MONROE – In one of its strongest offensive efforts of the season, Prospect-Beacon Falls American Legion Posts 194-25 drove in seven runs to support a five-hitter by Tom Arsenault and claim a 7-3 win at Masuk High Monday night, PBF’s first win in two weeks.
Arsenault tossed a complete game, allowing three runs on five hits and four walks while striking out eight in his most effective start of the summer.
“I switched all my mechanics,” said Arsenault, who also jokingly attributed his success to ditching his trademark goggles. “I threw more strikes. More strikes equals more strikeouts equals more wins.”
Arsenault was hit well by Monroe in the first, allowing a pair of singles to start the inning before a sacrifice fly gave the home team a 1-0 lead. PBF got out of the jam by eliminating Monroe’s running game as catcher Jack DeBiase caught one runner stealing before Arsenault picked another off for the third out.
“I think in the early going he wasn’t warmed up all the way,” PBF head coach Jim Augelli said. “I think maybe with the four days off he had to get back into the groove. But he got the curveball and fastball working.”
“My fastball was flat and my curveball was hanging,” Arsenault said of his shaky first inning. “I came back to the dugout, got back my composure, and started throwing downhill. My defense played well behind me.”
Posts 194-25 gained the upper hand in the second and never relinquished it. A two-out rally, fueled by a pair of Monroe errors and a two-run single by designated hitter Mike Masulli, gave PBF a 3-1 lead.
Prospect-Beacon Falls tacked on three more in the fourth. Center fielder Ryan Genua and left fielder John Augelli both singled to start the inning before shortstop Ryan Mariotti reached safely on a sacrifice bunt attempt. Masulli knocked in his third run of the day on a fielder’s choice, which scored Genua and allowed Augelli to score on an overthrow later in the play. Sean Deegan then squeezed home Mariotti to give PBF a 6-1 advantage.
“We got key hits today,” Augelli said. “We ran the bases pretty well. Overall, they key was Tom keeping us in the game.”
Arsenault did just that, facing little trouble after the first. He allowed just two hits the rest of the way but had to pitch his way out of a pair of Monroe rally attempts in the sixth and seventh. He surrendered a two-out, two-run double before getting a clutch strikeout to keep the lead at 6-3.
“My way of being a pitcher is usually to put more pressure on myself, if you haven’t noticed throughout the Woodland season,” Arsenault said with a big grin. “I like to pitch better with the bases loaded than with nobody on base.”
PBF added an insurance run in the seventh on an RBI single by first baseman Ryan McKay.
Arsenault walked and hit the first two batters of the seventh but allowed no more damage, as DeBiase ran down a runner stranded between first and second base for the first out before Arsenault induced a flyout and ended the game with his eighth punchout.
The win improved PBF’s record to 3-13, but Augelli believes his team is poised for a solid July run.
“The four days off absolutely helped us,” Augelli said. “We had lost so many in a row. The layoff kind of cleared their minds a little bit. We think that we’ll have a strong finish. We’re 1-0 in July and that’s how we’re looking at it. If we get good pitching efforts like we have been, we’ll be fine.”