NEW BRITAIN>> Joe Rivera may not have had his best stuff of the year, but there was no way he was going to come out of the game with the CCC West division in his sights.
The senior right-hander threw a complete game, helping Southington beat New Britain 7-2 and win its second straight division title on Saturday at Beehive Stadium.
“He really begged to stay out there,” Southington coach Charles Lembo said. “He gave us a shot at clinching the division outright. He wanted to be out there for that, so we let him stay an extra 10 pitches.”
Southington clinched the West Division with an 11-2 record with two games remaining on the schedule. If Northwest Catholic wins its final two games of the season, they will finish with 10 division wins.
“It’s one of our goals,” said Lembo on winning the division title. “This is step number two. It’s good to accomplish your goals.”
The four hits that Rivera allowed in the game came in two innings, the two where New Britain scored.
He recorded seven strikeouts with three of them against the top spot in the Golden Hurricanes order. Antonio Labas twice and pinch-hitter Marc Santiago to end the game.
Rivera did it with the bat as well.
He blasted a two-run double to right center with two out in the fourth to chase the Golden Hurricanes starter, Kevin Fazio from the game.
The Blue Knights got to Fazio early and often.
Liam Scafariello shot a double to left scoring Rivera in the first and then came around to score on a Ryan DeAngelo single to right.
Defense hurt the Golden Hurricanes in the second.
Brett Shaw scored from second on a passed ball when Fazio failed to cover the plate. Joshua Makles also advanced two bases and scored on a single from Joseph Daigle.
“We shot ourselves in the foot early,” New Britain coach Roberto Mercado said. “We had a chance to get out of innings and we kind of hurt ourselves defensively.”
Scafariello scored on a fielder’s choice in the third.
After the double by Rivera, Mercado brought in sophomore Jakari Pellegrini for his second varsity appearance and he kept Southington off the base paths.
Scafariello was issued an intentional free pass, but then Pellegrini retired the next 10 Blue Knights in a row to end the game.
“He came out there, threw strikes and let the defense do the work,” Mercado said. “Those are positive things to see out of a sophomore.”
New Britain scored once in the second when Toby Taradeina drove in Kevin Dukes with a sacrifice fly to right.
The second run came in the sixth on an RBI single off the bat of Daniel Annear to score Elvin Silva who walked to lead off the inning. One of two walks issued by Rivera.
Southington finishes out the regular season with New Britain again on Tuesday in Southington and then they host East Catholic on Wednesday. Both games are at 7 p.m.
New Britain will host its final home game on Wednesday, under the lights vs. Newington, before closing out the season at Simsbury on Thursday.
Southington: 221 200 0 — 7 6 1
New Britain: 010 001 0 — 2 4 1
WP: Joe Rivera; LP: Kevin Fazio
2B: S-Scafariello, Rivera.
RBI: S-Daigle, Rivera (2), Scafariello, DeAngelo; NB-Annear, Taradeina
Records: Southington 15-3 (11-2 CCC West); New Britain 9-8 (4-7 CCC West)