chase after initially coming in on the ball, but he slowed as he got to the fence.

Seymour had gotten all of the offering from Knight reliever Brendan Kavanaugh, and his solo home run was the game’s only run. It was the only blemish in 13 innings for five Southington pitchers, which combined to allow just seven hits and struck out 10 batters.

Jake Neuman started and pitched the first 6 1/3 innings (4 hits, 5 strikeouts). Vinny Spizzoucco came on to relieve his fellow southpaw and needed just four pitchers to induce an inning-ending double play in the top of the seventh inning and keep the game scoreless.

Bryce Worth threw a scoreless eighth inning, but found trouble in the top of the ninth inning when the first two Glastonbury batters reached. On came Kavanaugh, who picked off the lead runner at second base before he ever threw a pitch. A called strike three and a fly out to Paradis in center ended the ninth. Kavanaugh did his part to keep the Tomahawks off the board until Seymour homered in the 13th inning. Gaudio recorded the final out of the 13th inning.

“Our guys came in and threw great. Their guys threw great,” coach Charlie Lembo said. “We made some unbelievable plays, we had a pickoff on second and we got picked off a couple times. We executed that perfectly, we executed perfectly on that suicide squeeze.”

In the top of the 11th inning, Glastonbury tried a suicide squeeze with one out, but Southington snuffed it out and catcher Jake DelMonte caught the runner going back to third base. Kavanaugh struck out the next batter to end the frame.

Unfortunately for the Knights, the Tomahawk duo of Holy Cross-bound Jack DiLauro (7 innings, 4 hits, 12 strikeouts) and reliever Mike Feeney (6 innings, 4 hits, 7 strikeouts) didn’t let the home team cross home plate. DiLauro and Feeney did combine for five walks and a hit batsman, and Glastonbury made two errors in the field. Still, Southington couldn’t get a run across. Kyle Leifert was 3-for-6 to lead the Knights.

“It was a great baseball game. We didn’t make too many errors. I know we got picked off a couple times, which we will address, but those are teachable moments and correctible things,” Lembo said. “To be honest with you, I’m disappointed that we lost, but we’re going to get back at it tomorrow. It’s not like other sports where you need to wait a week to play.”

Farmington felt the full fury of Southington’s bats the next day, April 17. The Knights knocked the Indians around for 13 hits, including four doubles and one triple. Southington also drew four walks and one batter was hit by a pitch. Neuman had two hits, two runs scored and three RBI while DelMonte added two doubles, two runs scored and two RBI. Paradis doubled, singled, scored twice and drove in two runs while Jake Romano had two hits, a run scored and two RBI. Jack Meade doubled, tripled, scored two runs and drove in a run while Leifert added an RBI.

Southington’s pitching was again solid against Farmington, but this time it was just one hurler who did the job. Ryan Henderson gave up an unearned run on two hits. He struck out three, walked one, and needed just 53 pitches to get through five innings.

Henderson continued a strong line of Southington pitching in the first seven games. The Knights have combined for a 1.31 ERA and a .182 batting average against. The staff has yielded 31 hits in 48 innings and struck out 48 batters over that same span.

Up next: Southington was scheduled to play three games on the road this week before returning home on Saturday. The Knights were slated to play Notre Dame-West Haven at Quigley Stadium in West Haven on Tuesday, then take on Bristol Eastern on Wednesday in Bristol. On Thursday, it was back to the road against New Britain at Beehive Stadium. On Saturday, Southington hosts NFA at 1 p.m.

To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Kevin Roberts, email him at KRoberts@SouthingtonObserver.com

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