BRISTOL - Bristolâ€™s American Legion baseball team is headed to the Super Regional on the back of a seven-run fifth inning that led to a 9-3 victory over Jewett City on Thursday afternoon at Muzzy Field.Â
Mac Goulet bombed a long one-out RBI double to left field and Cory Fradette stole home with two outs to spark the big inning. Those plays helped bust open a 2-1 lead and buoyed the win that sends Bristol to the tournamentâ€™s next phase in South Windsor.
â€ś[Jewett City] got a little down, and Trevor [Mays] pitched great,â€ť Bristol head coach Jerry LaPenta said. â€śIt was an overall great team win. Even our outs were hard today. I think we had three or four lineouts. Couple sac. flies. We executed very well.â€ť
Jewett City took a 1-0 lead to open the game, but Bristol tied the score in the bottom half. After scoring the go-ahead run in the third inning, Bristol was also boosted in the big fifth inning by Alec DiLoretoâ€™s two-out single and a two-out, two-run single by Noah Plantamuro.Â
The club never looked back after that and limited Jewett Cityâ€™s comeback bid to two runs in the sixth, as Bristol was able to avoid what it had done to East Hartford/Manchester in Sundayâ€™s tourney opener.Â
Trailing 4-3 headed to the bottom of the seventh versus EHM, Ryan Greene started a rally by crushing a line-drive single up the middle off the pitcherâ€™s glove, and his ensuing throw to first base sailed into right field.Â
That put Greene in scoring position, and Josh Nohilly placed a perfect bunt down the line for a single. Evan Bouchard soon followed with a game-tying sacrifice fly, and two singles loaded the bases for Noah Plantamuro, who drew a walk-off walk for a 5-4 victory.Â
â€śTo win that first game is always hard,â€ť said LaPenta, whose club was down 4-0 in the top of the second inning and scored two runs in the bottom half. â€śThe biggest part of the game was cutting the lead in half. If it had stayed 4-0 for a while, it wouldâ€™ve been a lot tougher to come back.â€ť
As long as itâ€™s within striking distance of its opponents, Bristol never seems shaken or deterred, says LaPenta. Itâ€™s been that way all summer, and that poise has continued in the 19U state tournament.
â€śThe team doesnâ€™t really have a lot of panic in them,â€ť LaPenta said. â€śTheyâ€™re a pretty confident bunch. Theyâ€™ve played together for a long time. Theyâ€™ve played with each other since they were kids and have had a lot of success. â€¦ Weâ€™ve had a good year, and weâ€™ve been in every game. All the games weâ€™ve lost were close except for one game when Simsbury beat us 11-1.â€ť
Bristol doesnâ€™t yet know who its opponent will be on Saturday, when it will play at either 1 p.m. or 4 p.m. at Rotary Field in South Windsor. Itâ€™s possible, however, that it could get a matchup with a Zone 1 opponent in Southington or West Hartford.
If facing one or both of those teams during the next round, the rigors of having faced each team three times this summer could help prepare Bristol moving forward.
â€śWhoeverâ€™s left is gonna be good,â€ť LaPenta said. â€śWeâ€™ll know what they can do and what they canâ€™t do, but theyâ€™ll all be tough games. Whoever we play, itâ€™s gonna be tough.â€ť
Zack Carpenter can be reached at (860) 973-1811 or firstname.lastname@example.org