GUILFORD >> Guilford Post 48 is still alive.
Needing to win every game possible to have a chance to qualify for the Connecticut American Legion state tournament, Guilford scored seven runs in the second inning en route to a 9-1 Zone III victory over Madison Post 79 at Guilford High School.
The win pushed Guilford’s record to 9-12 with three games to play for Post 48, which is 1½ games out of fourth place in the zone.
Only the top four teams in Zone 3 will qualify for the state tournament that begins July 16.
“Right now, we’re focusing on what we can control right now,” Guilford coach Mike Yates said. “Our goal is to get to .500 and that’s all we can do for ourselves and see what happens.”
Madison took the lead in the top of the second with the only run it would score off of Guilford lefthander Jack Strand. He hit Jonathan Girardi with a pitch to lead off the inning. After a passed ball and an error, Girardi scored on a wild pitch.
The lead didn’t last half an inning, however.
Guilford used five hits, three walks and an error to score seven times to take a 7-1 edge. Both Lucian Zingarella and Matt Donlan had two-run singles while Tyler Rogers singled in a run and Kevin Cargos walked to force in a run off Post 79 starter Aaron Rubin.
“It was nice to see the bats come alive,” Yates said. “We were fortunate in that inning with two strikes picking up hits in that inning.”
“He didn’t have all of his stuff and best control tonight,” Madison coach Jeff Buck said of Rubin. “He usually battles and gets good outs. It was that one bad inning where they kept tacking runs on.”
Guilford made it 9-1 in the third inning when Rogers singled in a run. Later in the inning Rogers scored when Rubin balked in a run.
Meanwhile, Strand, who just completed his freshman year at Guilford High, didn’t allow a runner past second base over the last five innings. He issued four walks and allowed two hits over that span.
“He threw incredible today,” Yates said.
Madison (8-7), which has nine games to play by the end of the day on Friday, was forced to keep Rubin on the mound for four innings before leftfielder Robert Bordiere came on to make his first pitching appearance of the summer. Bordiere allowed three hits in two innings, but didn’t surrender a run.
“I just told all of them that everyone is a pitcher from here on out,” Buck said. “It’s tough pitching-wise with nine games to go in a week.”
GUILFORD 9, MADISON 1
Madison 010 000 0 – 1 2 1
Guilford 072 000 X – 9 9 1
Batteries: M—Aaron Rubin, Robert Bordiere (5) and Matt Sampson. G — Jack Strand and Matt Donlan. 2B: G – Connor Peters. RBI: Matt Donlan (2), Lucian Zingarella (2), Tyler Rogers (2), Kevin Cargos.
Records: Guilford, 9-2; Madison, 8-7.