BRISTOL - The lights were on at Muzzy Field on Thursday night as the Bristol Eastern and Bristol Central baseball teams met for the first time this season.
The Lancers came back from an early four-run deficit to win the game 6-5 for their second win of the season. A four-run fifth inning powered Eastern ahead of its crosstown rival, which falls to 6-5 so far this season.
“Beating Central under these lights is the best feeling in the world,” senior Andrew Lozier said. “When you come into this game, records don’t matter. Everyone who comes here knows that, everyone who plays in this game knows that. They have the better record, but we were the better team tonight.”
Senior Brayden Moore earned the win for the Lancers in three innings of relief for junior Jaydon Churchill. Senior Sean Wininger picked up the loss for the Rams in more than five innings of work.
“These guys are resilient,” Eastern head coach Steve Gaudet, who starts his career 1-0 against Central, said. “We were down 4-0, we hadn’t had a hit, we could easily fold. We’re 1-9 playing a good team in our Bristol hometown game, we could’ve quit and these kids just fight. Until 21 outs are turned over on our side we’re going to keep fighting and that’s what these kids did.”
Central committed a variety of fielding errors with runners on base throughout the contest and the Lancers made sure to take advantage. Eastern took their final lead in the top of the sixth when a dropped third strike from starting pitcher Sean Wininger got away from the catcher and allowed a runner from third to score.
Central was able to put the tying and winning runs on base with its final chance in the bottom of the seventh, but the Lancers’ defense held strong to bring home the win in regulation.
“We played awful defense, awful is a kind word,” Rams head coach Bunty Ray said. “We had a game like that early in the season where we coughed up a lot of runs and we lost to Avon. It’s just a bigger stage and the kids just didn’t rise to the occasion under the bright lights.”
Central jumped out to a 4-0 lead over the first three innings, scoring at least once in each frame. A pair of fielder’s choices brought in Central’s two runs in the first inning, the first coming off the bat of senior Mike Lorenzetti to bring in junior JT Clark. After stealing second and moving to third on a single, Lorenzetti scored from third off a ground ball hit by senior Dillon Hudson.
Clark added another run for his team in the second with a double and Hudson drove in Lorenzetti with a single in the third frame.
“We were seeing the ball well, making some plays, playing well on defense, making big pitches,” Wininger said. “We had confidence coming into this game.”
Eastern made its first retaliation in the top of the fourth inning, adding one run on a sacrifice fly from freshman Ben D’Amato that brought in Churchill. After holding the Rams to their first scoreless inning of the day, the Lancers posted a four-run inning that took advantage of a series of fielding errors by Central.
The Lancers played most of the fifth inning with the bases loaded, bringing runners home one at a time. Senior Trevor Nohilly opened the scoring in the frame with a single that added a run and kept the bases loaded. The next run came off the bat of senior Dylan Woodsome, whose ground ball was misplayed infield, safely moving all runners and making the score 4-3. A sacrifice fly from Andrew Lozier tied the game and then Central tried to throw out Churchill at third base, but the ball got away and the Eastern took the lead as he made it home.
The Lancers’ first lead did not last long as the Rams quickly put runners on base in the bottom half of the inning and then a single sophomore Frank Spirito plated the tying run.
Both teams will return to Muzzy Field on Friday as the Rams will host Simsbury at 3:45 and the Lancers will take on Southington at 6:30.
Matt Hornick can be reached at (860) 973-1811 or firstname.lastname@example.org