PLAINVILLE – History was made by the Bristol Eastern baseball team on Friday, May 17 as the Lancers – attempting to qualify for state tournament play for the 21st year in a row – defeated Plainville 7-1 in a Central Connecticut Conference, South Patriot Division showdown from Plainville High School.
The victory kept the Lancers postseason dreams alive and – the icing on the cake – the triumph was Mike Giovinazzo’s 600th all-time win as the coach of the Bristol Eastern baseball program.
The Lancers moved to 7-12 on the year, forcing Eastern to defeat Bristol Central this past Monday in order to qualify for the postseason.
Plainville fell to 11-6 overall off the losing effort as the Blue Devils fell for the first time in May –seeing its six-game winning streak snapped by the Lancers.
Eastern’s defense was flawless that evening as Carson Sassu at shortstop was near brilliant while pitcher Dylan Woodsome had a sensational, complete game effort.
He threw a seven hitter and kept in front of batters all night long – picking up his first scholastic victory.
“It was unbelievable,” said Giovinazzo of Woodsome’s performance. “Woody’s as tough as nails and we had every bit of confidence in him when we handed him the ball tonight. He surely showed everyone what he’s made of.”
The top of the order also did well for the Lancers as Sassu scooped up two singles, scored two runs, and nabbed two RBI while crafty Andrew Lozier smashed out two hits, also scoring two runs, while collecting an RBI.
Noah Hickey smashed out a bunt hit and a double, James Dauphinee dumped in a two-base hit, while Nathan Ouellette and Jack Kozikowski each had singles as the nine-hit attack helped the Lancers to its second victory in three games.
“We haven’t done that in a long time,” said Giovinazzo of the loud offensive effort. “That felt good, believe me when I tell you. It was nice to see the ball jumping off our bats for once.”
For Plainville, Brady Callahan made it safely to base three times (2-for-2) while Mason Sarra had two hits in the game as well.
Tyler Mandeville pitched into the second inning but just didn’t have any luck that evening, absorbing the loss on the hill for the Blue Devils.
Eastern didn’t waste any time in the first frame as Sassu dropped in a bloop single to centerfield and Lozier followed up with a slicing double to center – putting two men in scoring position.
“Well, they came out swinging the bats,” said Plainville coach Lou Mandeville of Eastern. “They hit a couple balls, the blooper falls in, and the kid [Lozier] did a nice job inside/out and the ball drops in and he goes [to second base]. We walk the next guy and they were getting good swings on us.”
“They came out rocking in the first two innings and we didn’t exactly hit our spots.”
And when Anthony Marrotti drew a base-on-balls, the deck was set for Nathan Ouellette.
But no hit came as he also walked – plating Sassu – as Eastern led 1-0.
James Dauphinee followed by hitting into a 6-3 double-play as Lozier came home to score and while no RBI was awarded to the batter, Eastern picked up a 2-0 edge through just a half-inning of work.
Plainville’s Brady Callahan was plunked by a pitch by Woodsome to open the bottom half of the inning but three groundball outs – including a slick throw from Sassu – ended the inning with the Lancers up two.
And then Eastern put up a five-spot to open up a 7-0 edge in the game.
However, there was still more work to be done and a win over rival Bristol Central on Monday, May 20 would mean instant tournament qualification for the Lancers.
“Hey, you know, I mean, could you have a tougher situation than to have to play Bristol Central to get into the tournament?”
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Michael Letendre, email him at MLetendre@BristolObserver.com.