PROSPECT — American Legion baseball teams in Zone 5 better not look at the Prospect-Beacon Falls’ 3-15 record and fall into a false sense of security. Posts 194/25 has proven all season long that they are a tough out.
Head coach Jeff Clarke has the team playing until the final out. Prospect-Beacon Falls has been on the losing side of four one-run decisions and have allowed double digits only twice.
“When we play smart baseball, we have been extremely competitive,” Clarke said. “We have gotten our bats going lately to match the quality pitching performances. Anthony D’Agnone, Matt Wysocki, Nathan Clarke and Matt Spofford have given us some strong innings and kept us in ball games.”
Prospect-Beacon Falls scratched out two wins last week.
On July 1 at Hotchkiss Field, Matt Spofford survived a four-run third inning and kept Easton in check allowing only two more runs over the other six innings as Posts 194/25 held on for a 9-6 win.
Prospect-Beacon Falls jumped out to the lead with four runs in the second inning. Jerrett Allen got it started with a run-scoring hit and then came around to score on an RBI double from Robert Stach. The final run came across when Kevin Gabinelli scored on a hit from Wysocki to build a 4-1 lead.
After Easton plated four runs of their own in the top of the third, PBF got it right back rallying for three runs in the bottom of the frame. Sam Merriman drove in Matt Butterworth with a double and Allen collected RBI hits in the third and fourth inning to put the game safely in the win column.
“Jerrett has become a key contributor and has moved up in the batting order,” Clarke said. “He has played well both offensively and defensively all season.”
PBF made it two wins in a row on July 2 with a 5-4 win over Monroe. D’Agnone went the distance and held on after allowing three runs in the sixth.
Posts 194/25 tied the game at 1-1 when Wysocki scored on an RBI hit from Matt Spoffard in the bottom of the first inning. PBF scored all the runs they would need when they hung four runs on the board in the third inning.
Monroe did make it interesting getting back three runs in the sixth, but D’Agnone was able to slam the door for back-to-back wins for PBF.
“D’Agnone is having a special season for us,” Clarke said. “He is among the team leaders in hits and stolen bases. He has also given us multiple quality starts.”
Clarke added the team has been getting solid defense from several players, as well.
“Gabinelli is our minister of defense in centerfield,” he said. “Merriman pulled off a diving stop at shortstop against Bethel last week and then threw the runner out at home. Stach has thrown out multiple base runners trying to steal and our defense has really made the plays to back up our pitching.”
Butterworth and Mike Tuohy got the chance to showcase their skills Tuesday at the Rawlings Futures Game Showcase at Central Connecticut State University. They played in front of 60 college coaches from all over the Northeast, including Jim Penders from UConn, Clarke said.
PBF showed their mettle against Waterbury, the Zone 5 leader, in back-to-back games this week.
Nathan Clarke went the distance on Monday scattering just five hits in a 3-0 loss. It was a 1-0 game until Waterbury plated two runs in the sixth to pull away.
On Tuesday at Hotchkiss Field Waterbury took a 2-0 lead against Wysocki, who then held them scoreless. PBF battled back to tie the game at 2. Butterworth scored the first run in the fourth. In the seventh inning, PBF tied the game when Gabinelli and Steve Kazalunas walked and D’Agnone brought in a run on a single. With one out and runners at first and second the game was suspended by rain and is scheduled to be completed later in the week.
Prospect-Beacon Falls is scheduled to play Danbury Wednesday and Thursday. Posts 194/25 will host Monroe on Saturday at 11 a.m. before visiting New Milford on Sunday for a double header.