By PHIL BRODSKY
Orange Live Sports Writer
Throughout the summer, Orange Post 127 has had an outstanding offensive attack that has been led by its 3 B’s (Nick Baviello, Mark Boland, and Ted Ballou. Those 3 B’s have swarmed at and stung Zone 2 pitching. Including last night’s 6-1 Brinley Field victory over East Haven Post 89, Orange has won 9 games in a row and has a first place record of 15-3.
Ballou’s 2-run inside-the-park home run ups his team-best batting average to .438. With his 3 hits, Baviello is clubbing the ball at a .428 clip. Boland added 2 hits that upped his batting average to .390.
According to winning Coach Bob Mirto, “Before the season, we asked Ted to be a leader. He has stepped up and done just that. Nick has been unconscious at bat. He has become one of the better hitters that has played for us. He hits everything hard and the ball seems to jump off the bat. Mark has really worked hard to improve himself offensively and has been steady with the bat all summer long.”
Not to be overlooked was another stellar mound effort by Mike Concato, who went the distance and upped his record to 3-0. He allowed the 89ers only 1 run on 6 hits while whiffing a dozen batters and handing out only 2 free passes.
“Mike’s the real deal—a really good pitcher. His first pitch to the first batter he faced in the first inning (Nick Lamberti) had to be 90 miles a hour and he struck out on 3 pitches. Mike was throwing hard all night long,” Mirto said.
East Haven posted its 1 and only run in the top of the first inning. With 2 outs, Andrew Hinckley slashed a double into the right field corner and soon scored on Mike Anastasio’s RBI single.
The 13-6 visitors held that 1-0 lead until the bottom of the fourth inning. Ballou led off with a free pass and raced on to second base when Anastasio was off the mark on a pick off try to first base. Shortly thereafter, Boland cashed in Ballou with his game-tying single into right field. The second of Paul Gusmano’s three base hits put runners on the corners. Brian Speer added a run-scoring, go-ahead base hit that proved to be the winning run.
Mirto added, “Brian didn’t have a good game last night in Stratford but got that big hit for us tonight. I wasn’t worried when we trailed 1-0 until the bottom of the fourth. It was still early in the game and I knew it would be hard for any team to shut us out.”
Following Baviello’s 1-out fifth inning single, Ballou launched a towering drive over the head of Lamberti, the East Haven center fielder. As the ball was drilled into dead center field, Ballou was able to circle the bases for his 2-run inside-the-park home run that extended the Post 127 lead to 4-1. Later in the same inning, Orange added an unearned run that made it a 5-1 contest.
Mirto’s Black Shirts tacked on another run in the bottom of the sixth inning. Chris Katz legged out an infield single, stole both second and third base before scoring on Baviello’s run-scoring single up the middle.
“We had some fun tonight.” Mirto said.
The defensive play of the game came with 2 outs in the top of the fifth inning. After Zack Korwek slapped a single into center field, Andrew Hinckley blasted a drive off the left center fence. As Korwek circled the bases, Orange center fielder Grayson Amoroso grabbed the carom off the fence, fired the ball to shortstop Matt Ronai, who made a perfect relay throw home to Gusmano, who put the tag on the sliding Korwek.
Mirto added, “Grayson made a great play grabbing the ball quickly as it came off the fence, threw a seed to Matt Ronai and he made a great relay throw home to just get the runner. The little guy at short (Ronai) made quite a play.”
Savoring his third win of the summer, Concato denied he had trouble getting loose in the first inning.
He said, “I felt good right from the start. They just got a couple of hits in the first inning. I knew I had given up 1 run but had no idea until the game was over that I had 12 strike outs. I’d say it was a good outing.”
Summing up the importance of Baviello, the team’s most experienced player and its inspirational leader, Mirto said, “Before the season even began, Nick told the guys on the team that they had to dedicate themselves to winning the Zone 2 championship and then doing some serious damage in the state tournament.”
Orange returns to Brinley Field tonight for a 7 P.M. contest against Shelton Post 16. Speer is expected to be Mirto’s starting pitcher.