BRISTOL - There is no question the Bristol Blues bullpen has been a strength this season. It has also seen a few of its ranks take on more responsibility in the pitching staff, and the next pitcher up appears to be Sebastian DiMauro.
In his first five relief innings, DiMauro has allowed one run this season.
“It’s great when you’re in the field and you know that you have a pitcher on the mound that can really get out of innings and you trust him,” DiMauro said about being able to come out of the bullpen and perform. “So I’m hoping our bullpen can come in and shut guys down.”
Seeing the success DiMauro found in short spurts, the Blues made the decision to allow him to take on a heavier load on Tuesday. DiMauro pitched three full innings in relief of Jared Gallagher against the Martha’s Vineyard Sharks and led the Blues to a 7-3 win while picking up his first save of the season.
“Awesome,” Blues manager Pat Riley said about his reliever. “That’s the first time he’s pitched multiple [full] innings. I kind of wanted to see what he could do with that tonight and he did a good job.”
In the light rain, DiMauro gave up two runs and three hits in the win, while striking out one. Both runs and one of the hits came in the top of the ninth, when the Sharks loaded the bases with no outs and threatened to make a comeback. But DiMauro got three outs and kept the Sharks from getting back into the game.
“I feel like I had a little bit of fatigue and just lost focus and had to sit back and say, ‘You’ve been here before. Nothing you can’t get through,’” DiMauro said. “So I just [buckled] down, threw strikes, lived low in the zone and I feel like I worked through it pretty well.”
DiMauro’s performance Sunday impressed his skipper, especially his ability to handle both the weather and the late pressure.
“It’s not easy pitching in this weather,” Riley said. “The ball is slick. Even when you think you have a dry one, it’s really not dry. He did a good job. It got a little closer at the end but he battled and he competed and he got the outs he needed to. So I was very happy with him.”
For DiMauro, earning the confidence of his coaches and his teammates is something that is very important.
“It’s always good when the coach believes in you,” he said. “I love it when the players believe in me. I’m glad the coach here really likes me and I’m happy that I’m kind of proving myself.”
DiMauro is from Woodbridge and spends the college baseball season playing for the Hawks from the University of Hartford so playing for a summer league team from Connecticut is special.
“I love it,” he said. “I love being able to live at home, going away to college, living at college for the whole year and then being able to stay home, live with your family, see your friends and then go to a good league, get some innings, play some good competition and kind of represent your state. It’s great.”
The success DiMauro has found in the short and now long relief roles has grabbed Riley’s eyes and has opened him up to possibly allowing DiMauro to shoulder even more responsibility as the summer goes on.
“It was a good opportunity for him and we wanted to see what he could do with multiple innings and he did a good job,” Riley said after Tuesday’s game. We’re still feeling guys out; this is the first time he’s done that. He showed that he could do it so [we’ll see if] he falls into that long relief situational [role] or a starter. It’s possible, definitely.”
Josh Kestenbaum can be reached at (860) 973-1811 or firstname.lastname@example.org