PROSPECT — The Prospect-Beacon Falls American Legion baseball team came into the month of July with high hopes of qualifying for the state tournament in Zone 5.
Posts 194-25 began the season losing its first four games. Prospect-Beacon Falls followed up the slow start by playing its best ball in the last three seasons, winning four out of five games to put them into contention.
Another four game slide followed and the doubts began to creep back into the picture. But this PBF team is a little more resilient than teams in the past. Posts 194-25 rebounded to snap the streak with a productive 10-3 win over New Milford and for the second time this season a four-game losing streak was no more.
Last week Posts 194-25 once again fell on hard times. The offense could only put up four runs in four games and got shut out three times. For the third time this season a four-game skid ensued.
That hasn’t deterred head coach Jeff Clarke from the goal the team set at the start of the season.
“We have stopped two losing streaks already this season and I would expect us to come out of this one as well,” Clarke said. “We welcome back our catcher Mike Gondola. He gives us veteran leadership and a big bat in the lineup. We have some tough games coming up but they are all winnable games. No one is giving up on the season. We just need to get the offense back on track.”
Posts 194-25 faced off against Zone 5 leader Oakville last Thursday for the first time since stunning the first-place team 11-6 just three weeks ago. Nate Clarke took the hill and threw four scoreless innings before Oakville broke the scoreless tie with a four-run uprising in the fifth.
Anthony D’Agnone came on in relief and pitched PBF into the seventh trailing 4-0. Matt Wysocki and Steve Kazalunas finished up on the hill as Oakville took advantage of walks, errors and timely hits to tack on seven more runs en route to an 11-0 win over PBF. Kevin Gabinelli, D’Agnone and Wysocki had the only hits for Posts 194-25.
“We are coming up with hits but they are not timely ones with guys on base,” Clarke said.
Posts 194-25 has dropped three games this season by one run and two more games by just two runs.
Last Saturday Posts 194-25 tried to stay with Waterbury by scoring in the first two innings but the pitching had trouble keeping Post 1 off the bases. Matt Spofford worked the first five innings on the mound as Waterbury erupted for three runs in the first and four more in the second.
Posts 194-25 pushed two runs across the plate in the first and added a run in the second and trailed 7-3 heading into the fifth inning. Dylan Cummings came on in relief to slow down Waterbury, but Post 1 added four more runs over the final three innings for the 11-4 win. Matt Butterworth had two hits and an RBI as Spofford added a hit and an RBI to pace the PBF offense.
“Waterbury came right after us scoring seven runs in the first two innings,” Clarke said. “We tried to fight back, putting up three runs, but we just couldn’t catch up and didn’t get that timely hit.”
For the second game in a row Prospect-Beacon Falls struggled to get out of the first inning as Bethel racked up five runs on Monday. D’Agnone came on in relief and went three innings surrendering just two runs to give Posts 194-25 a fighting chance.
But the offense never got on track as Sam Merriman had the only hit. Bethel closed the deal with a three-run fifth for the 10-0 mercy-rule win. The loss extended the streak to four in a row for PBF.
Through Tuesday, Posts 194-25 stood at 5-15 on the season and in need of a late-season run to make the postseason.
Prospect-Beacon Falls has broken four game slides twice this season and looks to do the same again this week.
Prospect-Beacon Falls’ game versus Oxford on Wednesday was suspended in the top of the fifth due to weather with Oxford holding a 6-3 lead.
Posts 194-25 will visit Easton on Thursday and Rotary Field on Friday to take on Naugatuck for a 5:45 p.m. start. Posts 194-25 will host Danbury at Hotchkiss Field in Prospect on Saturday for a double header at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.