NORTH HAVEN >> Mike DellaVecchia loves the way his team goes about its business and it has produced eight straight wins for the Stratford American Legion baseball team.
Behind the pitching of Rob Koripsky and the hitting of Jake Amoroso, Stratford rallied to defeat North Haven 9-3 Sunday morning at DeMayo Field in North Haven.
With the win, Stratford swept the weekend series and remained in the top tier of Zone II play while improving to 13-2. North Haven dropped its seventh straight and fell to 3-10.
“It is great,” DellaVecchia said of the team morale. “There is a positive feeling. The kids love coming to play. There is great chemistry. They all get along.”
With the game even at 2 through four innings, Stratford took the lead for good with four runs in the fifth inning.
Alec Ward started the rally with a one-out triple to right, Shawn Blake was intentionally walked, Joe Marsan was hit with a pitch to load the bases, and Sam Breiner followed with a long two-run double.
Amoroso’s third hit, a single to center, brought home Marsan for a 5-2 lead. With runners on the corners, Brandon Russo followed with a sacrfice fly to give Stratford a four-run lead.
“This was a microcosm of our season,” North Haven coach Charlie Flanagan said. “We can’t put teams away. We let them back in the game. We make a mistake and things start going wrong.”
North Haven answered with a run in the bottom of the inning to get within 6-3. Hunter Iacobelli reached on an error and scored on a two-out single by Mike Kurk.
North Haven never got closer as Stratford put the game away with three more runs in the seventh. Darek Wojenski drove in Breiner with a grounder to second and Ward’s two-out single scored Russo and Kevin Bortnick for a 9-3 lead.
“We hit a little flat period this week, but we have enough defense to get the wins,” DellaVecchia said. “I tell these guys the best team does not always win. They come to play.
“The pitching throws with tremendous confidence with the defense behind them. They are more aggressive and they go after hitters with a good defense behind them.”
Stratford took a 1-0 lead in the first inning, but may have paid a heavy price in the process. Breiner reached on an error to score Blake, who had singled, and Amoroso followed with a single to left.
Spencer Bassett was thrown out at the plate by North Haven’s Chandler Andrewsen and as he looked to avoid the tag at the plate by Iacobelli, he rolled over on his ankle. Bassett was taken for x-rays and his status was not known at the end of the game.
North Haven took its only lead in the bottom of the first, scoring twice off Koripsky. John Decusati hit a one-out double and scored one out later on a single by Chris Brockett. Trent Dillon’s double to left scored Brockett, but Koripsky got out of the jam by getting Steve Rife on a grounder to second.
“Rob throws strikes,” DellaVecchia said of Koripsky. “He does not throw hard, but he throws strikes.”
Stratford evened the game in the fourth off Brockett, who relieved Kurk on the hill. With one out, Amoroso singled to right, moved to third on a double by Wojenski and scored on a wild pitch.
“We are too inconsistent,” Flanagan said. “We give too many outs, we start walking people and away we go. We should have made some better decisions in the first couple of innings.
“We did not take advantage of our opportunities. We are not good enough to chase teams like that.”
Koripsky scattered nine hits, while striking out two and walking one. Stratford finished with 11 hits, led by Amoroso’s three hits and RBI. Ward and Wojenski each had a pair of hits, with Ward driving in a pair and Wojenski delivering one run.
Brockett and Kurk each had a pair of hits for North Haven.