By MICHAEL LETENDRE
WINDSOR LOCKS – A good American Legion baseball squad plays more than a few non-zone games every summer – helping a deep roster to keep fresh.
And for the senior squad in Bristol, in its exhibition contest at Windsor Locks on Monday, June 11, Post 2 got everyone some playing time in the team’s 3-0 victory.
It was the third straight win for the program as Bristol had yet to taste defeat in 2018 to that point of the season.
“So far so good,” said Bristol coach Jerry LaPenta. “Three games, three wins.”
Jake Violette, who hadn’t pitched since last summer, didn’t need to shake any rust off because he came out sharp from the start.
He allowed just two hits, struck out four, and threw a total of 59 pitches in an efficient four innings of work.
“He really hadn’t had a start in almost 10 months, so he didn’t look to rusty at all,” said LaPenta of Violette. “He threw strikes, his curveball he threw for strikes…that’s going to be huge for us.”
Post 2 sprayed around seven hits as Cory Fradette led the charge with a single and a double.
Matt D’Amato, Zach Marquis, Alec DiLoreto, Carson Sassu and Violette each nabbed one hit apiece to lead the Bristol offense.
Zach Heim and Alan Eheander each tallied hits for Windsor Locks (1-6) who simply struggled against the more imposing Bristol defense.
Post 2 immediately got to work in the top of the first inning when Fradette jammed a single to left to lead off the game.
D’Amato bounced into a 5-4 fielder’s choice for the first out but Violette sent a base hit to right to put two runners on.
Marquis then lofted a single to right field – plating D’Amato – to make it a 1-0 game.
One batter later, DiLoreto eked a single over the first basemen’s glove as Violette chugged all the way home – giving Bristol a 2-0 push.
A wild pitch advanced the runners and while a grounder to first base retired Jon Pierce, Marquis made it home to make it a 3-0 contest.
“We’ve been hitting the ball,” said LaPenta. “We’re getting out of the gate good and getting some runs early but then they kind of got quiet.”
Violette and the defense went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the tilt and the visitors were quickly back at the plate in the second.
Steve Warkoski was plunked by a pitch to open the frame but a 4-3 double play eliminated the Bristol runners.
Sassu then slipped a single into right field that spiked down the line but a throw-in to the second base bag got the runner as Bristol’s lead was still three through one-and-a-half innings.
Windsor Locks’ Ryan Robidoux earned a one-out walk in the second, later stole a base and advanced to third via a wild pitch.
Joe Woodbury then fell to Violette via strikes and Mason Craig grounded out to keep it a 3-0 contest through two frames.
D’Amato drew a base-on-balls with one gone in the third but was called out on a fielder’s choice and Violette was caught stealing to end the inning, putting Windsor Locks back at the dish.
The game moved quickly into the bottom of the fourth when Heim and Eheander poked back-to-back singles and advanced on a Scott Slater strikeout.
But Jonah Berrien then struck out and a grounder to first by Robidoux ended the fourth stanza without a score for Windsor Locks.
In the fifth inning, DiLoreto made an appearance for Bristol on the mound and quickly mowed down the order to get Bristol into the sixth still ahead by three.
Fradette opened the sixth by dropping a double to right but then tried to swipe third without the benefit of a pitch and was tagged out.
D’Amato then bounced a ball off the pitcher for an infield hit but never advanced past second base as Windsor Locks held the fort and was hanging around, trailing 3-0.
“We didn’t have Mac [Goulet] or Ryan Greene here and they’re the middle of our lineup,” said LaPenta.
Kenny Knox then got some work in on the hill, throwing nine pitches to get Bristol into the seventh and final inning with that 3-0 edge still intact.
“Our pitching has been very good,” said LaPenta. “We didn’t give up any runs today, two runs the other day and two runs the first game so the pitching’s been good.”
In the seventh, Lozier nearly got hit in the elbow with two outs but off one final putout, Windsor Locks had to respond in the bottom of the tilt.
Finally, it was Ethan Ryan’s turn to mop up – which is what he did to save the game – and in the end, those four pitchers earned a combined two-hit shutout.