By BRIAN JENNINGS
The Blues continued the streak when they returned home on Thursday night in their second straight win against the Dirt Dawgs, 3-2.
Tyler Packanik only had two of the Blues’ six hits in the game, but his two hits made the difference in the game. Down 1-0 in the fifth with two men and one out, Packanik got the Blues going with their first score of the game by hitting in Jaime Timothy on a base hit. Later in the inning, Davis Strong scored Tyler Roberts on a sacrifice fly to center field to give the Blues a 2-1 lead. With the scored knotted up at 2-2 in the eighth, Packanik struck again. With two men on and two outs, Packanik gave the Blues the go-ahead winning run by scoring Rinsky on a base hit.
“I’ve been struggling recently at the plate and didn’t want to let the team down,” said Packanik. “I’m going to try and come up with a big hit here for the team. We’ve played these guys close every game and we wanted to take the series from them so far. That gave us a big win there.”
Packanik received some advice from his teammate, Griffin Garabedian, about the Dirt Dawgs pitcher.
“Griffin knows him and told me that he’s just going to try and beat you and overpower you, said Packanik. Me being a little guy with a 3-1 count, he’s not going to throw me any junk. He’s going to throw me a fastball inside. I knew it was coming and when he threw it, my eyes lit up and I just said to myself, ‘Perfect.’”
Blues’ manager Barry Lyons said there’s no doubt that he sees Packanik as a leader on the team.
“His demeanor, actions, and energy are very evident and have been since we got here,” said Lyons. “I like the way he goes about his business. He plays hard and scrappy.”
Southington’s Kyle Dube started the game on the mound for the Blues going five innings with three strikeouts, allowing four hits, an earned run, and a walk. Dube has been working on his changeup a lot and was the go-to pitch for him in the game.
“I got into a lot of deep counts, which hurt, but I didn’t pitch bad,” said Dube. “Getting into deep counts is tough. I missed on a couple close pitches, but there’s nothing you can do about it. It definitely was a battle. The bases got loaded in the fourth inning and Austin made a good play by throwing it to Ryan to get out of the inning with a double play. It’s definitely what I’ve been taught; limit damage, avoid the big innings, and you’ll be successful.”
Robert Paccione (1-0) picked up the win, going one and a third with a strikeout and allowing a hit and a walk.
Paccione has come a long way after being forced to take the spring season off, due to an arm injury. Coming into the game, Paccione had only allowed just one run through 12.2 innings with an ERA of 0.71.
“Robert has done a tremendous job,” said Lyons. “We weren’t sure what to expect from him, not having played this past spring. He’s come in and worked hard. Every time we give him the ball, he’s gotten the job done in very fine fashion. We have a lot of confidence in him and he’s proven himself that he loves to be in the game when the game’s on the line. He’s proved himself and we’re just going to keep riding him, giving him that opportunity to close out games for us. So far, he’s just been pretty much awesome.”
By BRIAN JENNINGS