By MICHAEL LETENDRE
BRISTOL – Just like the CIAC scholastic spring baseball tournament every year, the single elimination tournament favors that squad that has the best ace pitcher no matter what the record of the opposition.
And when the Bristol American Legion team bumped into Ledyard/ Pawcatuck of Zone 6, Post 2’s opponent had its best chucker on the mound.
Pitcher Doug Dumnarski pitched one of his best games of the season as his 15 strikeouts sent Post 2 packing as Bristol fell 12-0 in a seven inning, mercy-rule shortened affair in a state tournament, sectional game from Muzzy Field in Bristol on Saturday, July 20.
Connecticut’s play-in round is a single elimination event so it’s one loss and out for Post 2.
The stunning loss halted Bristol’s season in its tracks and the squad ended the year at 17-13 overall, 16-8 in Zone 1 play.
Ledyard/Pawcatuck had the worst record of any tournament qualifier but moved to 13-15 in the victorious effort against Bristol.
The Zone 6 squad moved on to round two on Sunday, July 21 against Waterford from Leary Park in Waterford.
Dumnarski was nearly unstoppable – throwing the ball at 85 mph – and simply got stronger as the game progressed.
In the seventh, he struck out the side to preserve the 12-0 push.
Offensively, the visiting squad rang up 13 hits, which was the third highest total for the team on the season.
Nate Storey went 3-for-4 with three RBI and two runs scored while Jordan Kowaiski was 3-for-4 with three RBI and two runs scored as well.
Kavan Jakuba scooped up three hits, two scored runs and generated an RBI, Ryan Francis nabbed two hits while Dumnarski zipped in a double and collected three RBI in a dominating showing.
For Bristol, Timmy Jalbert rang up two hits for the home team while Jake Martel and Eli Minella each added base hits in the losing effort.
Of the four Bristol hits, none of them were of the extra-base variety.
Post 2 looked poised to score a run in second frame as Martel beat out an infield hit. However, he was quickly picked off first base.
Later, Jalbert smoked a ball up the middle to get on board but strikeouts of Josh Carney and Tony Nicoletti ended the threat as the game remained a 0-0 deadlock.
Jarrett Michaels lost a hard luck decision again for at the third time this season but pitched well through almost three innings of work.
Over the first nine batters he faced, he walked just one and did not yield a hit.
But in the fateful third frame, Bristol had two outs on the board before the whole thing went terribly wrong.
Off a full count, Bryan Harper popped up a ball behind first base that should have been caught.
But the ball was dropped and the error fueled the Ledyard/Pawcatuck contingent off a vicious two-out rally.
From there, Michaels gave up an RBI single and triple as the Zone 6 club led 2-0.
Bristol coach Dave Nocera made a quick pitching change and went to ace Kyle Dube.
But Ledyard/ Pawcatuck rocked Dube for four straight hits – leading to four additional runs – as the visitors staked a 6-0 tilt on Bristol after 2 1/2 innings of play.
Post 2’s offense didn’t do much after the second frame and even off hits in the third and fourth innings, Ledyard/ Pawcatuck still maintained its 6-0 edge.
And in the fifth, Bristol’s opponent made the game academic with a six-run spurt.
Dube just didn’t have it on the mound as Ledyard/Pawcatuck’s first four batters reached base and the scoring binge was on.
Late in the tilt, a two-RBI single by Storey gave the visitors a 10-0 push. Finally, Kowaiski added a two-run double to post Ledyard/Pawcatuck a 12-0 cushion that was never challenged.
Off the single by Minella, Dumnarski retired the final nine batters he faced.
Striking out the final five Bristol batters he faced, Dumnarski and Ledyard/Pawcatuck zipped up a 12-0 final in only seven innings of work to close out the 2013 campaign for Post 2.
NOTES… Ledyard/Pawcatuck was one of six teams from Zone 6 to qualify for state tournament play…that squad had lost four games in a row coming into the sectional contest against Bristol…Post 2 had won two straight games coming into tournament play while Ledyard/Pawcatuck had won only four or its past 10 games.
By MICHAEL LETENDRE