In rivalry battle, Post 2 stifled

By MICHAEL LETENDRE

STAFF WRITER

FARMINGTON – When the Bristol Senior American Legion baseball team tangles with RCP in state tournament play, it’s always an interesting battle.

It’s a rivalry between the programs and on Thursday, July 26, the teams went at it again.

RCP needed to beat Post 2 twice to qualify for the Connecticut Super Regional and, behind an awesome pitching effort by Roland Thivierge, Bristol fell 5-0 in game one – its first loss in state tournament play – from Tunxis Mead Park in Farmington.

The game date was delayed due to rain as RCP was allotted each time to get its pitching rotation in order thanks to Mother Nature.

Thivierge was sharp from the start as Bristol did not have an extra-base hit in the contest.

“That kid is a good pitcher,” said Bristol coach Jerry LaPenta of Roland Thivierge. “He pitched well for them.”

The winning pitcher ramped up seven strikeouts over the shutout, allowing seven hits and no walks over his complete game outing.

Greg Lozier added two singles for Bristol while Steve Warkoski tallied a couple base hits to lead the offensive charge.

David Dewey had two doubles while Alex Hinkle and Zach Lombardo each added two-base hits over the 12-hit attack.

To open the first inning, RCP’s Noah Budzik smashed a one-out single over the shortstop position and a bit later, Zach Lombardo had a base hit to left to put two on.

But Brett Thivierge flew out to center to end the first frame and Bristol was looking to draw first blood.

Roland Thivierge went three up and three down in the first as the 0-0 stalemate slipped into the second inning.

Bristol pitcher Alec Balfour (6 IP, 3 R, 9 hits) hung in and helped his own cause when he snared Jared Valentin’s line drive out of the air for the second out of the second inning.

Hinkle then raced out an infield hit to shortstop as Noah Plantamuro’s nifty throw to first base was just off the mark.

Tyler Baldwin grounded out to the pitcher, ending the inning to keep RCP off the scoreboard.

But Post 2 wasn’t able to score any runs in the second either as neither team put a dent on the scoreboard.

In the third, Dewey sent a double to the fence in left and advanced to third on a groundout by Budzik.

And Nick Polizonis dropped a one-hopper to right to score Dewey as his RBI single gave RCP a 1-0 lead after two-and-a-half innings of work.

Warkoski smacked a single to right to open the third but off a sacrifice bunt attempt by Jeremy Ganavage, the lead runner was chopped down at second base.

And Ganavage was tagged out trying to steal second base as the third inning was completed and Post 105 led the game by a run.

With one gone in the fourth, Austin Roy’s grounder to third base – which Mac Goulet was playing to go foul – bounced off the bag and stayed fair to put one on.

Jared Valentin then singled to center and with two on, Hinkle jammed a double to left – clearing the bases – as the two-RBI tally made it a 3-0 game.

Bristol’s Anthony Lozier opened the bottom of the fourth with a long single to center field to put something together for Post 2.

A fielder’s choice retired Lozier and Plantamuro took over at first base. Goulet later sent a screamer to left as his single put two runners on with only one out.

Roland Thivierge then struck out Jake Violette and Cory Fradette was just thrown out at first base by a nice throw-in by shortstop Tyler Baldwin as RCP kept its 3-0 cushion intact.

“We were down 3-0 and we had a chance to score. The kid [Baldwin] made a great play at shortstop,” said LaPenta. “It was a great play there.”

In the fifth, Lombardo dropped in his second single of the game and stole a base to get into scoring position.

But Tyler Schaivone ended the tilt with a groundout as Post 2 was looking to rally.

Bristol’s Ryan Greene raced out an infield hit to shortstop to put a runner on but eventually, a 4-3 double play saw the fifth stanza come crashing to a halt as Post 105 continued to lead by three.

Balfour slipped into a bit of a groove, retiring eight of nine after allowing the two RBI tally by Hinkle, and he still had 17 pitches left if LaPenta wanted him to return for the seventh inning.

“I thought Alec pitched well,” said LaPenta of Balfour. “He had a couple bleeders and gave up [that] one hit [to Hinkle]. The game was within reach.”

And quickly into the bottom portion of the sixth, Bristol went on the attack.

Mike Lemke raced out a base hit to short and Lozier hopped a single to right as Post 2 had two runners on with no one out and three chances with the tying runner at the dish.

With a chance to move the runners over, Plantamuro took a stab at it but ended up flying out to center for the first putout of the sixth.

“We had first and second with no outs, we’re down three, and I decided to let Noah swing one time before I [let him] bunt,” said LaPenta of Plantamuro. “I had six outs left and I really didn’t want give an out up.”

Goulet then flew out and, with runners on the corners, Violette grounded out at first base as Ethan Ryan took over for Balfour on the mound in the seventh with the home team still trailing 3-0.

Dewey started if off by doubling to left and scored when Budzik singled to right to push the deficit to 4-0.

Lombardi then drilled a double to left-center field as Lozier and Violette had a bit of a collision going after the ball, Budzik easily scored from third base and the deficit reached 5-0 with half-an-inning to play.

And then, Post 2 attempted a two-out rally.

Warkoski and Ganavage dropped in connective singles but when Lemke grounded out, the game was over, and RCP was a 5-0 winner – forcing a winner-take-all second game which was supposed to be played half-an-hour after the first contest.

But rain KO’ed the rubber match until the following day and, once again, it allowed Post 105 to return yet another pitcher to the rotation thanks to the extra time.

“No one said it was ever going to be easy,” said LaPenta. “We got Kenny [Knox] on the mound for us [on Friday]. I have all the confidence in the world in Kenny. So we’ll have to scratch out some runs and expect it to be a close game and take it from there.”

NOTES…Bristol fell against RCP in the rematch, 4-0, to close out the season at 20-7-1 (13-5 in Zone 1). The Bristol Observer will have that game story in next week’s edition.

Senior American Legion Tournament Regionals – Sunday, July 22

Results – Pod A

Tri-County 4, Avon 3

Pod B

Winsted 5, South Windsor 3

Pod C

Moosup 10, Simsbury 6

Ellington 4, Berlin 3

Pod D

Bristol 2, RCP 1

Pod E

Southington 8, Hamden 4

Trumbull 4, Bethel 0

Pod F

Wilton 4, Stratford 0

Cheshire 7, Waterbury 3

Pod G

Branford 1, Stamford 0

Guilford 6, Naugatuck 5

Pod H

Oakville 3, North Haven 0

 

Tuesday, July 24

Results – Pod A

Windsor 7, Avon 5

Pod B

Niantic 4, Winsted 2

Pod C

Berlin 3, Moosup 2

Pod D

RCP 6, Tolland 1

Pod E

Trumbull 13, Hamden 0

Pod F

Waterbury 5, Wilton 2

Pod G

Naugatuck 10, Branford 0

Pod H

Middletown 1, North Haven 0

 

Wednesday, July 25

Results – Pod A

Tri-County 6, Windsor 2

Pod B

West Hartford 2, Niantic 1

Pod C

Ellington 6, Berlin 4

Pod E

Trumbull 3, Southington 1

 

Thursday, July 26

Results – Pod D

RCP 5, Bristol 0

Pod E

Southington 7, Trumbull 2

Pod F

Cheshire 10, Waterbury 0

Pod G

Naugatuck 7-3, Guilford 1-2

Pod H

Middletown 5-4, Oakville 0-6, 2nd game 11 innings

 

Friday July 27

Results – Pod A

RCP 4, Bristol 0

 

Pod Winners:

Pod A: Tri-County

Pod B: West Hartford

Pod C: Ellington

Pod D: RCP

Pod E: Southington

Pod F: Cheshire

Pod G: Naugatuck

Pod H: Oakville

 

2018 Super Regional Schedule

 

Saturday, July 28

Super Regional

North at Muzzy Field, Bristol

Tri-County 1, West Hartford 0

RCP vs Ellington (suspended due to rain)

South at Ceppa Field, Meriden

Southington 3, Oakville 1

Cheshire 4, Naugatuck 0

Sunday July 29

Super Regional

North at Muzzy Field, Bristol

RCP 2, Ellington 1

Ellington 4, West Hartford 2

RCP 3, Tri-County 0

South at Ceppa Field, Meriden

Naugatuck 2, Oakville 0 (10)

Southington 4, Cheshire 0

Championship Weekend

August 3 through August 5

*Best two-out-of-three

 

Comments? Email mletendre@BristolObserver.com.