Milford shows its best

Chris Stankiewicz’s RBI single in the seventh inning proved to be the difference, as Branford clipped Milford Post 196, 2-1, in a Zone II matchup at Ken Walker Field on Friday, July 11.

The rising senior at North Branford High singled to drive in William Coleman with one out in the seventh, knocking Post 196 starter Tyler Chacho out of the game and staking Branford, the Zone leaders, to a 2-0 edge.

Milford rallied in its last at-bat, sparked by a two-out walk drawn by Mac Taylor. Taylor stole second and scored when Bobby Auger doubled into the left-field corner off of Branford starter Dylan Millhouse.

Right-hander Michael Schettino then came on in relief to nail down the save, freezing pinch hitter Colin McKenna on a called third strike.

“We battled on until the end. That’s the only thing I ask any team I ever coach, just play hard,” Post 196 head coach Cliff Bugyi said “And they’ve been doing that.”

Millhouse, a Hamden Hall graduate who will play at Wesleyan, limited Milford to five hits — striking out four.

Chacho was the hard-luck loser, scattering six hits and walking two, before R.J. Jackson got the final two outs of the seventh inning.

“Our pitcher only threw seventy-three pitches,” Bugyi said. “It’s the best game he’s pitched since he’s been here.”

Drew Arciuolo had two hits for Milford. Post 196 rebounded by sweeping a weekend series from North Haven, improving to 11-15 overall.

Branford (21-1) took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning, when Brandon Wynne doubled, moved to third on Millhouse’s grounder to third that was booted and scored on Coleman’s sacrifice fly to center field.

Milford looked to answer in the bottom of the third, after Sean Clark hammered a double to into the left-field corner leading off the inning. Tyler Kasuba followed with a sacrifice bunt that was misplayed by Millhouse, allowing Kasuba to reach safely and Clark to advance to third.

Two batters later, Jimmy Palmer lifted a fly to center field that was caught by Kyle Hart. Hart then cut down Clark attempting to tag up from third base to complete the inning-ending double play.

“He came down the line, he wasn’t set up on the bag,” Bugyi said. “He had to go back to the bag and come forward... We aren’t hitting the ball much, so we have to take a chance.”

Millhouse allowed just one more base runner until the bottom of the seventh inning. Arciuolo singled to center field to start the fourth inning, but was caught stealing by Branford catcher William Massey.

Chacho surrendered just four singles to Branford from the second inning until the seventh, stranding a pair of runners in the third and rolling a double play grounder started by Cheech Giustino at third base and turned by Jackson at second in the sixth inning.

Milford received three forfeit victories over West Haven this week after its game against Shelton was rained out on Monday night.