NEW BRITAIN â€“ An RBI single from Jake Hyde was the difference in the New Britain Beesâ€™ gutsy 6-5 win over the Norwich Sea Unicorns on Thursday at New Britain Stadium.
Hyde brought in left fielder Zach Donahue with a scorching single to right field during the sixth inning and New Britain survived a late comeback attempt from the visitors to win its second straight.
â€ś[Thereâ€™s] a lot of resilience in the Bees,â€ť New Britain manager Donnie McKillop said. â€śWe had good approaches all night and the ball started falling for us, and the right things started to happen. It was just a great night, back and forth battle. I think our guys donâ€™t lose confidence in each other and they enjoy it, so it was a good time out there.â€ť
John Mikosz quite literally saved the game for the Bees on the mound as the Sea Unicorns loaded the bases in the top of the ninth inning with one out, after singles from Hunter Yaworski and Kaelen Culpepper and a base-on-balls to Reece De Castro.
Mikosz, a Southington native, then struck out Norwichâ€™s Anthony Porrino for the second out, who pelted a three-run home run earlier in the game, before getting Matt Malcolm to ground out to avoid what could have been a gut-wrenching defeat.
â€śMikosz at the end, just calm, cool, collected,â€ť McKillop said. â€śHe was peppering right around the zone and a guy youâ€™d want to come in and shut the door. [He] gave up a few runners but threw two clean innings overall, so it worked out well for us.â€ť
Todd Petersen led New Britain with two hits and tied David Howarth with two RBIs on the night, while Hyde and Alec Ritch brought in one run apiece.
Petersen cut the Beesâ€™ deficit to 4-2 with a two-RBI single during the fourth inning, followed by three more runs an inning later, courtesy of Howarth (two-run single) and Ritch (RBI single), to knot the score at 5-5.
Hyde then secured the eventual game-winning run in the sixth, for his 29th RBI of the season.
â€śJake Hyde leads the league in RBIs still and no wonder why,â€ť McKillop said.
The Georgetown product put himself three ahead of second place Michael Golankiewicz of the Brockton Rox with his crucial RBI Thursday and seven ahead in the team lead as Petersen has recorded 22 RBIs to this point.
New Britain trailed in the hit department after nine innings as the Sea Unicorns concluded with 11 as opposed to nine for the hosts.
Brendan Kirk earned the win for the Bees as the reliever pitched two scoreless innings during the sixth and seventh innings, and gave up just one hit. Starter Colin Blake struggled as the Hartford hard-thrower surrendered four runs in four innings on six hits, before being replaced by Dylan Benton in during the fifth inning.
Gary Costello took the loss for Norwich as Cheshireâ€™s own allowed four runs on five hits in one inning. Sea Unicorns starter Payton Sutman scattered three hits for two runs in four innings of work.
Yaworski led all batters with three hits with two singles and a double.
The victory bumps New Britain up to fourth place in the league standings, while Norwichâ€™s third consecutive loss pushes it down to seventh place.
The Bees (21-22) will next host the surging Vermont Lake Monsters, which currently sit in second after going 9-1 in its last 10 games, starting with Fridayâ€™s matchup at 6:35 p.m.
Ryan Ames can be reached at 860-801-5094 or on Twitter @_RyanAmes.