By Jimmy Zanor
@ShoreLineSports on Twitter
MANCHESTER >> After handing Manchester a 2-1 lead on an infield error in the fourth inning, Middletown baseball coach Jason Serra gathered his players outside the dugout for an impromptu meeting.
“That (error) was one of those plays where we can and should get an out on,” Serra said. “So I told the guys, ‘Let’s not beat ourselves.’ When we don’t beat ourselves, we win. And I think the guys got the message.”
The Blue Dragons responded by scoring six runs in the top of the fifth en route to a 7-3 Central Connecticut Conference interdivision win over the Indians on Thursday afternoon at Northwest Park.
Middletown senior Luke Sorenson (2-0) went the distance to earn the pitching win. The crafty left-hander allowed just three hits and one earned run. He walked six but caught two base runners off first base with a terrific pick-off move.
“Luke did a great job,” added Serra. “That’s the Luke Sorenson I know. He buckled down when guys got on. Our pitching and defense has been tremendous. We just have to hit a little bit with guys on which we did today and we got a nice win.”
Sorenson was also in the middle of the Blue Dragons big rally in the fifth.
After Colin Horn (2-for-4, two RBIs) tied it at 2 with a single to left and Sebastian Amenta reached on a bunt single to load the bases against Indians starter Bryton Ferris, Sorenson came up and drilled a shot to the 325-foot sign in right field. The ball took one bounce and landed at the base of the fence as Sorenson raced to second with a double and Middletown had a 4-2 lead.
“I loaded, swung and it was just great contact,” Sorenson explained. “It almost went out. Something like that gets the team going, gets them excited and then we keep hitting.”
The Blue Dragons tacked on three more runs after Sorenson’s double, taking advantage of a catcher’s interference call with Dan Gustafson at the plate (Gustafson reached on the same call in the fourth inning) and an infield error.
Malcolm Alleyne (2-for-5) kept the inning going with an infield hit that scored Sorenson and Jared Pflaumer drew a bases loaded walk against reliever Mike Mackewicz to make it 7-2.
“We weren’t ready to play today,” said Manchester coach Marc DiDominzio, now in his fifth season. “Our mental game just wasn’t there. Whenever you score a couple of runs to get the lead that next inning is always a huge inning and we made a couple of mental miscues and Middletown took advantage, which good teams do.”
Kevin Lynch added a sacrifice fly in the sixth for the Indians (1-3).
Ferris, a senior left-hander, allowed eight hits and five earned runs in 4.1 innings.
“Bryton threw a gem for us last Saturday (a 3-2 loss against Naugatuck),” said DiDominzio. “When his pace is working well and he’s working quick he’s tough because then he is locating and he’s in a rhythm. He kind of got out of that today, especially in that fifth inning.”
Middletown improved to 3-1. The Blue Dragons host Plainville in a CCC South contest on Monday, April 21 at 3:45 p.m.
“We’ve got a goal to be conference champions this season and we’re just trying to do whatever we can to meet that goal,” said Sorenson. “Our chemistry is so much better this year. Everyone is willing to do stuff for each other and not just for themselves to be selfish.”