NEWINGTON - The Newington American Legion baseball team had managed just six runs during its four-game losing skid, and it needed a big inning to break out of its slump.
A four-run second and seven runs over the first three innings was enough to end Newington’s four-game losing streak and secure a 9-3 win over Bristol on Monday afternoon, as Newington jumped all over a Bristol team that had beaten it twice on Sunday, both by a single run.
The loss for Bristol (14-4) snaps a four-game winning streak.
“We got off to a good start,” Bristol head coach Jerry LaPenta said. “But I thought we were a little flat. We hadn’t been flat for one game, but today was our day to be flat I guess.”
Newington starter Simao Cabral didn’t appear to be flat after a groundout and a strikeout to start the game, but a two-out walk to Mac Goulet started a rally for Bristol. Ryan Greene followed the free pass with a base hit to right to put runners on first and second, and Josh Nohilly drove in the game’s first run with another single to right, scoring Goulet and giving Bristol the lead.
With runners on the corners, Bristol pushed across another run on a double steal that plated Greene before Nohilly was caught in a rundown and tagged out to end the inning.
Newington (5-13) answered right back in its half of the first thanks to a pair of well-placed hits in the middle of the order. After Anthony DeBlasio was hit by a pitch, Xavier Mitchell lifted a line drive down the right field line that landed just out of the reach of a diving Nohilly, allowing DeBlasio to score and Mitchell to speed to third with a triple. With the Bristol infield drawn in to cut off the runner at home, Nick Cox poked a ground ball that just split the middle infielders to score Mitchell and tie the game.
Bristol reclaimed the lead in the second thank to another rally that began with two outs and the bases empty. Alex Dilgreto, Carson Sassu and Noah Plantamuro smacked consecutive singles to plate the go-ahead run before a flyout ended another rally that almost wasn’t.
Newington rode three straight hits to its own rally in the bottom of the second, only it came right away instead of with two outs. After back-to-back singles by Cabral and Joe DeGirolamo, Mike Sobolewski ripped a double into the gap in left center to give Newington a 4-3 lead and chase Bristol starter Nick Ruffino, who failed to record an out in the second.
Cory Fradette relieved Ruffino, but Newington’s hit parade continued. DeBlasio greeted Fradette with a single, and after a walk to Mitchell, Cox ripped his second RBI single in as many innings to stretch Newington’s lead to 5-3.
Newington threatened for more when Cox’s single loaded the bases with nobody out, but the only further damage it could muster was on a hit by pitch to Ryan Saindon, who forced in Newington’s sixth run of the game with a painful RBI. The damage done, though, to a Bristol pitching staff that had allowed just seven runs during its four-game winning streak seemed a lot more painful.
Newington matched Bristol’s total runs allowed over its winning streak in the bottom of the third, riding a pair of errors to another run to take a 7-3 lead. It became 8-3 when Cox ripped yet another RBI single in the bottom of the fifth after Mitchell drew a two-out walk and stole second. Meanwhile, a settled-in Cabral allowed just one hit from the third inning to the fifth to allowed Newington’s lead to steadily increase.
“We gave them some extra outs and had a couple errors here and there,” LaPenta said. “But it’s like I told the kids, we took two out of three for the series, and that’s what you want to do.”
Cabral’s hitless stretch ended with two outs in the sixth after a single to right by Dilgreto, but the inning ended shortly after when Sassu smoked a hard grounder up the middle that was snared on the backhand by a diving DeBlasio, who landed on his belly and threw to second from his backside for the force.
“We were just getting unlucky,” Fradette said. “We had some hard hits and some that were just right at people. Nothing was going our way today.”
An appreciative Cabral greeted his teammate at the dugout, then later trotted back out to the mound to finish a complete-game performance and end his team’s losing streak.
“He pitched awesome,” Newington head coach Bill DeBlasio said. “We played defense for him today and had some timely hitting, and Simao settled down from there.”