MIDDLETOWN >> Middletown High starter Mike Gaboury took a no-hitter and a three-run lead into the sixth inning, but it wasn’t enough as Berlin scored three in the sixth and three more in the eighth to win a 6-3 Central Connecticut Conference South Division game Wednesday evening at Palmer Field.
“I thought Gaboury did a great job,” said Middletown coach Josh Cofield. “He threw only 70 pitches, but the one bad inning has been the story of our season.”
Middletown (5-13) got two runs in the first inning on a bases-loaded single by Ryan Hurlburt (2-for-4). The Blue Dragons built the lead to 3-0 in the fifth on an RBI double by Ryan Conklin.
Meanwhile Gaboury was mowing them down. He retired the first 12 batters he faced, taking a perfect game to the fifth inning. He gave up a walk leading off the fifth, but a double play ensured that he would face the minimum 15 batters through the fifth.
But things unraveled in the sixth.
Mike Giove led the inning with a walk. Starting pitcher Ethan Skinner hit what looked like a double play ball to third, but second baseman Mike Aresco dropped the throw for an error.
With the door opened a crack, Berlin (10-8) kicked it down.
Nick Carroll was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Gianni Fanelli followed with a two-run double and the score was tied 3-3 when Dan Piruccio hit a run -producing grounder.
Both teams had chances to win in regulation. Middletown left two on in the sixth and couldn’t cash in a one-out double by Hurlburt in the seventh.
Berlin got a one-out triple from Adam Willametz in the seventh, but he stayed there as reliever Noah Valeriano got a strikeout and a fly ball.
Berlin broke through in the eighth. Valeriano hit the leadoff man and after two fly balls, Cody LaCasse hit a ground ball under Valeriano’s glove for an infield single and the go-ahead run.
Mike Patterson then slammed a long home run over the left-center field fence in front of the scoreboard and Berlin was home free at 6-3.
“Their kid had a no-no through five,” said Berlin coach Leo Veleas. “He had us off-balance all night. But our kids have to realize that every game is different and you can’t just throw your gloves on the field and expect to win.
“But we got a couple of clutch hits, Skinner kept us in the game and Valdesi [Dan, winning pitcher in relief] threw strikes. Heck, from Little League through the Major Leagues, if you pitch and play defense, you’ll win a lot of games.”
Cofield was philosophical.
“I thought we played very well,” he said. “We are so young, but the kids keep coming back for more, keep taking extra batting practice.”
Of Middletown’s 10 starters, five were sophomores and three were juniors.
Middletown will play at Rocky Hill Friday.