BEACON FALLS — After a tough, 4-22 season, Prospect-Beacon Falls American Legion Posts 194-25 is looking to rebound with a combination of experienced veterans and strong newcomers.
Even though PBF lost its opener to Monroe, 8-1, on Saturday, coach Jim Augelli saw several bright spots and thinks his team has a chance to make a marked improvement upon last year’s record.
“We outhit Monroe, 6-5,” Augelli said. “Their hits just came at the right time and ours didn’t. But we played errorless ball. We just had too many walks.”
Prospect-Beacon Falls will have plenty of arms, which is useful in the American Legion season that often features up to seven games a week.
Kyle Georgia, who is coming off a hip injury, will be eased back into the rotation and the lineup after being a mainstay at the front of the rotation and middle of the order over the last several years.
“He played the first game for us,” Augelli said. “He’s a little rusty and has to be careful with how quickly he moves. We’re not overly aggressive with him on the base paths. He’s almost at 100 percent from what I see, but not quite.”
Also joining Georgia on the pitching staff will be Mike Masulli, who enjoyed a strong senior season for Woodland, Brian Langdon, Connor Chura, Ryan Genua, Mike Diurno, Anthony Ross, Ryan Mariotti, and others.
“We don’t really have any superstar pitchers, but we have a lot of depth,” Augelli said. “With the weather we’ve been having, we’re going to play a lot of games in a row and some doubleheaders, so we’re going to need the arms.”
PBF’s games against Bethel on Sunday and Monroe on Tuesday were both postponed due to rain. The team will have to fit in 23 games over the next 31 days.
In addition to those available to pitch, who will also see time in the lineup and around the field, Mike Hardy and Ryan McKay return on the right side of the infield.
Four rising juniors—Ross, Anthony Scirpo, Nick Brown, and Kevin Brennan—will also see significant time as Augelli is pleased with all four first-year players.
“Three out of the four started in the first game,” Augelli said. “I think they’re going to fit in pretty well defensively. Offensively, it might take them a little time to get used to it. They’re going to see tough pitching more consistently than during the high school season. But they’re very positive and eager to play.”
Augelli is particularly excited about Scirpo, who led Woodland as a sophomore with 31 hits and a .419 average while starting in center field.
“We’ve had a lot of good center fielders in the past and he’s going to add to that,” Augelli said.
With a mix of experience and youth, Augelli thinks PBF can compete to qualify for the state tournament if everything comes together.
“I’ve gotta believe that we’re going to be contending for the state tournament,” Augelli said. “We’re deep in pitching and our defense is good. We just have to hit the ball better than we have in the past. Hitting is the key.”
PBF will have to compete against come of the state’s perennial powers, including Oakville, Monroe, Waterbury, and Oxford.
Posts 194-25 were hosted New Milford on Wednesday and will visit Oxford on Thursday. PBF will host Ansonia at 1 p.m. on Saturday and travel to Danbury at 11 a.m. on Sunday.