NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck Post 17 American Legion baseball team paired up a couple of six-run innings to get past Prospect-Beacon Falls Posts 194-25 on Tuesday at Legenza Field by a 19-2 final.
PBF jumped out on top in the first inning. Anthony D’Agnone singled to center and Ryan Flanagan reached base after getting hit with a pitch. Matt Spofford singled to load the bases with two outs.
On a pickoff attempt at third base, Naugatuck catcher Zac Mercer threw the ball high and D’Agnone raced home with the first run of the game. Post 17 pitcher Kyle Lopes managed to close the door and went on to throw a complete-game win for Naugatuck.
PBF pitcher Sam Merriman deserved a better fate. After striking out the first batter and getting a groundout to short, Merriman ran into trouble. A walk to Karl Johansen was followed by a seeing-eye base hit from Seth Mulhall that took a wicked hop over second baseman Robert Stach’s glove.
Ryan White tied the game with a single to center. After a passed ball moved up the runners, Merriman got what he needed to escape the jam but a towering infield popup was misplayed as two runs scored.
Matt Zahornasky singled to keep the inning going. Adam Neveski drove in a run with a base hit before Lopes unloaded a two-run double to give Post 17 a 6-1 cushion.
“We have really been getting our bats on the ball lately,” said White, who contributed two run-scoring hits for Naugatuck. “Kyle pitched a good game for us and we just strung together our hits to pull away. Earlier in the season when we pitched well we didn’t hit and when we did hit our pitching wasn’t there.”
Mercer belted a two-run double in Naugatuck’s second inning to up the margin to 8-1 as Dylan Cummings came on in relief of Merriman.
PBF plated a run in the third as Matt Wysocki led off with a walk and later scored on a single from Spofford to make it 8-2.
Kyle Soisson hauled in a popup down the third-base side in the bottom of the fourth before Naugatuck struck again. A walk to Neveski and a ground-rule double by Lopes set the table in the inning for Post 17.
Nolan Kinne and Jon Bisson cracked run-scoring hits before Mike Burns (single, two doubles, three RBI) belted a double in the gap. Mercer (two doubles, four RBI) crushed a shot to the fence for a two-run double to put Post 17 on top by a 15-2 advantage.
“We are a young team and we make some young mistakes,” PBF manager Don Ensero said. “We were almost out of that first inning but walks hurt us as well. But for the most part the second and third times that we played teams we played them much better. Of course we took a step backwards tonight. But these kids are gaining valuable experience and you will see a much better team next season.”
PBF outfielders Nathan Clarke, Matt Wysocki and Andrew Gerard hauled in some fly balls to keep Naugatuck from mounting another big inning.
Tyler Lafo and Charles Healy had productive at-bats as Naugatuck tacked on two runs in the fifth and sixth innings to complete the 19-2 win, improving Post 17 to 10-16 on the season for manager Bob Dibble.