BRISTOL - The Bristol Legion baseball team is moving on to the second round of the 2021 state tournament after a 9-2 win over South Windsor.
Bristol posted five runs in the first inning to take a lead it never relinquished, giving starting pitcher Andre Lozier a healthy cushion for his five innings of work. Lozier did not allow any runs during his time on the mound and was one of four Bristol players with at least two hits in the game. First baseman Adam Caron led the team with three hits, all of which were singles, and three RBI on the day.
Bristol will host Tri-Town at Muzzy Field on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. in the second round.
“You have to give credit to our guys for coming and being ready to hit, you can’t ask for a better start,” head coach Jerry LaPenta said. “Everybody gets relaxed, you can get away with some mistakes. It kind of took the pressure off for the whole game.”
Four hits yielded five runs for Bristol in the bottom of the first inning, as all nine batters took an at bat. Right fielder Austin Brown opened the action with a leadoff bunt-single and then scored from third base off a single from Lozier two batters later. Lozier then stole second before centerfielder Ryan Fradette ripped a double to left-center field that gave Bristol its second run of the game.
A single from third baseman Jack Kozikowski put two runners on base for catcher Owen Davis, who promptly blasted a line drive to deep right-center field for a two-run triple. Davis journeyed the final 90 feet to score on a wild pitch two batters later.
“I think other guys have gotten hot, Owen’s been hitting the ball very well for us,” LaPenta said. “The key, too, is Austin. If Austin gets on base with his speed it puts a lot of pressure on people from the leadoff spot. Just like the bunt there to start the game, it put pressure right on them. He gets to second and then it set up the whole inning.”
The bats came alive again for Bristol in the bottom of the fourth inning and grew its lead by two runs. First baseman Adam Caron earned both RBI with a hard-hit single past the shortstop to bring in runners from second and third. Bristol threatened earlier in the inning with runners in scoring position, but Kozikowski was thrown out at home on a ground ball to second base.
South Windsor broke through on the scoreboard with two runs in the top of the sixth as Davis moved from behind the plate to the pitcher’s mound in relief of Lozier. After getting the first two outs handily, Davis allowed a pair of hits and loaded the bases with Nicholas Worthington up to bat. Worthington’s ensuing single drove in runners from second and third to end the shutout.
Bristol neutralized the damage sustained in the previous half inning with a pair of runs, making the score 9-2. Caron picked up his third RBI and third single of the day to give Bristol another run, before Nate Ouellette got caught between first and second, allowing Caron to score from third later in the frame.
“I find that if we play that way all year, I don’t like to go away from it,” LaPenta said. “Five runs is not a big lead so you have to still be aggressive and that’s why I was happy to get those insurance runs back so I can relax a little bit more in the top of the seventh.”
Matt Hornick can be reached at (860) 973-1811 or firstname.lastname@example.org.