TORRINGTON >> Torrington’s P38s struck early for a 2-0 lead against Southington, then held on in a game with just seven total hits at Fuessenich Park Friday night.
Torrington’s Evan Shortsleeve (7 innings, 4 strikeouts, 1 walk, 1 hit batter) threw a two-hitter in front of a great defensive cast.
Jason Vinisko had the key hit in Torrington’s two-run second inning. Sam Shurberg (lead-off single) scored the first run on a Southington double play. Vinisko drove Matt McCarthy (single) home on the game’s only extra-base hit, a double to the left field corner.
The win was all the sweeter after the P38s took a 12-4 pounding at Wolcott Thursday.
“Last night was awful,” said Torrington coach R.J. Poniatoski. “It’s good to have the guys back again.”
Southington, with many of the same players who took the Blue Knights to the Class LL final this spring, was on the short end of a great game.
“Things haven’t gone our way,” said Coach Marc Verderame. “We’re having trouble hitting, but give Torrington credit. They made some great plays and their pitcher was very good. Our pitcher was good, too.”
Shawn Brunoli (6 innings, 2 earned runs, 5 hits, 3 strikeouts, 3 walks) allowed just two more hits after Torrington’s three-hit second inning.
Shortsleeve gave up his pair of hits in the first, then no more.
“I was just doing my usual thing – trying to change things around as the game went on,” said the Litchfield graduate heading for Norwich University (Northfield, Vermont) this fall.
“I threw a pitch I’ve never thrown before,” he grinned, demonstrating his grip on a ball that comes in like curve, but different.
It was a great game for trying new things.
John McCarthy, Torrington’s second baseman, slid over to shortstop while shortstop Shortsleeve was on the mound.
“I just had to get the job done,” McCarthy said. “I was on my toes because I haven’t played shortstop since Little League.”
McCarthy began proving he hasn’t missed a beat in the first inning.
After two quick outs, Southington’s Zac Susi and Kyle MacLean hit back-to-back singles.
McCarthy fielded a grounder in front of the bag, turned and hustled back for the final-out force.
In the fourth inning, McCarthy and Shortsleeve both looked like all-star fielders.
Shortsleeve raced off the mound for Susi’s lead-off bunt down the third-base line, then threw a strike to first just in time.
McCarthy followed with another close play, deep into the hole with another timely strike.
In a game of great plays, catcher John Swanson might have thrown the best strike of all in the sixth. Calling for a pitch-out in a hit-and-run situation for Southington, Swanson’s throw to McCarthy beat the runner by three steps.
Still, it wouldn’t have mattered as much without the second inning explosion.
Vinisko, moving to second base in McCarthy’s absence, was the hero after the first double-play run. He was a freshman at Torrington High School last year.
“They just took me in when I got here. It’s just like high school; I’m the youngest guy on the team,” he said.
The P38s now have two wins over traditional Zone I power Bristol and one each over zone leaders Simsbury and Southington.
Torrington P38s 2, Southington 0
At Fuessenich Park, Torrington
Southington 000 000 0 – 0 2 1
Torrington 020 000 0 – 2 5 1
WP: Evan Shortsleeve. LP: Shawn Brunoli. 2B: T – Jason Vinisko.
Records: Southington 5-3; Torrington 5-8.