BRISTOL >> RCP’s American Legion team is nothing if not relentless.
The Connecticut champs were no-hit through five innings and trailed by a run to New Hampshire champion Rochester in Thursday’s second round game in the Northeast Regional tournament at Muzzy Field. Then, in an eyeblink, RCP scored seven runs in the sixth, chasing starter Andrew Barnes (5-1) and, despite some shaky relief pitching, went on to win 10-6 and advance to Friday night’s matchup of the unbeatens.
RCP will play the winner of the Cumberland, R.I. vs. Bristol game in the third game tonight.
The big rally started innocently as Kevin Radziewicz was hit by a pitch and Cole Ogorzalek (3-for-6) followed with a pretty bunt single. But that set the table for what was to follow.
Cory Baldwin (3-for-5) lined a single to center that scored Radziewicz and when first baseman Loukas Brigham threw the cutoff throw past the catcher, the runners moved to second and third. They both scored when Kevin Larkin’s (2-for-5) infield hit was thrown past first by shortstop Mac Struthers.
It was the bad cutoff that had Rochester coach B.J. Gagnon shaking his head.
“If we don’t cut that off, we have the kid by 10 feet at the plate,” Gagnon said. “Then it’s still a 1-0 game. Then we throw a ball away for two more runs. They took advantage of our mistakes, which is what good teams do. But my kids kept playing. The kid in center field [Austin White] makes a great catch to end it, or it’s 10-7 with the top of our order coming up.”
The rally continued as Austin White walked, Dave Sevigny (2-for-5) singled and Lee Thomas knocked in a run with a single to center. Tucker Lord then threw down the hammer with a bases-clearing double to the left field corner.
RCP (30-4) picked up three more in the eighth on a ground out by Radziewicz and a two-run double by Baldwin.
“This game was like our game with Simsbury in the state tournament when we were being no-hit by Simsbury,” RCP coach T.J. Grande said. “But when you have the experience we have, the kids don’t get rattled. Their kid is one of the best pitchers in New Hampshire and we knew it.
“We got lucky on a couple of plays — the cutoff was one of them — but we’re going to be aggressive and force teams to make throws.”
Tommy Seaver (10-1), who scattered seven hits and gave up a run over the first five innings, got the win. In seven innings he gave up seven hits, struck out six and walked three. He was relieved by Danny Ambler who was ineffective.
Ambler went just a third of an inning and walked two and gave up two hits. In fairness to Ambler, a cinch doubleplay ball was booted by shortstop Baldwin. Grande brought in Ogorzalek, and after a double and a ground out produced two more runs — all charged to Ambler — Ogorzalek got a ground ball to end the inning.
Rochester (21-3) took a 1-0 fifth inning lead on a single by Justin Jewell (2-for-5). Anthony Diprizio, Christian Dow and Drew Healey each had two hits for Rochester.
Rochester starter Barnes didn’t survive the sixth. He was tagged for seven runs, all of them earned. He gave up six hits, walked two and hit a batter.
“Seaver’s been great all year,” said Grande of his ace. “With that year at college under his belt, he’s been unbelievable.”
At Muzzy Field, Bristol, CT