By MICHAEL LETENDRE
BRISTOL – After a tough 1-0 loss to Unionville the previous Saturday, the Bristol Legion baseball team was looking for a little payback at the expense of the squad from Torrington.
And Bristol put up a wood bat scoring bonanza against Post 38 as Post 2 zipped up a 7-1 decision in a Zone 1 game from Muzzy Field in Bristol on Monday, June 17 in a single game affair.
It was the biggest victory of the season for the Bristol outfit in Zone 1 play as Post 2 smashed Torrington pitching for 10 hits and none of them were bigger than the two shots Tim Jalbert unleashed during the fray.
The outstanding outfielder went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored.
His double and triple both were ripped just short of the outfield wall at Muzzy Field but it was also his glove that led to a huge third inning putout that set the tone of the game.
With a runner on second and two outs, Torrington’s Sam Shurburg zapped a shot into right for a base-hit.
Nick Yousefzad was right at third base as Jalbert had already tracked the ball down.
Yousefzad was waived home – and paid the preverbal price.
Jalbert made an outstanding throw to home plate as Yousefzad was looking to score.
Bristol catcher Josh Carney quickly snatched the Jalbert offering and Yousefzad had no chance at a scoring play
Carney applied a quick tag and Torrington’s chance to draw first blood in the game was quickly dashed.
“If one play sparked this team, it was that throw by Timmy Jalbert in right field,” said Bristol coach Dave Nocera. “That absolutely set the stage, sparked the whole team. We just fired up from that play. I mean, there were a lot of stars today but Timmy, to me, he’s really the one that got it going.”
Carney also had a big hit on the day as he cashed in on a two-RBI single while Kyle Dube picked up a single and double in the winning effort.
Also for Bristol, Connor Hayes tallied a single, Eli Minella and Dave Sills added hits late in the batting order as well.
Andrew Martin and Jarrett Michaels also drilled base hits to conclude a busy day at the plate.
Dube pitched well in his 4.1 innings of work before leaving the game off a bit of an injury.
He struck out four, walked one while allowing just the one run off four hits.
“Kyle was actually hurting on the mound a little bit today,” said Nocera. “He was struggling…he had a bit muscle pull in his back. We could tell he wasn’t 100-percent and that’s why we took him out. We didn’t want to take any chances.”
After Dube’s exit, Tony Nicoletti threw 2.2 innings of no-hit ball and certainly looked good in his relief stint.
Nicoletti gave up three walks in the fifth – loading up the bases – as he was rushed onto the field because of the Dube injury but nothing came of it as he cut down the last two batters via strikeout.
He retired the final eight batters he faced to end the game.
Defensively, Martin at third base was superb as he made two outstanding grabs off hard hit grounders for timely putouts.
All and all, Bristol made just one gaffe in the contest.
“There was only one infield error,” said Nocera. “It was just an exceptional performance by this team. We mixed the line-up up a little bit today. We move some guys in, we moved some guy around the (batting) order and it seemed to help a lot.
Losing pitcher Sam Shurburg battled but in the end, the meat of Bristol’s batting order pounded him for nine hits and five runs.
But Shurburg put a couple fires out early in the game as Post 2 loaded the bases up in the second frame with two outs in a 0-0 stalemate.
Dave Sills, however, bounced a grounder right back to Shurburg to end the frame as the game remained scoreless going into the third tilt.
And off the amazing assist by Jalbert to home plate, Bristol went on the attack offensively.
Michaels started the rally with a one-out single to left-center and Jalbert smashed a triple to deep right field as the lead runner scored to make it a 1-0 game.
Jalbert quickly crossed the plate off an RBI double by Dube and just as quickly, Bristol led 2-0.
With two outs, Jake Martel reached base via error and with two runners on, Carney cracked a base hit into right as his two RBI tally propelled Post 2 to an impressive 4-0 cushion.
In the fourth, an RBI groundout by Mitch Zagrodnic finally put Post 38 on the board but in Bristol’s portion of the frame, Sills singled and reached second off a fielding error as another rally quickly ensued.
From there, Martin stretched an RBI single into right as Post 2 edged ahead 5-1.
“The way we swung the bats today was beautiful,” said Nocera. “We were aggressive at plate, we hit the ball up the middle, just great situational hitting, ran the bases exceptionally well…all around, we played about a perfect a game as we could play.”
With Nicoletti now on the mound, he walked the bases loaded and with only one out to begin his stint as Torrington had the tying run at the plate not once, but twice in the fifth stanza.
However, it was all for naught as Nicoletti rang up two strikeouts and Bristol’s four-run lead stay intact.
Off another two-out rally, Carney, Minella, and Sills all walked to load the bases but a passed ball and a throwing error by the catcher led to two additional runs as Bristol zipped in front 7-1 to complete the scoring on the evening after five completed innings.
Nicoletti shutout Torrington the rest of the way as Bristol picked up its biggest win of the year in a six-run rout.
“I feel really good about the rest of the week,” said Nocera. “3-1 is not bad. We’re doing okay. We’re getting better, the guys are coming along nicely, and everybody’s contributing.”
“I feel really good about this team…they are enjoying themselves too which I think is the most important thing.”
By MICHAEL LETENDRE