MIDDLETOWN >> Middletown Legion coach Tim D’Aquila chose to emphasize the positives.
“We took three out of four, which is the goal,” he said following Middletown’s split with Meriden Sunday at Palmer Field. “We won two games Saturday against Meriden, then split today. If we win three out of four the rest of the way, we’ll win the zone.”
But that one loss was a killer.
After winning the opener 3-1 behind John Mormile’s five-hitter, the Post 75ers took a 7-0 lead into the sixth inning of game two and were on the verge of a sweep. But Meriden got off the deck and scored eight times in the sixth inning to win, 8-7.
Chris Cardi pitched into the sixth, carrying a two-hit shutout, He got a fly ball out to open the inning, then got hammered to the tune of seven straight hits and not one of them was cheap. So the obvious question was why wait so long to take him out?
“We need to stretch our pitchers out and we need to have them be able to get out of jams like that,” said D’Aquila.
When D’Aquila came to get Cardi, five runs were in and the tying runs were on base. Reliever Scott Marks, who threw five innings Saturday, got an out, but then gave up a double to pinch-hitter Kyle Hartenstein that cut the lead to 7-6.
Hector Gonzalez then hit a pop fly into short center field. Nick Roy made a diving attempt, but the ball ticked off his glove for a two-run single, handing Marks the loss. Malcolm Alleyne pitched a shutout seventh, but reliever Dmitri O’Donnell struck out Griffin Bremer and Nick Roy in the bottom of the inning with the tying run on base to even Meriden’s record at 6-6 in the zone.
Joe Kane got the win in relief of starter Tevin Robles.
Nick Deshais had three hits and two RBI and Jordan Swilling had two hits for the 75ers.
In thee opener, Mormile helped himself with a sacrifice fly and Will Woods singled home a run..
Saturday afternoon, Middletown swept its double header with Meriden at Legion Field in Meriden, 11-5 and 7-3. In the first game Middletown fell behind 5-0 in the first inning as Post 75ers starter Mike McShane was hammered. But D’Aquila stuck with him and like throwing a switch, everything changed in the second inning.
McShane allowed just three hits the rest of the way as his mates rallied for 11 runs to give him the win. “It was amazing,” said D’Aquila. “He got bombed in the first inning, then was dominant the rest of the way.”
In the second game, Marks got the win with Alleyne picking up a two-inning save.
Middletown is 12-3 overall and 8-3 in Zone 3. The 75ers are at East Haddam Tuesday at 6 p.m. and are homeWednesday for a 6 p.m. double header with East Haddam.