Law edges Hand in high-scoring SCC tilt

Law’s Mike Merchant is safe at the plate as Hand catcher Connor Powell tags him too late.

Law’s Mike Merchant is safe at the plate as Hand catcher Connor Powell tags him too late.

Law Athletics / Contributed photo

MADISON — It’s sure wasn’t pretty, but it was like a Southern Connecticut Conference baseball game out of the past.

“It was kind of an old school SCC baseball game,” Jonathan Law coach Greg Simler said after the Lawmen survived a late rally to take an 11-10 victory over Hand in a SCC Hammonasset Division battle on Thursday. “You score a couple runs and we score a couple runs. It was back and forth, but we’re feeling pretty good about getting on the bus with a W.”

But it came down to the bottom of the seventh and both teams having gone deep into their bullpens with Law holding the slim 11-10 edge. Hard throwing righthander Mike Cosmas came on for the Lawmen and set down the first two Hand hitters rather easily, but then was wild as he walked two batters to put the winning runs on base. After the second pitch to Axl Pildner was wild, Simler noticed Cosmas looking at him in the dugout and Simler went to the mound and pulled him out of the game.

“It just didn’t feel right, so I went out to check on him and brought in someone else,” Simler said.

That someone else was Brian Goglia, who hadn’t thrown a varsity pitch all season.

“We still had a few arms left, but he had warmed up already,” Simler said.

Goglia made it even more interesting when his first pitch hit Pildner, moving the tying run to second,

Goglia was able to settle down and was the beneficiary of a close call on a 3-1 count to Ben Kuja. The next pitch was high and outside but was too close to take and Kuja missed it to end the game.

“After I hit the first batter, I had to throw strikes and do my best to get them out,” Goglia said. “It came down to the wire.”

Hand (10-5) took a lead in the bottom of the first when Kuja singled and scored on an error. But it would be a short-lived edge for the Tigers as Cody Dineson singled in the run and another scored on the throw to the infield to give Law a 2-1 lead in the top of the second. Hand came right back by scoring on another Law error in the bottom of the inning.

Cosmas and Mike Merchant delivered RBI hits in the top of the third and Goglia added a sacrifice to put the Lawmen ahead 6-2. But that lead didn’t last long either as Kuja tripled in three runs and scored on a wild pitch in the bottom of the fourth to tie it again at 6-6.

Law went ahead for good in the top of the fifth when Cosmas doubled in a run and the Lawmen added four more runs in the sixth with Kian McEnerney, Jaden Wywoda, Cosmas and John Neider collecting run-scoring singles.

Hand, however, came back again with four runs in the bottom of the sixth as they knocked winning pitcher Declan Wywoda out of the game. Three errors and a pair of wild pitches allowed the Tigers to close it to 11-10.

“We’re starting to find a way,” Simler said. “We’ve got a little ways to go, but we’re putting it together.”

The middle of the order for Hand struggled the entire afternoon as the 2-3-4-5 hitters went 1-for-15 at the plate.

“Our guys threw strikes, were moving the ball around and changing speeds, Simler said. “They did some damage bottom of the lineup.”

The 6-7-8-9 hitters for Hand had six of the Tigers’ 10 hits on the day.

“This is how we do it every single game,” Hand coach Travis Lapointe said. “We don’t quit until the last strike — ever. It’s more disappointing because we had so much heart today. It wasn’t pretty by any means, but we did enough to win the game today.”

Update: Brian Goglia and Hunter Hoxie each drove in two runs for Law when it defeated East Haven 8-5. The Lawmen are 11-6 on the season. Goglia had three hits. Law used four extra-base hits to defeat Harding 15-4. John Neider and Mike Merchant had triples. Kian McEnerney and Cody Dineson added doubles to a 15-hit attack. Goglia and Cole Pleimann had doubles in a 4-3 win over Branford.