Orange Post 127 off to fast start in American Legion

ORANGE >> Bob Mirto and his Orange Post 127 baseball team are keeping things simple this summer. With his pitching staff getting ahead in the counts and getting the ball in play, Orange’s defense can do the rest.

The formula has worked to perfection thus far. Outscoring its opponents 38-12, Orange has opened the season with six wins in its first seven contest to rest atop of the Zone II standings.

The latest victory for Post 127 came June 21 as Post 127 topped West Haven Post 71 by a score of 10-0 in a game stopped in the sixth inning due to the mercy rule.

“We are good at throwing strikes,” Mirto said of his pitching staff. “The key is we have them put the ball in play and our infield defense has been very good. We pick the ball up and make plays. That’s what it is all about.”

Orange, a winner of its last five games, struck quickly and never looked back after Alec Smith ripped a long two-run homer to left, scoring Adam Hurwitz in the first for a 2-0 lead.

“It felt good,” Smith said of the homer. “It got us going. We were able to take the lead early. We just stay loose and hit the ball.”

Trailing by two runs, coach Fred Morgillo’s Post 71 team had a golden opportunity to get on the scoreboard and do some damage in the second off Orange starter Jared Smith. Sean Jefferson and Nick Demaio opened the frame with singles and Brett Gradoia walked to load the bases with no outs.

Jared Smith escaped without any damage as he got Sean Morrissey to pop out, before striking out Dennis Gamester and Mario Kiaunis to end the threat.

“We have left the bases loaded at least a dozen times already this year,” Morgillo said. “We are not getting the timely hit or a productive out.”

With West Haven squandering its opportunity to get on the board, Orange put the contest away with four runs in the third inning.

Quinton Pitter opened with a single, Teddy Hague walked with one out, and both scored on a double to left by Adam Hurwitz. After Alec Smith walked and Jared Smith saw his bid for an extra base hit robbed by a diving catch in center by West Haven’s Ty Reeves, Tyler Appel followed with a run-scoring single off West Haven’s Ryan Ahern for a 5-0 lead. Zach Cole then singled to score the final run of the inning for a 6-0 advantage.

Orange increased the margin to seven runs in the fourth when a wild pitch scored Andy Hague, before Alec Smith’s single to center in the sixth scored Hurwitz for the game-sealing run.

“We are off to a good start,” Mirto said. “I like the way we have been pitching. It’s still early in the season.”

West Haven had its opportunities throughout as one-out singles by Reeves and Lou Masselli in the third went for naught. Post 71 (1-4) stranded a pair in the fourth after Gradoia singled and Kiaunis followed with a two-out walk.

Masselli led the Westies with a pair of hits. Hurwitz led Orange with three hits and four runs batted in, while Pitter added a pair of hits.

Jared Smith and Teddy Hague combined on the shutout for Post 127, with Smith tossing the first four innings and Hague the final two.