Senior Legion in close games
Facing a West Haven American Legion baseball team in the hunt for a state-playoff berth, Milford Post 196 fell in a doubleheader sweep to Post 71, 7-3 and 10-9.
Post 196 avoided the series sweep with a 3-2 win on Sunday.
Milford trailed 4-0 heading into the top of sixth inning of the first game on Saturday at Whitey Piurek Field, but scored three times — keyed by Kevin Connors’ RBI single and Sean Clark’s run-scoring fielder’s choice.
The Westies then responded with three runs in home half of the frame to provide enough insurance for the first-game victory.
“We had opportunities,” Milford coach Cliff Bugyi said. “You have to have timely hits and we weren’t getting them.”
Joe Zanghi had three hits for Post 196.
Left-hander Dillon Brown was charged with the loss on the hill, while West Haven’s Angel Gonzalez went the distance to pick up the victory, scattering eight hits and striking out three.
After Milford had pulled to within one run, Lorenzo Davis led off the West Haven sixth with a single to center field.
Frank Johnson then hit into a fielder’s choice that failed to produce an out, before Tyler Gambardella singled to load the bases.
Alexander Palmieri followed with a grounder to the mound, which Brown knocked down and threw to Zanghi at home for the force.
Tim Edson then made a sprawling stop going toward first on Matt Gagne’s grounder. He attempted to tag out Palmieri, who leapt around the glove, before Edson threw to first base for the out.
Johnson scored, pushing Post 71’s lead to 5-3.
Mike Savino drove in another run with an RBI single, before Palmieri scored on a wild pitch to provide the final scoreline of 7-3.
West Haven grabbed a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning, aided by a dropped popup.
The error came during Palmieri’s at-bat with one out, and the Post 71 backstop capitalized on his second chance by lining a single to left field.
Gagne then hammered an RBI triple to the right-center field alley and Savino singled to center to make it 2-0.
Dan Chambrelli singled as West Haven looked to add to its lead, before Alex Scranton hit into a fielder’s choice. Brown defused the threat by striking out Mark Laoue.
“He’s competitive,” Bugyi said of Brown. “He hung in there.”
Scanton’s RBI single in the bottom of the third made it 3-0 West Haven, before Scranton struck again in the fifth — driving in Savino with a double to left field.
Milford battled back in the sixth, but West Haven responded to claim the game-one win.
In the second game, Post 71 scored twice in the bottom of the seventh in the 10-9 triumph.