Baseball: Milford Post 196 sweeps chief rival
The Milford Junior American Legion 17U baseball team nailed down the Zone 2 regular season title with a 6-0 blanking of host Stratford in the first game of a doubleheader at Penders Field on Thursday.
Milford won the second game, 11-7 to improve to 17-7, and dropped Stratford to 13-10. Stratford suffered only its second and third losses at home this campaign.
Pitcher Conor Creane was solid from start to finish in game one, allowing four hits, striking out six, and walking just one in a complete game effort.
In game one, the scoreless tie was broken in the third inning when Nick Glorioso drove in a run on a fielder’s choice and Kevin Lanese singled home a run.
Creane got out of a second and third, two-out jam in the fourth inning and worked around a two-out walk with the help of a diving inning-ending play by second baseman Mark Germanese in the fifth.
Milford put four insurance runs on the scoreboard in the seventh.
Nathan Merchent led off the frame with a triple down the left field line, and Ryan Dunn laced a one-out hit to right for a 3-0 lead.
Dunn advanced to third base when the ball was misplayed in the outfield. After Jason Schuld walked, Mark Wooten belted a run-scoring single to center to make it a 4-0 game.
Dylan LaRoche followed with an RBI groundout, and Glorioso beat out an infield single to drive in the sixth run.
Wooten had two of his team’s eight hits as seven Milford players reached on base hits.
Creane pitches for Jonathan Law and was thrilled to show his effectiveness against Stratford’s Legion team coaching staff, which coaches together at Law.
“I know all the kids. It’s kind of double-edged sword,” Stratford coach Zach Thomas said of seeing Creane and his teammates do well against his lineup. Thomas and his Post 42 assistants, brother Justin, and Ed Shea, are all assistants at Law.
“It felt great. There is not a better feeling than that,” Creane said of his performance on the mound. “I just knew I had to get the job done.”
Creane threw his two-seam fastball, changeup, and slider, all effectively.
Milford coach Mike Merchant was pleased with how his pitcher performed in a big-game situation. Stratford came into the contest in contention for first place.
“That’s what every good team needs. That was a put-’em-away game for him,” coach Merchant said.
In game two of the doubleheader, Lanese doubled for one of his three hits, and drove in four runs. Nicholas Lombardo singled, doubled, and knocked in two. Glorioso had a hit and drove in a pair.
Milford took a 4-0 first-inning lead and overcame a 5-4 deficit with another four-spot in the sixth.
The Milford coach said he is very proud of his squad for winning the zone and believes the team has strong potential for success in the upcoming state playoffs given depth in the rotation and some hot hitting of late.