WETHERSFIELD >> Bristol Central’s bats got going early on Friday at Esposito Field in Wethersfield and the strong offensive showing carried the Rams to an 11-6 victory over Wethersfield.
The Rams scored two in the top of the first off Eagles starter Sam Tenney and then another in the second to take a 3-0 lead. But Wethersfield battled back.
In the bottom of the second, Wethersfield put five runs on the board after sending 10 batters to the plate, chasing Rams starting pitching Noah Cruz from the game.
Freshman Alec DiLoreto took over in the third for Bristol Central and went the rest of the way striking out three — all in the last two innings — while walking two and hitting one. He allowed five hits, including three in the seventh, and one earned run to capture his first varsity win.
“We struggled early on the mound,” Bristol Central coach Bunty Ray said. “Our freshman pitcher that came in did a nice job just throwing strikes, settling us down and throwing to our defense which is our strength.””
The Rams answered the five-spot with three more in the top of the third and then four in the fourth to blow it open and take a 10-5 lead.
“We’ve been kind of stagnant on offense,” Ray said. “But the last couple games we’ve been getting better at-bats. The way the game was going today — up and down the lineup — I thought we were getting good at-bats. I knew we would score some runs, I was just worried about holding them down.”
Brock Clark had a 2-run single in the top of the fourth, his second of three hits on the day, to put the game out of reach for Wethersfield.
“I think the runs were important, because I never felt comfortable today,” Ray said. “It’s just the way the game was. If you look at the scoreboard it’s kind of not indicative of what happened. Every time we scored we needed those runs, because you never know, that’s an explosive lineup. You never know when they’re going to come around.”
The Rams tacked on a run in the sixth when DiLoreto reached on an error and came around to score on Dathan Hickey ground out.
“I just think they do a good job of fouling off pitches,” Wethersfield coach Mark Bagdasarian said. “Our pitchers had a difficult time — we get to two strikes — but they just do a good job of battling.”
“They didn’t hit it off the fence, they didn’t hit a lot of gap shots, but they battled and they hit the ball where we weren’t. A couple seeing-eye singles,” Bagdasarian said.
Five of Wethersfield’s six runs came in the second.
Eric Shields and Connor Peterson walked to start the inning before Cruz got the next two batters out. Xavier Quinones followed with a walk to load the bases and Daniel O’Brien knocked in the first run with a single. Brian Vieira followed with a 2-run single that tied the game at the time.
The Eagles cleanup hitter James Sullivan drew a walk and then Michael Santiago knocked in Vieira with a single.
Cruz finally got out of the inning when the 10th batter of the second lined one right back at him and he flipped his glove out just in time to nab the line drive.
DiLoreto got Wethersfield to go down in order in both the third and fourth innings and then got a crucial double-play in the fifth to escape what could have turned into something.
“We had a lead off [single] and then the next pitch it was a 5-4-3 double play and all of a sudden the wind goes out of your sails,” Bagdasarian said. “It’s hard, because with each out that margin of error starts to shrink, especially when you’re chasing a lot.”
Bristol Central 11, Wethersfield 6
Bristol Central: 213 401 0 — 11
Wethersfield: 050 000 1 — 6
(at Esposito Field, Wethersfield High School)
WP: Alec DiLoreto; LP: Sam Tenney.
Team records: Bristol Central 3-1; Wethersfield 2-1.