By KEVIN ROBERTS
Southington American Legion baseball got off to a slow start last week in the defense of its senior division title. Post 72 was rained out on June 11 in West Hartford, then dropped home games against West Hartford Post 76 and Simsbury Post 84.
Southington lost 6-3 to West Hartford on June 15, then was defeated 14-3 by Simsbury in six innings on June 16. Post 72 dropped to 0-2 on the season. Here’s what happened in each game:
Good start, tough finish
JUNE 15—Southington scored two runs in the bottom of the first inning, but couldn’t hang on in the loss to West Hartford at Southington High School.
Post 96 scored single runs in the second and third innings to tie the game, then erupted for four in the fifth to overcome a 3-2 deficit. Daniel Fitzsimmons drove in two runs for West Hartford while Bryan Renker singled, doubled and drove in a run. Maxwell Main also had two hits.
Nick Borkowski started, pitched 4.2 innings, and took the loss for Southington. He struck out six and walked one. Jake Weed threw 1.1 scoreless innings of relief with two strikeouts and a walk. Jason Krar finished up with a scoreless frame that included two strikeouts.
Brandon Kohl singled, walked and drove in a run while Josh Panarella singled, walked and scored a run. Will Marshall and Jake Romano both walked and scored a run while Kyle Leifert and Bryce Worth each added a single.
One bad inning
JUNE 16—Post 72 trailed Post 84 by a run entering the top of the sixth inning, but two pitchers combined to give up 10 runs in the frame as the visitors blew the game open at Southington High School.
Brendan Kavanagh pitched 1.1 innings in relief and took the loss. He struck out two and walked two. Justin Verrilli started and pitched the first four innings. He gave up two runs on three hits, walked one batter and hit another. Verrilli was saddled with a no-decision. Jake Weed pitched the final 0.2 inning in relief.
Simsbury scored 10 runs on eight hits and was helped out by two run-scoring wild pitches. Post 84 also drew three walks and had one hit batter in the frame.
Bryce Worth had both Southington hits in the game. He scored a run and drove in a run. Romano and Kohl each walked and scored a run for Post 72.
Simsbury scored two runs off Verrilli in the top of the first inning, but Southington responded with a run in the second on a Worth RBI single, which scored Romano. Romano had drawn a one-out walk to start the rally.
Simsbury put up two more runs in the top of the fifth for a 4-1 advantage, but Southington responded with two runs in the bottom of the fifth. Worth singled to lead of the frame, then Kohl walked. Ethan McDonough’s grounder moved the runners up to second and third, then Worth scored on a wild pitch with Jeremy Mercier at the plate. After a fly out, Panarella and Romano walked to load the bases. Sean Crean was hit by a pitch, and Kohl scored.
Up next: Southington was scheduled to host West Hartford on Wednesday, then play at home against Winsted Post 43 on Thursday. Post 72 plays at Avon Post 21 on Friday at 5:30 p.m. at Buckingham Field. Southington is in Winsted on Sunday for a doubleheader beginning at noon at Walker Field.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Kevin Roberts, email him at KRoberts@SouthingtonObserver.com.