BERLIN — All they did was hit. The Berlin baseball team, that is.
The Redcoats crushed the ball from their first at-bat to the last, easily beating Maloney, 20-5 at Zipadelli Field in Sage Park on Friday afternoon.
Lead-off hitter Daren Grabowski smoked a double down the left field line on the second pitch he saw and Berlin was off.
“He’s our catalyst,” Berlin coach Leo Veleas said. “He’s the guy that sets the tone for us. He does a great job, that’s why he’s up there, to get as many at-bats as we can for him.”
When the smoke cleared after the first the Redcoats led 5-0.
Grabowski scored three times in the game, including a solo home run in the bottom of the fifth over the left field fence off of reliever, Cameron Fahey.
Berlin (9-1) can generate some offense. In 10 games (including Friday), it was averaging 10.7 runs and 10.6 hits per game.
But this game was unlike anything the Redcoats have done yet. They banged out 18 hits, the most in a game this year, against a Maloney (6-2) team who was 6-1 coming in and hadn’t lost since opening day to Tolland.
Maloney has been preventing runs until Friday.
The Spartans hadn’t given up more than five runs in a game and the most they allowed in a win was two to Bristol Eastern on Tuesday. Maloney has posted two shutouts this year, Newington, 1-0 and Bulkeley, 13-0.
That wasn’t the case Friday. The Redcoats batted around in the first and sixth innings, but the causation was different.
In the first inning five Berlin hits, including three doubles, led to five runs. In the sixth, six walks and four hits allowed seven Berlin runs to score. And in the third, Berlin didn’t record a single hit, yet still managed to scratch two runs across the plate, including a Grabowski sacrifice fly to left.
The only inning the Redcoats didn’t score in was the second, they went down in order.
At the end of the game, all Maloney coach Howard Hewiit could do was laugh it off.
“We had two plays to get the guys open for three-pointers and they didn’t knock one of them down,” Hewitt said. “Then all the receivers went wide, we threw a couple of bombs and they didn’t catch those either.”
He didn’t blame his pitchers. He praised the Berlin hitters.
“That’s as impressive as I’ve seen — not [just] Berlin — anybody,” Hewitt said. “I really can’t think of any team that’s hit the ball everywhere.”
Each Berlin starter scored at least one run. Alec Norton led the way with four. The shortstop was hit by a pitch in his first three at-bats, doubled in the fifth and walked in the sixth.
“I’ve never seen the ball carry like this, the balls were jumping, [for] both sides,” Veleas said.
Maloney connected on some deep balls, too. Kyle Pelcher just missed a home run down the left field line to lead off the sixth. Instead the ball went foul.
In the third, after Berlin starter Kyle Naples retired the first six batters in a row, the Spartans sprung for three runs on four hits including two doubles from Kyle Hartenstein and Mike Gulino and the lead was just two.
“Collectively we had more good at-bats today than really any game we’ve played,” Hewitt said. “Nobody looked overmatched. We didn’t hit the ball quite as well as they did, obviously, but we surely hit the ball.
Jacob Abrahante may have been the brightest spot for Maloney. The designated hitter scored twice while going 3 for 3 with a double and an RBI.
In the top of the fourth, Alex Lespier ran into an out at third base. Mitch Williams, the Berlin catcher, didn’t receive the pitch cleanly and Lespier took off for third. Williams got the throw there in time and Lespier was tagged out.
“At that point in the game it was kind of big,” ,” Hewitt said. “It takes the wind out of your sails a little bit.”
Berlin scored 15 more times and Maloney just two.
The Redcoats end a four-game home-stand on Monday when they host Middletown at Sage Park and the Spartans look to get back on track at home against Bristol Central.