Somewhere in the shadows of Zone 2, behind the defending state champ Branford Post 83, the consistent Orange Post 127 and the resurgent Stratford Post 42, the East Haven 89ers have been a tough team to beat.
The 89ers shutout Stratford earlier in the year, edged Orange this month and almost beat Branford, too, losing 2-0 on July 12.
“We just didn’t get the timely hit that we needed,” said 89ers coach Joe Pelliccia.
The Branford loss was an aberration at the plate for the high-scoring 89ers, who have scored 156 runs in 28 games. East Haven’s total runs is good for third-best in Zone 2. When the 89ers are hitting, they can light up the scoreboard topping Milford Post 196 11-1 earlier this season and Hamden Post 88 14-4 and then 10-6 the next game in the beginning of the month.
Then there’s the 22-14 loss to Post 127 this month, or the 10-5 loss to Post 196 and the 10-5 defeat to Post 88 before the two 89ers’ victories that have been cause for concern for the 89ers coach. He said with the playoffs and nine-inning games on the horizon, the pitching needs to be strong.
“When you don’t play nine innings all year that can be tough,” the coach said.
He said Tommy Moore has stepped up and he’s got a pitching staff that can go seven deep. Joe Criscuolo, who also plays in the outfield, is one of the players who can step on the mound and throw.
The 89ers are 17-11 and starring the fourth seed in the face heading into the Zone 2 tournament, which begins Sunday. Pelliccia said Chris Affinito, Antonia Cancel, Mike Levine, Bryon Kucharski and Pete Grippo will all need to continue their hot seasons. Pelliccia said it has been a team effort thus far and he looks for that to continue in the postseason.