Law takes on driven Branford squad
Jonathan Law High baseball coach Greg Simler figured his teams SCC intra-divisional home game last Friday against Branford was going to be a tough one — both physically and emotionally.
The Hornets have been playing with a deep inner-drive since the year began and former assistant coach Ed Bethke took over for the school’s long-time coach, George Dummar, who is fighting a courageous battle against brain cancer.
Branford (5-7) scored six runs in the top of the ninth inning on Friday before holding off another rally by Law for a 10-6 win.
“We knew that they’d want to come in here and win one for George,” Simler said. “You couldn’t blame them. I’m very happy that my players tried to get right back in this game.
“A couple of weeks ago we wouldn’t have been able to carry that momentum into the seventh. We were playing at a different level back then.”
Law (6-6) was down 2-0 after two innings, but got those runs back in the third.
Nolan Rourke singled with one out, but was erased at second on Tim Maher’s fielder’s choice.
Maher stole second before scoring on Dillon Rocha’s triple to deep right-center field.
Jake Rouse then singled, scoring Rocha with the team’s second run.
Branford posted another run in the fourth, going up 3-2, but Law came right back in its part of the frame.
Jim Palmer doubled to left center and eventually came around to score on a Branford error.
Down again, Branford scored in the top of the fifth and back came Law.
Singles, by Rocha, Rouse and Kevin Johnson brought the run home. Both Rocha and Rouse contributed two hits and Johnson added three in the 11-hit Law attack.
After playing a scoreless sixth inning, Branford erupted in the seventh.
Rob Petrillo led off with a home run to right and Branford batted around to score six runs.
“Rob has been that way all season,” Bethke said. “He’s been battling. He’s been our leader. We expect him to come up in big spots and come through and he usually does.
“These kids have been playing with heavy hearts all year long. This win is a confidence booster for us.”
Law catcher Drew DeRubeis drove in both runs in the bottom of the seventh inning with a double after two were out.
Rich Dow started the game for Law and went five innings, giving up three earned runs on six hits and striking out four before Simler went with freshman Nick Catandella, David DeRubeis and Johnson.
“We’re in a good place mentally right now,” Simler said. “Hopefully we can stay there through our game on Monday with Amity.”
Then the Lawmen will be off until Friday when they play Guilford.
After that, they take on city rival Foran (whom they beat 5-0 earlier in the year) at Bridgeport’s Harbor Yard on Saturday at 4:30 in a Wounded Warriors’ doubleheader. The second game features St. Joseph against Trumbull.
Nolan Rourke knocked in the go-ahead run in the bottom of the fifth inning when Law defeated Hamden High, 6-5, on April 22.
Rich Dow knocked in three runs, as the Lawmen survived a six-run rally by Hamden in the top of the fifth inning.
Jake Rouse had three hits and an RBI.
Law knocked off ninth-ranked Fairfield Prep, 3-0, on April 24 in Fairfield.
Kurt Holden earned his third win of the season.
Cheech Giustino drove in two runs, Dow one and Rouse had a double as the trio divided six hits on the day.