By PHIL BRODSKY
Orange Live Sports Writer
Baseball can be a funny game. Last week, Amity hosted Foran in a Southern Connecticut Conference-interdivisional contest at Brinley Field in Orange and pummeled Lion pitching for 11 hits and trampled them 9-1.
Yesterday, it was Foran’s turn to host Amity at Ken Walker Field in Milford. Joe Zanghi (who was the Lion catcher in the first game and also their football quarterback) tossed a complete game, limiting the Spartans to only 1 run on 4 hits and posted a 3-1 win. He also banged out 2 key hits, drove in 2 runs and scored a run. It was the Spartans’ final game of the regular season and they end up with a 16-4 record. The SCC play-offs begin this afternoon and 2nd-ranked Amity, looking to return home and feast on some home cooking, hosts 7th ranked West Haven in a 4 p.m. game at Janenda Field.
“Losing our last regular season game today was a bummer,” said Spartan Coach Sal Coppola. “We were loose but we weren’t focused or mentally prepared to play our game today. We couldn’t control things and the ball didn’t bounce our way.”
Foran (10-9) scratched out an unearned run in the bottom of the first inning and never lost that lead. Chris Yee led off for the hosts and lined Chris Cimino’s first pitch into right field for a base hit. Cimino tried to pick Yee off first base but his throw eluded Justin Ashworth and Yee raced on to second base. Following Anthony Alicki’s 1-out walk, Zanghi topped a dribbler that rolled past third baseman Keith Klebart and trickled into shallow left field. Off and running on the pitch, Yee scored from second base.
According to Coppola, “That ball never should have left the infield.”
With Zanghi (now 2-0) limiting Amity only 1 hit during the first 3 innings, Foran tacked on another pair of scores in the bottom of the third, extending its’ lead to 3-0. With 2 outs, Cimino walked Alicki and Zanghi followed with a run-scoring double right down the right field foul line. Casey McCone added a single into left field that plated Zanghi and gave him a 3-run cushion.
Jake Russo led off the top of the fourth with a slow roller down the third base line. After reaching base safely, he ran on to second base when McCone’s throw to first baseman Alicki was off the mark. Despite having a runner in scoring position with no outs, Amity failed to cash in on the opportunity. Zanghi retired Anthony Capozzielo on a long fly ball to right field that allowed Russo to move over to third base—but he got no farther as Zanghi struck out both Mike Concato and Sebastian DeMauro.
Coppola added, “We had a runner at third with only one out and the heart of our batting order coming up, but failed to capitalize on the situation. We didn’t get the long base hit when we needed it. Had we done so, it would have been a 3-1 game.”
Giving up only singles to Russo and DeMauro, Zanghi took his 2-hit shout out into the seventh inning. Concato led off and blasted a double off the left field fence. After moving over to third on DeMauro’s infield out, Concato scored on Ashworth’s base hit. That would be all the damage the Spartans could do as Zanghi ended the game by fanning both pinch hitter Sean Beaulieu and Matt Ronai.
“Their kid pitched a good game but he didn’t overpower us. Instead of trying to make contact and drive the ball, we were swinging out of our shoes at a lot of high pitches and ended up with fly balls to right field,” Coppola said. “The SCC playoffs start tomorrow. Now, everybody has the same 0-0 record and it’s 1 (loss) -and-done. Hopefully, we bounce back from this defeat and play well against West Haven.”
In addition to scattering 4 hits, Zanghi struck out 5 and only walked 1 Amity batter. Cimino (now 2-1) threw the first 3 innings and was charged with the loss. He gave up all 3 Foran runs on 4 hits. Nick Fusco hurled the fourth inning and was followed by Ross Weiner in the last 2 innings. In his 2 scoreless innings, Weiner gave up only 1 hit and whiffed 4 Lions.