BRISTOL – The Bristol Eastern baseball team simply can’t catch a break and even when the squad had a chance to knock off Middletown on Monday, May 6, late game heroics by the Blue Dragons foiled the Lancers in the end.
Eastern lost a tough 4-3 decision in nine innings in a Central Connecticut Conference, Southern Division game from Muzzy Field in Bristol.
Lost in the fray was another excellent effort by Eastern starter Jagger Duquette – who was nearly untouchable after the first inning of play.
Duquette did not finish the contest and earned a tough no-decision off a very good effort.
The Blue Dragons (6-7) did most of their damage to open the game as the team scored three runs in the top of the first inning, combining three hits with one critical Eastern error, as the visitors nabbed a 3-0 push though just a half an inning of action.
To start the rally, Ryan Conklin singled to left but a potential double-play ball was booted, putting Middletown runners on first and second.
Ryan Michaud’s infield single to shortstop then loaded the bases as there weren’t any outs in the inning for Middletown.
Greyson Pizzonia followed up with a soft line drive single to left to score the first run.
Logan Wenzel then smacked a grounder to first; but the fielder’s choice at the plate came too late as a run scored to make it 2-0 in favor of the Blue Dragons.
A groundout then scored the third run – posting Middletown to an early 3-0 cushion.
Certainly, Duquette deserved a better fate but over the next six innings, the home team came back to tie the game and get its ace pitcher off the hook.
Overall, Duquette allowed eight hits, walked one, and struck out eight in 6.2 innings of work.
He was forced to leave the game with two outs in the seventh when the pitch count rule came into effect.
Down by three, Eastern stormed right back by netting two runs in the bottom of the first tilt.
Three walks loaded the bases and Anthony Marrotti delivered a two-out single to score both Andrew Lozier and Noah Hickey as the deficit was trimmed to one, 3-2.
Duquette then threw shutout ball into the seventh, never giving up more than one hit in an inning.
And in the bottom of the sixth, it became a 3-3 game.
With one out, James Dauphinee singled up the middle and pinch runner Alex Canzellarini was forced to second on an Ian Latko grounder to third.
From there, Matt D’Amato’s double to right center scored Canzellarini as the teams were tied going into the final inning of regulation.
Both teams eventually dipped into their respective bullpens as Conklin came in for Middletown and Ethan Ryan took the mound for Eastern.
The teams went 3-3 into the ninth as the Blue Dragons finally took the lead for good.
Michaud opened with a single to left, was sacrificed to second, and following a walk and strikeout, Lucas Radziewicz singled for the Blue Dragons.
The ball was misplayed in the outfield, allowing Michaud to score, and propelling the Blue Dragons to a 4-3 lead.
But Eastern nearly responded in the bottom of the ninth.
Base hits by D’Amato and Carson Sassu put two runners on base with one out.
However, Conklin induced a strikeout and groundout to end the showdown as the Blue Dragons won the affair by a single run, 4-3.
Marrotti and D’Amato each had two hits for Eastern.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Michael Letendre, email him at MLetendre@BristolObserver.com.