By Evan Augeri
CROMWELL >> After striking out 16 in a shutout of Tri-County on Sunday, RCP pitcher Jake Regula demanded the ball against a formidable opponent, West Hartford, on only three days’ rest.
RCP coach Jay Hickey went ahead and gave him the start, and in return, Regula was close to unhittable in a 2-1 win against West Hartford Thursday evening.
Regula carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning until allowing a one-out double to Alex White. Regula walked the following batter, Pat McHale, and a two-out throwing error by RCP shortstop Christian Budzik on a hard-hit grounder allowed White to score West Hartford’s one run.
After allowing the run (unearned), Regula walked another West Hartford batter to load the bases, but struck out Danny Roth to end the scare and secure the victory, the unbeaten right-hander’s sixth of the season.
“(Jake’s) a gamer,” said Hickey. “He wanted to pitch this game. He came, he wanted to throw, so why not give it to your ace?”
Regula pitched his fourth complete game of the season, striking out six while walking four and allowing the lone hit. Through 35 innings pitched, Regula has yet to allow an earned run. He holds 58 strikeouts and a WHIP of 0.26.
Aside from Regula pitching his way out of the jam, right fielder Alex Ramirez also played an important role in preventing West Hartford from capitalizing in the seventh.
“If Alex doesn’t back (Budzik’s throwing error) up, the second run scores,” said Hickey. “That goes unnoticed, but that’s a great hustle play for him.”
RCP’s batters totaled seven hits but were only able to produce two runs. Left fielder Dave Sevigny, the No. 9 hitter, was RCP’s biggest offensive producer. Sevigny tripled in the second inning and scored on a Kevin Radziewicz sacrifice fly. In the fourth, Sevigny had an RBI single to plate Cory Baldwin.
West Hartford coach Elliot Lane was not disappointed with his team’s performance and comeback attempt.
“Baseball is about the battle,” said Lane. “RCP isn’t just the leader in Zone 7, but one of the best teams in the state. Jake Regula pitched great, and I’m very proud of the guys for battling back. Battling against a team like RCP is going to get us ready for the state tournament.”
After losing 4-2 in the series opener Wednesday evening, the win was much more significant for RCP (16-1), who now have a two and a half game lead on West Hartford (13-3) in the Zone 7 standings.
“We had to win this, it was a big game,” said Hickey. “Getting the second game gives us the chance to take the series tomorrow. Tomorrow’s series tiebreaker is even bigger.”
RCP and West Hartford play the series finale at 5:30 p.m. Friday evening at Cromwell High School.