By MICHAEL LETENDRE
BRISTOL – The Bristol Eastern baseball team trailed 4-1 in its CCC South challenge against Maloney from Muzzy Field on Wednesday, May 9 through two-and-a-half innings of work.
But then a blitzing 10-0 jaunt by the Lancers saw the home squad never trail again, downing the Spartans 11-6 to move to 9-7 on the campaign.
“We were down early but I was confidence our bats would rally,” said Eastern coach Mike Giovinazzo. “We certainly did.”
The Lancers (9-7) had 12 hits for the game as Cory Fradette put on a clinic against Maloney (1-14) pitching.
Fradette sprayed out two triples and a single, drove in five RBI and scored twice over a dominating display.
“He’s been a catalyst for us all year,” said Giovinazzo of Fradette. “He’s hit into some tough luck too I’ll tell you but today, today, he just drilled the ball. He just wakes us up. As soon as he drives the ball, everybody else picks up on it.”
Mac Goulet had a single and double, scored twice, and drove in two runs while Dave Bernier added two hits, a walk and scored three times.
Eastern’s Ethan Ryan, in his first varsity start, pitched into the sixth, and had just one bad inning.
That bad patch of luck came in the Maloney third when he gave up four consecutive hits with two outs on the board as the Spartans scored four times, taking a 4-1 lead to that point of the showdown.
Overall, Ryan allowed the four hits, five runs (four earned), walked four, and struck out five.
“You know what, [Ryan] had a bad inning but he rallied, kept us in the game and trusted his offense to get him back and they did that,” said Giovinazzo. “I’m very pleased with his effort.”
Down a run, Ryan gave up a walk to start the inning but picked up a fielder’s choice and a fly ball putout produced two quick outs.
But doubles from Elliot Good and Tanner Raymond, followed by a triple from Joe Goleblewski and a single from Evan Cordero, produced the four runs and allowed Maloney to rack up a three-run edge.
Eastern then scored four runs in the bottom of the third, and three over each of the next two innings, to stake the Lancers to an 11-4 cushion.
In the Eastern third, Bernier opened with a walk and Fradette tripled to left center to score Bernier – trimming the deficit to 4-2.
An error on Matt D’Amato’s ground ball scored Fradette as Eastern was trailing by a single run.
Goulet was then hit by a pitch and Jon Pierce singled to center to score D’Amato to make it a 4-4 game.
Finally, Goulet scored on Carson Sassu’s outfield fly as the sacrifice led the Lancers to a 5-4 edge after three completed frames.
Eastern the added three additional runs the fourth as John McPhee started off by getting plunked by a pitch.
Bernier then laid down a perfect bunt, beat it out for a hit, and Fradette singled to left to score McPhee.
D’Amato later sacrificed, putting runners on second and third and Goulet followed with a single inside third base to score Bernier and Fradette for a two-RBI tally as Eastern led 8-4 through four tilts.
The Lancers closed out the scoring with three more runs in the fifth to ramp up an 11-4 cushion.
Following singles by Alex DeNote, McPhee, and Bernier to load the bases, Fradette blasted a triple to left to score all three runners – making it a seven-run game.
In the top of the sixth, Ryan walked the Maloney leadoff batter and Fradette came on in relief.
He generated two outs but then allowed a walk while an error helped to load the bases.
To end the scoring, Good singled in the two unearned runs to make it an 11-6 contest.
But Fradette and the defense did not allow the Spartans any additional offense that evening.
“[Our] pitching and defense [has been better]. No question,” said Giovinazzo. “Our pitching has been less than stellar and our defense hasn’t done a lot to back them up. It puts a lot of pressure on the offense. It feels like you’ve got to score to score 10 runs to win a game.”
And in the end, it was another win for Eastern, an 11-6 triumph, as every victory helps keep the Lancers away from a tough state tournament opponent.
“I’m sick of long bus rides,” said Giovinazzo. “I liked a couple years ago when we were the home team [at Muzzy] for three rounds. That was nice. You always try to avoid those long bus rides. You try to get as many wins as you can going into the tournament.”