PROSPECT — The Prospect-Beacon Falls American Legion baseball team honored coach Don Ensero Sr. in the final game of his legendary 55 year coaching career the only way they could — by sending him off victoriously.
Posts 194-25 defeated Oxford last Thursday in a 4-3 thriller that was synonymous with the type of season PBF had. Prospect-Beacon Falls (5-21) played every game with heart and character forcing teams to go to the final out to decide the outcome.
Matt Spoffard went 5 2/3 innings versus Oxford leaving with runners at second and third and two outs in the sixth inning. Nathan Clarke exemplified the never-give-up attitude of this team when he came in to finish the game. He earned the save despite pitching with bruised ribs from a collision at first base earlier in the game.
“I went to take him out as we had players warming up in the bullpen and he said, ‘I’m finishing this,’” PBF head coach Jeff Clarke said. “It was a nice tribute to coach Ensero to end his career with a victory.”
Anthony D’Agnone delivered the big hit driving in three runs to pace the PBF offense. Jerrett Allen, Kevin Gabinelli, Clarke and D’Agnone all contributed hits and runs scored. Sam Merriman and Matt Butterworth added hits to the Posts 194-25 attack.
“D’Agnone has been so valuable to this team all season long,” Clarke said. “He has played out his eligibility along with Matt Spoffard, Merriman and Matt Wysocki. So we have some holes to fill for next year.”
The team will return some pitching next season.
“We do have a couple of our pitchers back. It was the strength of the team this season keeping us in games against some of the top teams in the Zone,” Clarke said. “We just couldn’t generate enough offense to turn around some of those close games.”
D’Agnone played this spring for Nichols College pitching in five games and registering a tidy 2.70 ERA. Matt Spoffard and D’Agnone earned two victories each on the mound for PBF with Gabinelli also picking up a win on the hill. Drew Spoffard worked his way into the closer role.
Merriman led the team in hitting with a .356 average and Mike Tuohy led the team with a .437 on-base percentage. Nathan Clarke hit at a .304 clip with D’Agnone, Butterworth and Wysocki hitting .294. Robert Stach showed his tools behind the plate catching and batting a productive .283 average.
Dylan Cummings, Steve Kazalunas, Mike Kenney and Kyle Soisson all contributed to the Prospect-Beacon Falls season.
The biggest surprise was the development of Allen. In his first year of Legion ball, Allen put together a .264 average with 17 hits, a team-high eight RBI and scored six runs. Butterworth led the team with 11 runs and Wysocki scored eight runs. D’Agnone knocked in six runs.
“Allen has been a real good versatile player for us in the infield and the outfield,” Clarke said. “Tuohy and Butterworth were named to the Rawlings Future Game All-Stars, and I’m so proud of this team. In our last game the entire team showed up and that says something about their character.”