PROSPECT — The Prospect-Beacon Falls American Legion baseball team earned its first win of the season on Tuesday in a 2-0 victory over Oxford.
Steve Kazalunas got the win for Posts 194/25 (1-5) going four innings. Andrew Spofford finished up the final three innings for the save.
Posts 194/25 is in its 10th season of American Legion baseball. This year will mark the final year of coaching for Don Ensero, who has over 50 years of service coaching youth sports. Assistant coaches Dave Spofford and Joe Steele join head coach Jeff Clarke as the team looks to make its first state tournament appearance.
“The strength of the team will be our pitching,” Clarke said. “We struggled defensively over the first four games, but have come together and allowed just two runs over the last two games.”
PBF is led on the mound by staff ace Matt Spofford. Veteran pitchers Nathan Clarke, Matt Wysocki and Anthony D’Agnone represent the bulk of the pitching staff.
Dylan Cummings and Andrew Spofford will also add to the team’s pitching depth along with Kazalunas. Behind the plate will be starting catcher Mike Tuohy as well as reserve catcher and utility player Robert Stach, who led the team last year throwing out base runners.
Posts 194/25 will be looking to get into the thick of things in Zone 5 and get back to double digit wins to match the 2008 and 2009 teams that made a run at a state tournament appearance.
“These players have been in Legion ball since they were 15 years old,” Clarke said. “We have improved each year and now is the time to use that experience to get into the state tournament.”
PBF will need defense to back up the pitching and some timely hitting to fuel the offense. Matt Butterworth at third base, Sam Merriman at shortstop and first-year player Jerrett Allen at second base form a rock-solid infield and provide defense up the middle.
Kevin Gabinelli, Mike Kenney and Kyle Soisson are going to be relied on to provide consistent hitting and able defense in the outfield.
“Butterworth and Soisson are line drive type hitters,” Clarke said. “Merriman is a big bat in the lineup along with Matt Spofford our clean up hitter. “Gabinelli is a solid hitter and his speed makes him the best centerfielder in Zone 5.”
Clarke said the team will use its speed to get on the scoreboard.
“We will use our speed to manufacture some runs,” he said. “We are starting to see some consistency at the plate and putting up multiple hit innings.”
Post 194/25 will be back in action on Saturday at 11 a.m. at Hotchkiss Field in Prospect to take on Post 17 of Naugatuck.