GLASTONBURY>> Despite being a little banged up, the defending champion Amity baseball team kept rolling through the Class LL state tournament on Thursday.
The 14th-seeded Spartans got solid contributions from throughout the roster as they beat third-seeded Glastonbury, 6-3 at Riverfront Park to advance to the quarterfinals on Friday where they will play SCC foe Shelton for the third time this season.
“I’m excited,” Amity coach Sal Coppola said. “Two good teams. It’s too bad we have to play this early, but we’ll be ready for them. They’re a scrappy team, tough kids.”
The Spartans jumped on Glastonbury starter Matt DelMastro with a run in the top of the first after a lead-off triple from Chris Winkel. Mike Appel drove him in with a single to left.
“[Appel] knocked in our first run and had a big hit over here,” Coppola said. “He’s our No. 1 pitcher and is hurt, so it’s killing us not to have him on the mound. But he’s more than making up for it at the plate.”
Appel added a double in both the fourth and fifth innings and scored Amity’s second run.
The Spartans scored two more in the top of the fourth. It was almost three, but Kevin Nusdeo, who pinch ran for Matt Ronai, was called out at third for not tagging up on a fly ball caught by the diving left fielder.
DelMastro came out after the Matt Ronai hit giving way to Chris Mastromarino.
In the fifth, the bottom of the Amity order got things going, beginning with single from Brian Ronai and Colin Beaulieu’s walk. Appel drove in the first runner and Pat Winkel the second with a sacrifice fly to right.
Elias Oliphant, who hit a triple in the sixth, also started for the Spartans going six innings and allowed three runs on five hits with one walk and three strikeouts. He was perfect through the first three innings.
But what he’s quietly been is what Coppola is most appreciative of.
“It got a little shaky, but he did things that some people who don’t follow baseball a lot can’t really see,” Coppola said. “He changed his speeds really really well. The pitches they were swinging and missing at were great change-ups. They came in and dropped and they swung right over them and he threw them on tough counts.”
Oliphant also had a pick-off in a key situation.
The Tomahawks had runners on first and second with one out in the fifth when the Amity right-hander twirled and caught Mike Mastromarino off first base.
“His pick-off move was quick today and had them screwed up for some reason,” Coppola said.
The Tomahawks got two in the inning. It could have been more as two more batters reached before Oliphant got Ian Halpin to fly out to center stranding two as the inning ended.
“The kid battled as did ours,” Glastonbury coach Frank Cipolla said. “They just got a few more hits than we did, that made the difference.”
Matt Tomei made a sliding stop at second base in the sixth to get David Kimball to squash any sort of rally Glastonbury thought it had coming.
Doug Rives came on in the seventh for the save and pitched a perfect inning.
For the second consecutive year, Amity eliminated Glastonbury from the Class LL tournament.
“This is hard to swallow,” Cipolla said. “It will be like this for a while. But eventually we’ll start looking to next year.”
Amity: 100 221 0 — 6 9 0
Glastonbury: 000 120 0 — 3 5 1
(at Riverfront Park)
WP: Elias Oliphant, LP: Matt DelMastro, SV: Doug Rives.
2B: (A) — Mike Appel (2).
3B: (A) — Chris Winkel, Elias Oliphant.
RBI: (A) — Mike Appel (2), Matt Ronai, Pat Winkel; (G) — Ian Halpin, Joe Mercier, Mike Mastromarino.
SAC: (A) — Pat Winkel; (G) — Andrew Takahashi, Philip Haddad.
Records: Amity 17-7; Glastonbury 17-5.