By Jim Bransfield
MIDDLETOWN >> Middletown High’s baseball team did a lot of things right Tuesday night at Palmer Field.
First, the Blue Dragons defeated Bulkeley 9-2 in a Central Connecticut Conference South Division game shortened to five and a third innings because of rain.
Second, pitcher Luke Sorenson no-hit the Bulldogs, but because the game was called in the sixth inning, he technically can’t get credit for the no-hitter.
Third, the team (11-8) clinched a winning record for the first time since the 2009 season.
“Sorenson did a great job,” said MHS coach Jason Serra of his left-hander. “It was a great way to end his regular season on Senior Night He’s getting into a groove, which is good to see with the tournament coming up.”
Middletown had only six hits, but parlayed that, plus five walks and six Bulkeley errors into the easy win. The Bulldogs’ two runs came in the fourth on two walks, two MHS throwing errors by catcher Colin Horn and left fielder Nick Brenchak, and a steal of home by losing pitcher Christian Taveras.
Middletown took a 1-0 lead in the second on an RBI single by Sorenson that scored Horn, who led the inning with a walk. The Dragons took a 4-0 lead in the third as the Bulkeley defense collapsed to the tune of three errors. MHS had only one hit in the frame, an RBI single by Horn.
After Bulkeley got its two gift runs in the fourth, MHS answered with two of its own on run-scoring singles by Sebby Amenta and Jared Pflaumer.
MHS turned the game into a rout with three in the fifth. One scored on a throwing error by Bulkeley relief pitcher Neify Cruz-Mercedez and the others on run-producing singles by Dan Gusfafson and Chris Rodo.
“We got key hits with runners on base,” said Serra. “And we got two-out hits, which was good to see.”
Three of the Dragons’ six hits came with two outs and all drove in runs.
“”I’m proud of my team,” said Serra. “We had some inconsistencies along the way, but we’re pulling together more as a team now. I feel excited going into the tournament. I think we can make a run.”
Sorenson went five a third innings before the third weather delay of the game convinced the umpires to call it a night. Sorenson had seven strikeouts and walked three. The runs were unearned.
Taveras went three and two-thirds, was touched for four hits, four walks and six runs, three of which were earned.
Middletown will finish the regular season Thursday at Maloney of Meriden. Not only would a 12-8 record look a lot better than 11-9, it would make a significant difference in the Class L tournament rankings and in the opening round pairings.
Bulkeley is 3-15.