Runs and wins have been hard to come by this season for the West Haven Post 71 American Legion baseball team. Performances like the one shown Thursday evening can go a long way in turning the season around.
Sending 13 batters to the plate in the sixth inning, West Haven scored nine times to defeat New Haven, 10-0 ,in a gamed stopped in the sixth due to the mercy rule at Piurek Field in West Haven.
“It is a nice win for us,” West Haven coach Fred Morgillo said. “We got some guys back tonight. Sean Jefferson pitched great. He was effective for us tonight.”
The win was West Haven’s second on the season, while New Haven suffered a tough loss in terms of staying in the top four in Zone II play. The loss dropped New Haven to 6-6 and put the team two games behind Hamden in the loss column in the battle for the fourth seed.
“It is disappointing in the fact we have lost a lot of games we should have won,” New Haven assistant coach Frank Redente said. “We have lost one-run games. We are a lot better team than our record.”
West Haven (2-10) scored the lone run of a pitcher’s duel in the third inning, before erupting in the sixth. With one out in the third, Mario Kiaunis singled, went to second on a balk, and later scored on a single to right by Kalan Morgillo.
Starting pitcher Sean Jefferson did the rest for Post 71 as he scattered six hits and three walks without allowing a run. Jefferson turned the game around in the sixth inning when he escaped a second and third, no-out jam without allowing a run to score.
Reynaldo Duprey opened the frame with a walk and Josh Colon doubled to right, putting the go-ahead run on base for New Haven. Jefferson was not to be denied as he got a fly out and two grounders to keep New Haven off the scoreboard.
“I knew I had to get a couple of ground ball outs for us to get out of it,” Jefferson said. “Once I got the first two outs, I knew I wasn’t going to allow a run.”
West Haven fed off Jefferson’s heroics as they blew the game open, then ended the contest in the sixth. Brett Gradoia led off with a single, Ty Reeves walked with one out, and Ryan Ahern singled to center with two outs to score Gradoia for a 2-0 lead.
West Haven kept the hits coming against New Haven starting pitcher Jose Colon as Kiaunis reached on an infield single to load the bases and Dom Cambino singled to score Reeves. Tim McCarthy followed with a walk to score Ahern, Lou Masselli singled to score Kiaunis, and a wild pitch scored Cambino.
After Cambino walked to load the bases, Jefferson doubled to left, plating McCarthy, Masselli and Gradoia for a 9-0 advantage.
“They ran out of pitching,” Morgillo said. “It is a game we are all playing with the pitching. We were able to get some big hits in the inning. We just started rolling from there.”
New Haven (6-6) had its opportunities in the contest, but stranded a pair of runners in the first, two more in the second, one in the fourth, two in the fifth, and two more in the sixth.
Kiaunis, Masselli, and Ahern each had a pair of hits in a 12-hit attack for Post 71 in the win.