A dramatic catch in left field.
By PHIL BRODSKY
Orange Live Sports Writer
Orange Post 127 ended its regular season with an 11-1 thumping of Post 42 from Stratford on a rainy Sunday night at Brinley Field. The victory gave Orange a 9-0, 17-0, 11-1 sweep of its weekend series with Stratford, a final regular season record of 22-5, and a second place finish in Zone 2 (behind 26-1 Branford Post 83).
Coach Bob Mirto’s boys now await word on whom, when, and where they will play next weekend in the American Legion’s Southern Division single-elimination play-in tournament. That information will be announced later in the week. In preparation for the upcoming state tourney, Post 127 will host Berlin Thursday in a 7 p.m. exhibition contest at Brinley Field.
“We hit the ball well tonight,” Mirto said. “We wanted to close out the regular season on a good note and did that tonight.”
Stratford picked up its lone run in the top of the first inning and still led 1-0 when Post 127 came to bat in the bottom of the third inning. With 2 outs, Jake Russo punched a single into left center field and Matt Ronai drew a free pass. Mike Concato followed with a 2-strike, 2-run opposite field double into the right center field gap. The inning had begun with Sean Beaulieu walking, stealing second base but then getting thrown out trying to advance on to third when winning pitcher Keith Klebart skied the ball into center field.
Justin Ashworth led off the bottom of the fourth inning by clubbing a triple deep into the right center field gap. After Paul Gusmano walked, Ashworth trotted home on Beaulieu’s sacrifice fly into center field. Pinch runner Gerald Ferace made it 4-1 as he scored on a wild pitch from Post 42 hurler, Kevin Bortnik.
Orange put the game out of reach when it added 5 more runs in the bottom of a rain-interrupted the fifth inning. In addition to 2 errors by Stratford shortstop Joe Marsam, 2 batters hit by Bortnick pitches, and a bases loaded walk to Mike Appel, Beaulieu and Ronai each singled home another run.
Leading 9-1 Orange ended the game with a pair of additional sixth inning tallies. Two more Marsam miscues and 1 by second baseman Alex Tyler, Nick Ceneri’s single, followed by Russo’s RBI single gave the winners a Mercy Rule, game-ending 10 run lead.
In the top of the first inning, Stratford scored its lone run on 2-out singles by Will Hudson and Sam Breiner along with consecutive walks to Chris Reyes and Bortnick.
Making only his second start of the summer, Klebart went 5 innings, allowing only that 1 Post 42 score on just those 2 hits. He also struck out 3 and walked a like number of Stratford batters. Appel came on to mop things up in the sixth inning.
The winners’ 10 hit attack was led by Ashworth (a triple, a single, and 3 runs) Russo (2 singles, a run, and an RBI), and Concato (a double, 2 RBI).
With this loss, Stratford’s record dipped to 8-15.
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