By MICHAEL LETENDRE
City Series Baseball
Who: Bristol Central at Bristol Eastern
Where: Muzzy Field, Bristol
Time: 7 p.m.
2017 Records: Bristol Central 4-4 overall; Bristol Eastern 6-3
The Game: This marks the 113th game between the two squads.
Overall Series Record: The Lancers hold the edge in the series, 59-53 as Eastern looks to beat Central for the 60th time overall. The only teams the Lancers have defeated more in program history are the squads from Meriden (Maloney, 64 wins and Platt, 71 wins).
Recent History: The Lancers swept the season series from the Rams last season, seizing a 3-2 win on May 5 while taking a 4-2 decision back on May 23. Those games could have gone the other way if a hit or two for Central fell in.
The Streak: The Lancers have won four straight against the Rams. But over that streak of victories versus Central, Eastern has won those four contests by a total of nine runs. That’s just 2.3 runs-per-game. Despite the final outcomes, it’s been pretty close.
Last Central victory over BE: The Rams last won a game against the Lancers in 2014. The date was May 28, 2014 as Central snuck past Eastern by a 3-2 final from Muzzy Field.
Who to watch – Central: Pitcher/infielder Brock Clark, catcher Jeremy Ganavage, outfielder Mike Lemke, shortstop Noah Plantamuro, and outfielder Dathan Hickey make up just some of the Rams’ key players the squad will turn to.
Who to watch – Eastern: Pitcher/DH/OF Zach Marquis, pitcher/centerfielder Jake Violette, shortstop Cory Fradette, third baseman Mac Goulet, outfielder Anthony Lozier, outfielder Josh Nohilly lead the Eastern program this year.
What to expect: The Rams are playing well so don’t let that .500 season record fool you…All of the squad’s losses are against teams with records above .500 (those squads have a 26-11 combined ledger)…And this is a young team that will be much improved over the second half of the campaign…Offensively, Central has 35 hits on the year and while that might not be an overwhelming number over eight games, the Rams have out-hit opponents by five hits overall in 2017…And 16 of those hits came over the past two games so Central has been turning it on as of late but the squad did not win either of this encounters…Who gets the call on the mound in today’s game? Kenny Knox? Alex Balfour? If Ray had his way, he’d be going to Brock Clark with a little Balfour in relief…And that combination would be able to give the Lancers plenty of fits at the plate but whoever is out there must be aware that Eastern can smack the ball all over the place…Central hitters come in many sizes which includes Jeremy Ganavage, speedster Mike Lemke, defensive whiz Noah Plantamuro, Kevin White, and Jaylen Dias…Dathan Hickey adds some speed to the outfield defensively and more than a couple balls might be slicing his way at Muzzy…Central is 0-4 against Eastern over the last two seasons and is looking to reserve that trend…After an 0-2 start this season, the Lancers have won 6-of-7 games and are rolling right now…With Eastern’s Zach Marquis and Jake Violette having thrown this past weekend, who gets the start on the mound for BE against the Rams? With four games in five days, perhaps Shane Caron is pressed into duty. What about Ethan O’Day? One (or probably both) of those warriors will be throwing this week on the mound for BE…The key is whatever Central pitcher is on the mound, he must stay away from Eastern’s top of the order late in the game…This Eastern group can hit the ball and at the top of the crafty order, you’re talking Anthony Lozier, Gary Gagnier, Violette and Marquis, an ultra-dangerous clean-up hitter…Mac Goulet, Mike Massareilli and Cory Fradette make a tough middle-of-the-order hitting trio so the offense can come from all over for the Lancers…Coach Mike Giovinazzo said, after that four-run win over Plainville earlier in the season, that his squad still had some improvements to make and a ways to go but things seem to be coming together for the defending CCC South, Blue Division champs.
And the winner is…This might be too close to call but Eastern racks up a 4-3 win at Muzzy Field.