Players sound off on victory
“It comes down to coaching,” Post 196 third baseman Eddie Michaud said of manager Cliff Bugyi and assistant coaches Denis Haley and Dave Quinn after Milford scored in the bottom of the ninth inning and won its first American Legion state championship with a 6-5 victory over RCP at Muzzy Field in Bristol on Friday night.
“They drilled it in to us all season — the scoreboard doesn’t matter, its a matter of innings. In states we pieced it together inning by inning.”
Nick Pinto led off the bottom of the ninth of the 5-5 game and worked out a walk when a 3-2 pitch from RCP’s Kevin Post was outside.
Sean Cameron missed a few sacrifice bunt attempts, but still hit the ball into the hole between first and second to advance Pinto into scoring position.
Kyle Winters walked on five pitches and that brought Michaud to the plate.
“I was just looking to put the ball in play,” he said. “It was the prettiest thing in the world, but we’re going to Maine.”
Michaud lined a ball to the feet of RCP third baseman Jeff Osak, and the ball skipped past him and down the left field line.
“All I was thinking about [from second base] was getting in,” Pinto said after he scored on the play to send Post 196 to the Northeast Regional beginning Thursday in Old Orchard Beach, Maine.
“I thought Eddie would do the job, and once he sent it down the third base line, all I was thinking was four [home plate].”
Pinto scored without a throw making it to the plate, and Post 196 players emptied from their third base dugout.
“We came in as the 13th seed, but were playing good baseball,” Milford first baseman Shawn Cariglio said. “We won the two play-in games and started thinking further down the road.
“Then we had that big 15-inning win over Branford, and all our hopes somehow became one.”