Orange coach Bob Mirto likes to take his team away for the holiday weekend, feeling it brings the team together. After Sunday’s action against East Haven, Mirto may be thinking of taking his team away more often.
Scoring 40 runs, Orange Post 127 defeated East Haven Post 89 handily to sweep a doubleheader by scores of 18-6, in a game stopped after six innings due to the mercy rule, and 22-14 at East Haven High Sunday afternoon.
“It was bizarre,” Mirto said after his team improved to 14-4. “It was pretty ugly though. We scored a lot of runs. It was a windy day. We played hard.”
With the wins, Post 127 pulled four games ahead of East Haven in the loss column in the battle for third place. Just as important was the fact Orange pulled even in the loss column with Stratford in the battle for second place as Stratford split a doubleheader with Branford.
“It was a good day for us,” Mirto said. “It was a really good day for us. We were able to pick up two important games.”
In the first game of the day, Orange trailed Post 89 early, then stormed back with six runs in the fourth and nine more in the sixth.
The fourth inning was the key as East Haven scored four times in the third off Orange starter Doug Rives to take a 4-3 lead.
The six-run explosion began when Josh Sabitsky singled with one out, Brian Ronai followed with a walk and both advanced on Sebastian DiMauro’s grounder to short. Jake Russo reached on a two-out error to score Sabitsky and Brian Ronai, and the inning remained alive.
“I don’t know where our defense went today,” East Haven coach Joe Pelliccia said after his team fell to 12-8. “We did not make enough plays.”
With the inning extended, Devin Belenski reached on another error and Chris Winkel walked to load the bases. Matt Ronai was hit by a pitch from Antonio Cancel to force in a run and Mike Appel delivered a pair of runs with a single to center. A third error by East Haven in the inning scored Matt Ronai for a 9-4 lead.
“It was very important that we came right back,” Mirto said. “We came back with a bunch of runs, then put it away in the sixth.”
East Haven rebounded with a pair of runs off Rives in the bottom of the inning to get within 9-6 as Pete Grippo and Nick Poulin walked, and Chris Affinito scored Grippo with a sacrifice fly. Mike Levine’s single to center scored Poulin to cut the deficit to two.
“We kept hitting the ball and hitting the ball,” Pelliccia said. “I always tell them when you hit the ball, good things will happen.
“Neither team played well. I think we put baseball back a bit. We have to keep battling.”
Post 127 put the game away with nine runs in the sixth inning for an 18-6 advantage. Sending 12 batters to the plate in the inning, the rally started when Belenski scored on a wild pitch and ended with Winkel’s two-run homer to left.
In between, were walks to Sabitsky and Brian Ronai to force in two runs, an East Haven error scoring two runs and a sacrifice fly by Belenski to score another run.
“That was a big inning for us,” Mirto said. “Chris Winkel hit three bombs for us today. There is a bussle in the crowd when he comes to the plate. He is getting better and better.”
Orange took a 2-0 lead in the first inning when Matt Ronai singled to score DiMauro and Appel’s sacrifice fly to left scored Belenski. Post 127 increased the margin to three runs with a run in the third as Winkel delivered Belenski with a single.
Rives, who was very effective in Rhode Island, could not hold the lead as he gave up four runs in the bottom of the third.
Rives walked Bryon Kucharski to force in Matt Wynne with the first run, Joe Criscuolo reached on an error to score Affinito and John Kikosicki, before Kucharski scored the final run of the inning.
“I like the direction of the team offensively,” Pelliccia said. “I am not happy with the defense. We need to tighten up. We are giving too many outs, especially against good teams and you can not do that.”
Winkel led the Orange offense with three hits, three runs batted in and three runs scored, while Appel had two hits, a run scored and four runs batted in. Belenski scored four times and Russo, Matt Ronai, Brian Ronai and Sabitsky each scored two times.
Rives threw 105 pitches in tossing a 5-hitter for Orange. He struck out five, walked four and allowed three earned runs.
Cancel allowed 9 runs for East Haven, only three of which were earned in five innings of work.