BRISTOL — Ellington Senior Legion refused to go down. After losing the first game of the American Legion Northern Division Super Regional tournament, Ellington battled back to sweep its next four games to advance to the State Championship Series against Southington.
“We talk about baseball family.” Ellington coach Heath Kidd said. “We committed to each other and this team and we committed to being a family and I love the guys like my own sons and I am so proud of them.”
That mentality led Ellington to the the final game of the Super Regional Wednesday night and to a 5-2 win over RCP behind another dominant pitching performance.
Ellington starter Dakota Aldrich pitched a complete game, allowing no earned runs, three hits and striking out five.
Offensively, the team was helped by four consecutive RBI singles in the third inning by Lesco, Smith, Chase Kidd and Sam Corriveau to give their team a 4-1 lead that it would never look back from. Catcher Aaron Young was 3-for-3 with a double and a run scored as well.
Over the five games Ellington played, its pitching staff combined for a 0.40 ERA, allowing only two earned runs and eight total runs in that span. Offensively, the team outscored its opponents 19-8, scoring at least four runs in every game but the first.
Ellington was defeated by RCP 2-1 in the Super Regional on Sunday morning, forcing Ellington to the loser’s bracket.
Later that day, Kidd gave the ball to Brayden Barone to face off against West Hartford on the brink of elimination. Barone pitched a complete game without allowing an earned run as Ellington eliminated West Hartford with a 4-2 victory.
The win was an emotional one for the team as Barone pitched in what could have been the last game of his career.
“(Barone) is going to the U.S. Army in a few weeks to boot camp”, Kidd said. “So this game we were playing for him. I come from a long line of veterans and I couldn’t be prouder to coach a veteran organization like American Legion and we have a guy that is going to go off to boot camp. We agreed before the game that we were going to play this one for him and I’m glad we could get the win. He pitched a gem.”
The next team to cross Ellington was Tri-County, which was also 1-1 at the time after being defeated by RCP.
Kevin Smith took the mound for Ellington and fired a complete game as well, allowing only three hits and one earned run as his team eliminated Tri-County with a 4-1 victory.
The win put Ellington into the championship, where they faced off against undefeated RCP. The first game of the championship saw Ellington defeat RCP 5-1 after a huge bases loaded triple by Kevin Smith and a dominating pitching performance by Stefan Lesco to force the final elimination game.
Ellington seems to have gotten hot at the right time as it finished the regular season 16-5 in a three way tie for first place in Zone 8. In its last 10 regular season games, the team went 8-2 and has gone 7-1 in the postseason so far.
Ellington advances to the state championship series in Meriden on Friday against Southington in the opener of a best-of-three series starting at 6:30 p.m.
“We talk about baseball family.” Kidd said. “We committed to each other and this team and we committed to being a family and I love the guys like my own sons and I am so proud of them.”