TORRINGTON >> Unionville’s American Legion baseball team had the hot hand in a 5-0 win over Torrington Wednesday night at Fuessenich Park.
In seventh and eighth place respectively out of nine teams in Zone I, neither team has a shot at the state tournament that begins in a week-and-a-half for the top five finishers in each zone.
Nevertheless, Unionville, 7-12, is on a three-game winning streak.
“We’ve finally got our full team back,” said Unionville coach Gerard Roy. “We’re playing for pride.”
The P38s, 7-14, came through a bruising weekend against second-place Simsbury, followed by a loss to zone-leading Avon.
By Wednesday, they looked flat.
“I’m disappointed,” said Coach R.J. Poniatoski. “We’re a good team.”
Unionville held the aces on Wednesday.
“Quality pitching and timely hitting,” smiled Coach Roy.
Jorge Rojas (7 innings, 0 runs, 5 strikeouts, 4 walks) held the P38s to just three hits.
Unionville bats started booming in the first inning. Ben Rossetti and Collin Brantner (2-for-3) singled. Tyler Johnson (2-for-4, 2 doubles, run) doubled them home.
Even a pair of Unionville fly-outs required nice work by Torrington right fielder Connor Rollins and left fielder Shane Bierfeldt.
Still, Torrington is a hitting team.
Down 2-0 in the bottom of the inning, Bierfeldt walked; John McCarthy doubled to deep left center field.
An early omen for the game had Bierfeldt, a fast runner coming from first, thrown out at third by center fielder Rossetti.
It was the shape of the game to come: good efforts by both sides, rewards for just one.
Evan Shortsleeve (5 innings, 4 earned runs, 8 hits, 1 strikeout, 6 walks), Torrington’s regular shortstop, started on the mound, so McCarthy slid to short with Jason Vinisko on second.
Vinisko came through with a nice play in the top of the second inning. Mitch Zagrodnik (2-for-2) led off with a double in the bottom.
Rojas and his defense were up to the challenge: a diving catch in left field by Tyler Johnson followed by a groundout and a strikeout, Zagrodnik left on second.
Timely hitting and the joy/flatness of the two teams accounted for two more Unionville runs in the third. Dan Paul and Johnson (2-for-4, 2 doubles) paired for one run with a single and double.
A walk and a fielder’s choice by Tom Siuta put Johnson on third, Siuta on first, the stage set for fun.
With two outs, Siuta trotted off first, drawing a Torrington rundown and a dash for home by Johnson from third.
A throw to the plate went wide. Both runners were safe.
From there, 4-0, Unionville, Rojas and his defense walked on air – the same air that was now missing from Torrington.
Rojas allowed just one more hit in the game – a leadoff single by Zagrodnik in the bottom of the seventh. A double play and a strikeout removed the final P38 threat.
Unionville had another chance for the base-running lure play in the top of the fifth.
Justin Rappaport hit a one-out single, then moved to third on a single by Siuta.
Fresh from his third-inning performance, Siuta waltzed off first for an encore, drawing the throw.
Rappaport broke for home. This time, the P38s got the out at the plate.
Zagrodnik (2 innings, 0 runs, 0 hits, 1 strikeout, 2 walks) was another bright spot for Torrington, with two innings of no-hit relief in the sixth and seventh.
Rojas, a Farmington High School graduate, will try to walk on as a pitcher at Division III NYU this fall.
The P38s have three more games in their summer season, including tonight’s home game against Wolcott.
Unionville 5, Torrington 0
At Fuessenich Park, Torrington
Unionville 202 010 0 – 5 8 0
Torrington 000 000 0 – 0 3 2
WP: Jorge Rojas. LP: Evan Shortsleeve. 3B: U – Collin Brantner. 2B: U – Tyler Johnson 2.
Records: Unionville 7-12; Torrington 7-14.