By MICHAEL LETENDRE
NEW LONDON – When it comes to state tournament baseball, all a squad has to do is bounce into an opponent’s top pitcher and quickly, the promise of a long playoff run fades ever so quickly.
And for the American Legion baseball squad from Bristol, New London’s top chucker was just too tough to overcome in first round action.
Bristol played its final game of the season on the road and dropped a 7-0 decision to New London from Sal Amanti field on Sunday, July 20.
Post 2, the 15th rated team in the Northern Division, ended its campaign at 20-15-1 while New London – ranked 10th – improved to 22-9.
The game wasn’t easy as Bristol faced a very determined thrower in the form of Izzy Davila.
Davila pitched a three-hitter and simply kept his command until finally being relived late in the fray.
Davila struck out two with three walks over a very busy day of action.
Peter Aldrich zipped up three hits, including a three-run double in the second inning, and Davila doubled twice, drove in a run and also scored one.
Jeremy Santos blasted out two hits and scored a run while Gabriel Diaz tripled for New London.
Jerry LaPenta absorbed the loss on the mound but went seven plus innings for the Bristol club.
New London scooped up six runs on nine hits off LaPenta while he walked three and struck out two in the losing effort.
Troy Micale, Jake Martel, and Vinnie Nocera came up with the three lone hits for Bristol.
Credit belonged to Davila as his defense – although he made two errors – kept Bristol from putting runs on in scoring positions.
Diaz led the first inning off with a triple and quickly scored on a sac fly to make it a 1-0 game.
Then over the next frame, New London gave its pitcher some breathing room.
In that fateful second inning, four runs scored to make it a 5-0 push for the home team.
Base-on-balls, batters hit by a pitch and then a three-RBI double did the trick for New London as the lead grew to five.
But LaPenta settled down and to his credit, didn’t allow much of anything until the eighth inning.
In the eighth, LaPenta put the first two runners he faced onboard and Micale was called to the mound in relief.
But off a combination of walks and hits, New London scored twice more to make it a 7-0 tilt Bristol was never able to dent.
Jarrett Michael, Vin Nocera, Eli Minella, Andrew Martin, and Jake Martel all played in their final Bristol Legion baseball games during the loss.
New London played at No. 7 Niantic in a second-round game at East Lyme High School the following day.
In that game, Niantic defeated New London by a 6-3 final to advance to a best-of-three series with Tolland.
Niantic played Tolland tough but fell two games to one.
A total of four runs separated the two teams over a very competitive series.
By MICHAEL LETENDRE