MADISON >> East Haddam coach Dan Bradley believes his club has enough talent to make some noise in the Zone 3 pennant race this summer. And Post 156 may have got the party started Wednesday in Madison.
East Haddam righthander Mike Davis allowed just three hits and Zach Lawrence, Scott Svalestad, and Davis paced the offense with two hits apiece in leading Post 156 to a 6-2 victory over Madison.
“First and foremost, we want to make the playoffs,” said Bradley, who is in his first season with the 19U Senior team after coaching the juniors a year ago. “We have some really strong players here. Top to bottom we’re a very strong team with some college pitchers coming back. We have the talent to make a splash.”
Davis, who retired 14 consecutive batters over the middle innings, took a two-hitter into the seventh. Trailing 6-1, Madison tried to rally on a one-out single by Pat Nelson and a pair of walks. Bradley replaced Davis with Kyle Cutler and Cutler wiggled out of a bases loaded, one-out jam. Brian Anderson’s fielder’s choice ground out made it 6-2 before Cutler ended the game with a strikeout.
Davis walked just two and struck out one in a terrific performance.
“He was grooving up there,” Bradley said. “He kept the hitters off balance, which was nice. Madison has some kids that can swing it. He did a really good job.”
Madison grabbed a 1-0 first inning lead on an RBI ground out by Jack Kallinich. East Haddam quickly tied it in the second when Lawrence led off with a single, stole two bases and scored on Brian Johnson’s RBI fielder’s choice.
East Haddam, which snapped Madison’s four-game winning streak, took a 2-1 lead in the fourth on a throwing error by starting pitcher Ryan McAneany.
Madison tried to respond in the bottom of the second when Jon Girardi led off with a single. But with one out, East Haddam second baseman Zak Johnson made a sensational leaping catch in short right field to take a hit away from Cashen Keeler. Johnson then threw to first to complete a double play.
McAneany, a righthander, scattered five hits over six innings before East Haddam exploded for four runs in the seventh.
“Mac did a great job for us,” Madison coach Jeff Buck said. “He threw six solid innings and just got a little wild there at the end.”
Luke Johnson’s lead-off walk and Owen Wosleger’s base hit to right sparked East Haddam’s big seventh inning. Lawrence reached on an infield hit to load the bases and Kyle Enrique and Brian Johnson followed with RBI hits to make it 4-1. Brandon LaChance drew a bases loaded walk and Davis’ RBI infield hit stretched the lead to 6-1.
Madison fell to 5-4.
“It was a tough one,” Buck said. “We came out a little flat and they came out ready. We sat back a little and let the game speed up on us and you can’t do that in baseball.”
The four-game series continues today at Polson at 5:45 p.m.
“This is a big win,” Bradley said. “We’re on the outside looking in…in terms of the playoffs. This is a big series for us and taking the first game is huge. We’re looking to make a name for ourselves.”