MIDDLETOWN — Post 75 had one seven-run rally to offer Monday night, but a second? Not even the ’72 Yankees could have pulled that off.
After wiping away an ugly start (and eight-run deficit) to Monday’s Zone 3 game against Glastonbury, Middletown came up short, losing 14-8 at Palmer Field and failing in its first attempt to qualify for the upcoming American Legion state tournament.
“I told the guys to flush this,” Post 75 coach Jay Famiglietti said. “Every so often a beating like this is going to happen to you, but we’re 4-1 in our last five zone games and now we have to get back at it.”
The teams meet again Tuesday night at Glastonbury’s Riverfront Park for the finale of their season-ending three-game series (Middletown won the opener, 3-2 Sunday). The 75ers can clinch the fifth and final berth out of Zone 3 with a victory. Tyler Lemay gets the starting assignment for Middletown.
Without it, Middletown (11-10) would need Tri-County (10-10) to beat East Hartford-Manchester (10-11) on Tuesday night, which would eliminate EHM. Middletown holds a tiebreaker over Tri-County.
A Tri-County loss would then bring a number of factors into play to determine who gets the zone’s final berth. The top two teams by record in each division, plus the team with the next-best record qualify for the tournament.
Glastonbury (14-7), which is in line to clinch the top seed out of the North with a win Tuesday, broke an 8-all tie with two runs in the fourth — the first on a wild pitch, the second on a passed ball — and Anthony Pellegato’s run-scoring double as part of a four-run seventh gave Post 56 enough insurance to finish off the 75ers.
Post 56 had 17 hits. Winning pitcher Alec Hughes and Hunter Loomis had three hits each and Anthony Pellegato and Cristian Gomez had two apiece.
“The 17 hits were a great thing,” Glastonbury coach Mike Habzka said. “I loved seeing that.”
Riding a three-game winning streak into the game, Middletown continued to control its own destiny Monday in terms of the postseason, but Glastonbury attacked 75ers starter Griffin Biro from the get-go with four consecutive base hits.
Loomis’ single with the bases loaded scored the first run, and Biro balked in the second run when he dropped the ball while on the rubber. Cam Morosky gave Glastonbury a 3-0 lead with an RBI single and a sacrifice fly from Jake Hendricks added to the lead.
“Griffin wasn’t throwing hard tonight. It felt like BP from him,” Famiglietti said.
AJ Kleczkowski relieved Biro and got the final out of the first inning, but Glastonbury erupted for four more runs in the second inning, the big hit a bases-clearing double by Gomez to deep center, for an 8-0 lead.
“We’re down eight and you’re already starting to think about the next game,” Famiglietti said.
Middletown got a run back in its half when Owen Clancy doubled in DJ Arnold. Then in the third, Post 75 batted around, scoring seven unearned runs. A fielding error by Glastonbury, a two-run throwing error to the plate, a hit batter by reliever Hughes and a run-scoring hit from Connor Cardi helped the 75ers piece it together.
Even so, Glastonbury responded with two in the fourth to take a 10-8 lead, and Middletown was unable to mount a serious attack after that.
“If they don’t get that second run in the inning on the passed ball, we’re only down 9-8 and we can play for one run,” Famiglietti said. “But instead we’re down two and we need a rally, and that’s a huge difference.”
Cardi, in only his second mound appearance of the summer, took the loss.
“The adversity we faced at 8-8 going into the fourth, the guys had their heads down a bit but we ended up answering the challenge,” Habzda said. “We’ve lost some tough in the last week (4-3 to Tri-County and Sunday’s one-run game to Post 75), it was great fun for them to come back from losing that big lead.”
Clancy drove in two runs for Middletown and Arnold scored twice.