Junior Legion team wins in last at bat
Mike Becker singled home Colby Primavera with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning to give Milford Post 196’s Junior American Legion baseball team a 1-0 victory over Branford Post 83 at Ken Walker Field on Tuesday.
With the win, manager Mike Merchant’s 17U team improved to 10-6 in Zone 2.
Branford is 9-5-1.
Stratford (16-2) has won the Zone title, with Post 83 percentage points ahead of Milford for second place.
The two two teams draw byes for the state tournament that opens on Monday.
Post 196 hosts West Haven at Jonathan Law Wednesday at 5:45.
They visit New Haven at West Rock Field Thursday at 5:30.
North Haven travels to Ken Walker Field Friday for a 5:45 game.
Milford hosts North Haven Saturday at 9 a.m. at Foran High and visits Branford at Branford High Sunday at 10 a.m.
Primavera fouled off three two-strike pitches from Branford starter Aidan Ricciardelli, before the right-hander hit him with a pitch to lead off the seventh.
Colin Baxter came on in relief and Joe Mendillo sacrifice bunted up the first base line to move Primavera into scoring position.
Becker followed with his single into right field just out of the grasp of a diving C.J. Miller.
Milford’s Zach Merchant allowed only three hits through six innings, before coming out of the game with one out in the top of the seventh.
After Merchant hit Justin Botte with a pitch, Primavera came in and got a pair of fly outs to keep the game scoreless.
Branford’s best chance came in the sixth inning.
Baxter led off with a double and Augie Guglielmo came in to pinch run.
Merchant got a fly ball out, but Anthony Burzynski lined a single to left field.
Garrett Tutlis took the throw from Nick Lombardo in left and pegged the ball home.
Justin DeEll took the throw and smothered a sliding Guglielmo for the second out.
Merchant ended the frame with the fifth of his six strikeouts. He didn’t walk a batter.
Primavera had Milford’s first hit with a single to start the third inning.
Mendillo and Shane McCone later walked to load the bases but Ricciardelli got a fly ball to end the inning.
Burzynski walked to lead off the game, but DeEll threw him out attempting to steal.
Becker in right made a sliding catch in the second.
After Burzynski led off the fourth with a single for Branford’s first hit, Tutlis turned Dan Lear’s grounder to deep short into a 6-4-3 double play that was well turned by Primavera to James Carbone at first.
DeEll singled with one out in the sixth only to be erased by a 6-4-3 double play.