By PHIL BRODSKY
Sturdy pitching by Austin Pokluda and Ted Ballou’s towering 3-run home run combined to lead Orange Post 127 past Post 196 of Milford 5-2 in a Zone 2 contest Tuesday night at Brinley Field. The victory prevented Post 127 from being swept in its 3 game summer series with the Sixers. Milford (now 3-3) took the first 2 games by scores of 9-2 and 2-1. The win also improved the winners’ record to 8-3.
Pokluda’s victory upped his mark to 2-1. He allowed 2 runs on 9 hits while walking 2 and striking out 9. He had only 1 bad inning—the second inning when he gave up both Milford runs.
According to Post 127 Coach Bob Mirto, “ Austin really picked us up tonight and we needed that. He got off to a slow start He became much more effective once he began to spot his change-up in the third inning. It’s his most effective pitch.”
Trailing 2-0 after Milford had scored twice in the top of the second inning, Orange struck back in the bottom of the third. With 1 out, Mark Boland slashed an opposite field double into the left-center field gap. After Brian Speer’s 2-out walk, Nick Baviello slashed a single down the right field line to drive Boland home. Ballou stepped in and walloped a towering drive far over the left field fence to put Orange on top, 4-2.
“Teddy just mashed that ball,” Mirto said. “He put it onto the roof of the building beyond the left field fence. He launched a 3-run rocket.”
The winners played with 3 regulars—Vin Siena, Paul Gusmano, and Chris Katz who all missed the game with a variety of valid reasons.
Milford scored both of its runs in the top of the second inning. Pokluda issued a 1-out walk to Christian Baglini and served up a base hit to Nick Pinto. Following a double steal that put both runners into scoring position, Sean Cameron ripped a 2-run 2 bagger into right center field.
Pokluda avoided trouble when he ended a bases-loaded jam in the top of the first inning by striking out Jake Saley.
Mirto was pleased to note that after leaving 21 runners on base in the 2 previous losses to Post 196, this time, Orange cashed in on its scoring opportunities, getting 6 hits and stranding only 4 base runners.
He added, “We didn’t get a lot of hits tonight but we made the ones we got count. We didn’t leave guys on base like we did in the first 2 games with Milford .”
Boland, who banged out 4 hits in the weekend losses to the Sixers, added 2 more safeties and scored a run on Tuesday night. Ed Michaud singled twice for the losers.
On Monday night, Dane Simone tossed a 1-hitter as Orange battered Hamden Post 88 and improved his record to 3-0. The winners were led by Baviello, who belted a 3-run homer.
Orange is on the road tonight and tomorrow night, visiting Post 76 of North Haven at DeMayo Field. On Friday, Mirto and Co. are off to Rhode Island to participate in the annual Firecracker Tournament. They open tourney play on Saturday at Bryant College in Smithfield , R.I.