By KEVIN ROBERTS
Southington Post 72 American Legion baseball began last week’s slate with a tough 3-1 road loss to Bristol Post 2 on July 2 at Muzzy Field. Southington responded to the loss with a pair of wins at Berlin on July 3 and July 5, followed by a road rout of Avon this past Sunday.
“The bats are coming around, and we’re in good position right now,” coach Marc Verderame said. “We’re rounding out, we started off 0-2, we’re up to 12-4. The team’s coming around, I’m liking the contact, we’re getting a lot of hits.”
Here’s what happened last week:
Bristol 3, Southington 1
JULY 2—Post 2 scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to break a 1-1 tie and claim the win over Post 72.
In a game where both sides had chances, Bristol took advantage of its opportunities and claimed the season series from Southington, 2-1.
“We didn’t cash in today. That’s a good baseball team, you’ve got to take advantage of your opportunities,” Verderame said. “Jason Krar pitched phenomenal, we’ve got to get more runs for him. We’ve got to cash in on our opportunities, we left them on the table tonight.”
Macgregor Goulet tripled to lead off the sixth. After a strikeout, Joshua Nohilly singled him home for a 2-1 Post 2 lead. Evan Bouchard followed with an RBI triple to make the score 3-1. Noah Plantamuro saved the win for Alex Balfour in the top of the seventh.
Krar gave up three runs on seven hits in six innings. He struck out five and walked one. Kyle Leifert was 2-for-4 with an RBI while Jake Romano went 2-for-4 with a run scored. Jeremy Mercier, Brendan Kavanagh, Brandon Kohl and Sean Crean each stole a base. Post 72 left nine runners on base.
Southington 2, Berlin 0
JULY 3—Post 72 rebounded with a shutout victory over Post 68 at Berlin’s Sage Park.
Jeremy Mercier pitched 3.2 innings in relief of Justin Verrilli (3.1 innings) and claimed the win. Mercier struck out five and yielded two hits. On offense, Bryce Worth went 2-for-3 with a run scored while Romano was 1-for-3 with a sacrifice fly and two RBI. Will Marshall added a walk and run scored. Romano had an RBI single in the third and a sacrifice fly in the fifth.
“There’s close games, and in this wood-bat league, I’ve said it many times, this is the best zone in the state,” Verderame said. “Everybody’s good, and we’re coming around.”
Southington 4, Berlin 1
JULY 5—Nick Borkowski threw a complete game (one run, six hits, nine strikeouts, two walks) in another Post 72 win at Sage Park.
Leifert was 3-for-4 with a stolen base, run scored and RBI while Kohl added a triple and RBI. Tyler Strong singled, stole a base, scored a run and drove in a run. Kavanagh was 2-for-4 with a double and run scored while Worth added a sacrifice fly and RBI. Mercier doubled and walked for the winners. Southington scored two runs in the fifth and two more in the sixth to overcome a 1-0 deficit. Leifert had an RBI single, then Kohl tripled in the tying run in the fifth. In the sixth, Worth put Post 72 ahead with a sacrifice fly, Strong singled to drive in Krar, who ran for Aneesh Avancha.
Southington 12, Avon 2 (5 innings)
JULY 7—The Post 72 offense came alive with 12 hits in a win over Post 201. The game was moved from Buckingham Field in Avon to Recreation Park in Southington because of field conditions.
Romano, Kavanagh, Avancha and Ethan McDonough all contributed two hits apiece for Southington. Romano singled twice, scored a run and drove in two runs while Kavanagh singled twice, stole a base and scored twice. Avancha singled, doubled, walked, scored a run and drove in two more while McDonough singled twice, stole a base, scored twice and drove in two runs.
Leifert was 1-for-4 with a hit by pitch, but his one hit was a three-run home run. Leifert also stole a base, scored two runs and drove in four runs total. Strong had three walks, two stolen bases and three runs scored while Josh Panarella added a single, run scored and RBI. Worth walked and drove in a run.
Krar threw the first 3.1 innings to pick up the win. Krar gave up one run on three hits, struck out three and walked three. Leifert pitched 1.2 innings of relief and yielded a run on three hits.
The strong end to the week left Verderame feeling good about his team.
“We have the pitching to go the distance,” Verderame said. “We’re built for the playoffs, we’re built for power, we’re built for stamina, and we’re coming around at the right time.”
Up next: Southington began the second-to-last week of the regular season with a Monday doubleheader against Avon at Southington High School. Post 72 was slated to play at Newington on Wednesday, then host the same team on Thursday. Southington is at Newington again on Friday at 5:30 p.m. Post 72 plays West Hartford on Saturday at noon at Hall High School. Southington ends the week on Sunday with a 5 p.m. game against Simsbury at Memorial Field in Simsbury.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Kevin Roberts, email him at KRoberts@SouthingtonObserver.com