Orange Live Sports Writer
Orange Post 127 Coach Bob Mirto was quick to admit that Wednesday night’s 12-6 Brinley Field win over Post 88 of Hamden was an ugly win, but then added, “An ugly win is always better than a beautiful loss, but a win is always a thing of beauty.”
With the victory over Post 88, Orange recorded its eighth win in a row and improved its record to 9-1.
For the first 2 innings, Post 127 had trouble with the off-speed offerings of Hamden southpaw Jason Rodriquez. Coming to bat in the bottom of the third inning, Orange trailed 2-0 but adjustments were made to solve Rodriquez’s pitches. Keith Klebart led off by whacking a double into right center field. Jake Russo followed with a run-scoring base hit. After stealing second and third base, Russo trotted home when Matt Ronai (the team’s leading hitter with a .429 batting average) lined a game- tying RBI single into right field. Mike Concato drew a walk and Justin Ashworth drilled a base hit up the middle. Ronai rounded second base and as he dashed onto third base, the throw from center fielder Vito Puapolo was off the mark, allowing Ronai to score the go-ahead run. Mike Appel beat out an infield hit to load the bases. Rodriquez forced in another run when he walked Gerald Ferace. Sean Beaulieu’s sacrifice fly brought home Ashworth as Orange took a 5-2 lead.
Post 127 pitcher Austin Pokluda (who threw a no-hitter at North Haven Post 76 in his previous outing on Saturday) had a rocky outing this time. In the top of the fourth, consecutive base hits by Caleb Cyril and Matt Murphy along with a wild pitch, a passed ball and Eli Mosca’s infield out gave Hamden 2 runs and shaved Post 127’s lead back to 1 run (5-4).
According to Mirto, “Tonight, Austin had poor control. His mechanics were off and he couldn’t throw strikes. Every so often, all pitchers have these kind of games. He tried to make adjustments on the fly, but nothing worked. He was never able to get into a smooth groove, but we rode him as far as he could go.”
Pokluda was scuffed up for 4 runs on 6 hits in his rocky 4 inning stint on the mound. He also walked 2, hit a batter, and struck out 7.
For the second inning in a row, Orange sent 10 batters in a row to the plate in the bottom of the fourth inning and hung another 5 spot into the scoreboard. With 2 outs, Concato singled, raced onto third base on Ashworth’s double down the left field line and both runners scored on R.J. Moquet’s base hit into the left center field gap to give Orange a 7-4 lead. When Cyril over ran the ball, Mike Appel (who had been hit by a pitch) also crossed home plate. By the time the inning ended, Beaulieu walked with the bases loaded to force in another run and send Rodriquez to the bench. Klebart greeted the new pitcher, Mark Sarapani by lining a 2-run double over the head of Puapolo giving Post 127 a 10-4 advantage.
“We got off to a slow start tonight, but that 2-out, 5-run rally in the bottom of the fifth showed a lot of character. R.J. Moquet’s drive into center field put the game out of reach,” Mirto said.
Same Nepiarsky came on to replace Pokluda in the fifth inning and gave a double to Sarapani, who later scored on a wild pick-off throw to third base by Nepiarsky. Post 127 quickly responded with a pair of insurance runs in the bottom of the same inning. Concato reached safely on a fielder’s choice, Ashworth was hit by a pitch, and Moquet blasted another 2-run drive to deep center field.
Ross Weiner threw the last 2 innings, allowing 1 run and fanning 3 to pick up his second victory of the summer.
Pokluda’s first pitch of the night was lined into center field by Mosca. He swiped second base, and later scored on a passed ball by Ferace. In the top of the third, Dan Matthews singled with 1-out and Matt Pientandrea followed with an RBI double to right field.
Mirto added, “Hamden swung the bats tonight and the slow stuff their starting pitcher (Rodriquez) threw gave us trouble early in the game.”
Moquet led the winners’ 12 hit attack with his double, single, run, and 4 RBI. Klebart chipped in with 2 doubles, a single, a run, and 2 RBI. Ashworth broke out of his recent slump with a double, a single, and 3 runs. Appel also doubled, singled, and scored twice.
Mathews had 2 base hits and scored twice for the 0-8 losers. Sarapani also had 2 base hits and scored a run.
On Tuesday night, Orange scored 9 runs in the top of the first inning and went on to pulverize Hamden 16-0 in a game that was halted by the Mercy Rule after 5 innings,.
Post 127 is back at Brinley Field tonight to again host Hamden at 7.