By PHIL BRODSKY
Orange Live Sports Writer
For the second time this spring Amity senior right-hander Mike Concato has thrown a shared no-hitter. Back on April 4th, the Spartans opened their season with Concato and 3 relief pitchers combining for a 14-1 no-hit win over Guilford. Yesterday, Concato tossed 6 hitless innings and Ross Weiner came on to seal the no-hit deal with a seventh inning mop-up job in Amity’s 10-0 shutout victory over East Hartford.
The CIAC Class LL first round state tournament game was played under a steady drizzle at Janenda Field in Woodbridge. With the victory over the 27th-ranked Hornets, Amity (ranked No. 6 with an 18-4 record) moves on to play the winner of this afternoon’s Fairfield-Ludlowe vs. Southbury-Pomperaug winner in a second round contest on Thursday at 3:30 p.m. in Woodbridge.
According to Concato, “Once I came out after the sixth inning, people on the bench told me I had a no-hitter. I didn’t know before that. There were runners on base during the game, so I wasn’t thinking about a no-hitter.”
While admitting that he was disappointed to learn that he couldn’t finish his no-hit bid, Concato added, “I didn’t really mind coming out. My pitch count was high (100 pitches). I need to rest and be ready to pitch (in the quarter-finals) on Saturday. I thought I threw really well today. All my pitches were working but I threw more change-ups today. The drizzle made it a little harder for me to grip and throw the ball, but I thought I got stronger as the game went on.”
With this win, Concato (who walked 2 Hornets, hit 1 with a pitch and struck out 10) upped his record to 8-2.
Amity jumped on Hornet starter Jeremy McDermott for 3 runs in the bottom of the first inning—without the benefit of any base hits. Consecutive errors by East Hartford third baseman Manny Alejandro and shortstop Freddy Cruz were followed by free passes to Anthony Capozzielo, Concato, and Sebastian DeMauro to give the Spartans their first 2 runs. Capozzielo also scored when Justin Ashworth banged into a double play.
The Black and Gold finally unloaded their bats in the bottom of the third inning, raking McDermott for 5 runs on 6 hits. With 1 out, Ashworth doubled into the right-center field gap and scored on Chris Cimino’s base hit. He raced home on Chris Katz’s 2-out, 2-bagger into left-center field. Keith Klebart’s base hit put runners on the corners. Jake Russo’s run-scoring base hit plated Katz to give the Spartans a 6-0 lead and chased McDermott off the mound. Cruz replaced him and immediately served up Concato’s opposite field, 2-run single into right field that extended the winners’ margin to 8-0.
“We started slowly but we finally began to swing the bats in the third inning,” Coach Sal Coppola said.
With 2-outs in the bottom of the sixth inning, Amity tacked on 2 additional runs. Pinch hitter Matt Ronai walked, stole second, raced on to third base on a throwing error by Hornet catcher Steve Martel, and then score on Cruz’s wild pitch. A base hit up the middle by Sean Beaulieu set the stage for Katz to close out the scoring when he whacked his second RBI double of the day.
Coppola added, “Chris had a great game.”
Going back to his decision to remove Concato after 6 innings, the Spartan mentor said, “I knew Mike had the no-hitter but I still took him out. It was a muddy, cold day and I knew I might need him to come back later in the week to put out a fire. That would have been tough to do if he threw 20 more pitches in the seventh inning. He had thrown over 100 pitches only once this season. Adding everything up, it wasn’t a difficult decision to make,”
“We played well on a sloppy, cold day. This was the first time we played in tough conditions like this. Their defense (which made4 errors) obviously helped us but I thought we played really well. Our defense was great,” he added.
Katz led the winners’ 9-hit attack with his pair of doubles. He also drove in 2 runs and scored once. Klebart singled twice, stole 2 bases, and scored 2 runs. In addition to mound gem, Concato singled and drove in 3 runs.
With a big grin, he added, “I like to pitch but I like to put the bat on the ball too.”
East Hartford closed out its season with a 9-12 record.
NOTE: Terri Miles did not bring her camera out in the rain, so these are file photos from the May 21 Game.