Due to a standardized schedule that has Milford Post 196’s American Legion Senior baseball team still playing the no-longer-operating New Haven, and a spate of rain, the first 11 days of the Zone II slate found coach Cliff Bugyi’s club playing North Haven Post 76 twice, and no one else.
“We had three dates with North Haven the first week, and two were rained out,” said Bugyi, who is assisted by Denis Haley and Dave Quinn.
“From June 13 to June 21 we don’t have a scheduled game, and then play twenty one times in twenty nine days.
“Our last three games are with East Haven [July 17-19], and heaven forbid there is a rainout.”
A saving grace from the scheduling snafu was the pitching dual offered up by Milford’s Matt Ferraiolo and North Haven’s Nick Nieves.
The 2011 campaign opened with Ferraiolo from Jonathan Law and Juliano Nieves matching pitches and North Haven scored a 1-0 victory.
This season, it was Ferraiolo, with seventh inning relief help from Taylor Biagioni, who won the 1-0 decision over Juliano.
Shawn Cariglio and Jake Saley drew second-inning walks and Cariglio later scored on a wild pitch. Ferraiolo struck out 10 batters, gave up three hits, and walked three in his six innings.
In game two for Milford, and game five for North Haven (two of out Zone contests), the right-hander Nick Nieves and Ferraiolo took the mound at Foran High on Friday.
What should have been a delight turned sour for the locals early, as a pair of first-inning errors handed North Haven a 2-0 lead.
Milford threatened in the homer first after Ed Michaud reached on an infield single, and in the second, when walks to Christian Baglini and Saley proved harmless, as Post 76 turned Biagioni’s liner to shortstop into a 6-6-4 double play.
Ferraiolo stranded a runner at third with consecutive strikeouts to end the second, and set North Haven down on 10 pitches in the third.
Nick Pinto opened the bottom of the third with an infield single, but trailing 2-0, and with Nieves showing off a strong pickoff move, running was out out of the question.
Nieves, who allow only three hits in five innings of work, set down the next three batters in order.
Ferraiolo’s first walk of the game, to Chandler Andersson, with one out in the fourth proved costly.
Pinch-hitter Ryan Harger dropped a two-out single into short right field to plate the run.
Baglini stroked a first-pitch single to center with one out in the fourth and Saley followed with a line drive to right field.
Hesitating to see if the ball would be caught, Baglini was out on a force play at second.
Saley advanced a base on a passed ball, before Nieves notched his second strikout of the game, and the inning, for the third out.
Sean Cameron, playing shortstop for Milford with Baglini behind the dish for Joe Zanghi, who was away, made his second fine play to get the first out in the top of the fifth.
It didn’t hold up, as a walk was followed by Mike Acompora’s two-run homer to left field.
It was only the fourth hit allowed by Ferraiolo, but it gave North Haven a 5-0 lead.
Milford’s Pat Boyle came off the bench and hit a one-hop double to the fence in left with one out in the sixth.
Again, Milford couldn’t get the hit it needed. Cody Hadden came on to pitch the seventh for Post 196, and the right hander struck out two battters in a perfect frame.
Milford is home to Branford today at 5:45 and visits Hamden in a second makeup game on Friday evening.
Post 196 is at Orange at 10 on Saturday morning and plays host to Post 127 at the same time on Sunday.