NEW HAVEN – Branford and New Haven figured neither of them could afford a loss Thursday night if they wanted to keep their hopes alive for a berth in the Connecticut American Legion state baseball tournament.
Well, neither team got hit with a loss.
New Haven came back twice late in the game to tie things and the two teams saw the game halted by darkness after 10 innings deadlocked at 5-5 in a Zone 2 contest at West Rock Park.
The game is considered suspended and will have to be made up by July 13 or both teams will be hit with a forfeit. The plan is for the game to be resumed at 2 p.m. Sunday afternoon in the top of the 11th inning at West Rock Park.
“It was a well-played competitive game,” Branford coach Ryan Santoro said. “We both pitched well and there were timely hits across the board. Hopefully when we finish it, we win.”
New Haven is 10-8 in the zone and sits in fifth place in the zone, seven percentage points behind East Haven for fourth place. Branford (8-8) is in seventh place in the zone and has another suspended game with Milford that needs to be completed. The fourth through seventh teams are within a game of each other. The top four teams in the zone qualify for the state tournament.
“I don’t think anyone in our pack (Hamden, East Haven, New Haven and Branford) can’t afford a loss,” Santoro said. “Every game is crucial from here on out.”
Branford led, 4-2, going to the bottom of the sixth and got two outs. New Haven, however, knocked Post 83 starter Eddie Zanor out of the game as Jose Colon singled in two runs with two outs to tie things at 4-4. Devon Lawson came in a stopped New Haven from going ahead.
Both teams scored a run in the ninth inning. Bryce Baker singled in a run to put Branford ahead, 5-4. But New Haven came right back in the bottom of the inning with Angel Mendez singling in Colon to tie it again at 5-5.
“This team fights and grinds,” New Haven assistant interim coach Frank Redente said. “The same team has been together for three years playing 19-and-under. They don’t always make the best decisions, but they always play hard.”
Both teams had chances in the 10th inning, but couldn’t score before the umpires stopped things due to darkness.
BRANFORD 5, NEW HAVEN 5
(Suspended Game at West Rock Park)
B – 211 000 001 0 – 5 12 1
NH – 020 002 001 0 – 5 10 1
Batteries – B: Eddie Zanor, Devon Lawson (6) and Mason Traca; NH: Angel Mendez, Omar Diaz (7) and Josh Colon. 2B – B: Devin Derenzo. NH: Joe Colon. 3B – B: Jordan Botte. RBI – B: Jordan Botte, Devin Derenzo, Gio Tirollo, Trevor Brown, Bryce Baker. NH: Jose Colon (2), Jensey Padilla, Luis Galarza, Angel Mendez.
Records: Branford 8-8; New Haven, 10-8.