MIDDLETOWN >> It’s always interesting how winning and losing coaches see the same game.
Bristol Central beat Middletown 7-0 in a Central Connecticut Conference South Division game on Monday afternoon at John DeNunzio Field. Central played very well behind its ace pitcher Jarrett Michaels (4-2, earned run average under one), making just one meaningless error and collecting 11 hits.
MHS had only three hits off Michaels, who was in command throughout. Michaels struck out 11 and walked no one in a dominating performance.
First, Bristol Central coach Bunty Ray.
“I thought we played pretty well,” Ray said. “We got great pitching, great defense and we hit. That about covers it. We haven’t played our best baseball for much of the season. We are a young, young team, but our seniors have stepped up lately and shown the younger kids how it’s done. They made some big plays today and we need that. We played with some swagger today.
“This is the time of year you want to play well.”
Blue Dragons coach Jason Serra saw none of that.
“We were terrible,” Serra said. “We were sleep-walking. We let fly balls drop in, we made errors, we made base running mistakes. We win four in a row, then we do this. It was embarrassing and I’m really disappointed.”
Same game. One coach said his kids were great, the other saw it a tad differently.
Serra was right in that two fly balls fell in. But one was blown over right fielder Nick Brenchak’s head by the typhoon that was blowing out towards right and the other Brenchak lost in the sun. Both were hits.
MHS made three errors, but none resulted in runs as all seven runs were earned. The two fly balls and a boot on double play ball all came in the second inning, but only one run scored in the inning and it was earned.
There was a base running blunder when Chris Rodo tried to score from second in the sixth. Shortstop Eli Minella made a terrific diving stop of a ball hit up the middle by Jared Pflaumer, but Serra, who coaches third base, didn’t stop Rodo and the kid was out from here to the Bronx.
Malcolm Alleyne started and pitched creditably through five, taking the loss. He gave up single runs in the crazy second inning on the two lost fly balls and a run-scoring grounder by Jordan Ramos. The ball was a potential double play ball and would have gotten Alleyne out of the inning, but for scoring purposes, a double play cannot be anticipated.
Alleyne gave up another run in the third on a walk to Michaels, a stolen base, and a base hit by Tom Nicolette (3-for-4).
The Rams built the lead to 3-0 in the fifth when, with two outs, Nicolette lined a hanging curve to center for a single that drove home Kyle Pileski, who had walked and stolen second.
Alleyne was yanked after five innings. Serra explained afterwards.
“We took him out for discipline,” said Serra, who chose to elaborate. “He wasn’t listening to the coaches and not doing what we told him to do.”
He was removed after loud yelling from the dugout that could clearly be heard on the sidelines. That included, among other things, “Take him out, take him out,” and a one-sided verbal altercation with a parent by assistant coach Joe Barone.
“That was my assistant coach,” said Serra, who confirmed that the ‘take him out’ referred to Alleyne. “But with all that was going on then, it might have been me, too. I don’t remember the order in which things happened. There are things I have to address, including the conduct of my assistant coach.”
Central (9-7) blew the game open off reliever Ben Gilliland in the sixth and seventh.
The Rams got a run in the sixth on a perfectly-executed suicide squeeze by Nick Sassu. The visitors got three in the seventh as Gilliland took one for the team on six consecutive hits, including an RBI double by Pileski, a run-producing single by Jacob Hall (2-for-4), and a run-scoring single by Jimmy Godbout (2-for-4). It would have been worse had MHS not nailed a runner at third on one of the hits.
In his five innings, Alleyne gave up five hits, walked three – two of which scored – and struck out three. Rodo had two of Middletown’s three this.
Middletown (9-7) is home with Platt of Meriden Wednesday at Palmer Field at 7 p.m.