By MICHAEL LETENDRE
BRISTOL – The 2013 American Legion baseball squad from Bristol had an up and down regular season this year.
But for a team that had a number of youthful components to it, Post 2 did remarkably well for all of its new team members.
The Seicheprey post ended the regular season at 17-12 overall and 16-8 in Zone 1 play.
Post 2 finished fourth in the Zone 1 race but was only one game out of third place.
“16-8 for a team with so many new players and a lot of youth on this team,” said Bristol coach Dave Nocera, “I’m pretty happy with that result.”
It certainly was a weird season for some of its younger players as a number of them were called upon to fill in big roles almost immediately.
Some of these guys might have thought they were on ‘The Price is Right” game show.
Each player almost acted like contestants that called down to “contestant’s row” during the program.
“Josh Carney…come on down! You’re going to be the every day catcher for the Bristol squad.”
“Rick Lemke…come on down! You get to start on the mound against Southington in one of the biggest games of the year.”
“A.J. Lorenzetti…come on down! You’re going to get some big playing time behind the plate.”
“Jacob Dubrosky…come on down! We need you to start at first base tonight.”
And that’s not a dig against any of those players, not in the least and I’m sure come next spring, we’ll hear a lot more from this group.
But that core group of younger players certainly got big time experience without having it at the scholastic level.
With Dave Cugno starting at catcher for Bristol Eastern, Carney didn’t see a ton of time behind the plate while Dubrosky played on the JV team for the Lancers.
Lemke didn’t throw one pitch at the varsity level for Central and only made one at-bat.
Lorenzetti didn’t get much chance to catch for St. Paul as the sophomore did a little pinch hitting and played here and there for the Falcons.
Of course, with sophomore Emilio Santiago in the mix at catcher for St. Paul, Lorenzetti’s opportunities are few and far between.
So when Bristol had to go young, it really went young.
The lack of a Junior Legion program really hurt Bristol this season as those players would have gotten more exposure and seen additional action which would have helped that young core out immensely.
But that blend of youth, with that veteran experience already established by Kyle Dube, Timmy Jalbert, Connor Hayes and the like, seemed to work well for Bristol and next season, most of that line-up will be back for a second go-around.
Bristol was oh-so-close in capturing third place in the zone this year as Simsbury had to fight to keep that ranking intact.
Simsbury won nine straight Zone 1 games to end its season and maintained its third place standing.
The game that might haunt Bristol most this past summer was a July 11 loss to Simsbury from Memorial Field.
In that contest, Post 2 dropped a 3-0 decision to Simsbury as Kyle Dube pitched well but ended up losing a close showdown.
A third place finish in Zone 1 would have kept Bristol away from the opening day of state tournament action and earned a first round bye.
But for Bristol, maybe playing and not getting any kind of rest might be the best thing, especially after ending the regular season with two straight victories.
Now with a little momentum on its side, Bristol thinks it can make a run in postseason play.
“We’re not done yet,” said Nocera. “I think we’ve got a good chance to win a couple games in the state tournament.”