Legion team in state semifinals tonight
The Trumbull American Legion Post 141 Junior baseball team defeated Norwalk, 3-2, last night to earn a spot in the state semifinals today versus Fairfield, a 10-5 winner over Naugatuck, at 6 at Bethel High. With a win, Post 141 will play either Tolland or RCP for the title on Saturday at 6 at Cubeta Stadium in Stamford.
Trumbull threw out runners at home plate and third base, and turned a double play, to back the pitching of Brian Hnatuk in a 7-3 road victory over Meriden Post 45 at Legion Field on July 27.
One day after winning its first state tournament game 6-5 with a game-winning walk, Trumbull, the Zone IV runners-up, had to go on the road to play a well-rested Meriden team, the Zone III champion.
Both teams came out attacking the baseball, but Hnatuk and Meriden starter Tevin Robles saw their defense play well behind them.
Meriden took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third, before Trumbull catcher Ryan Broderick made a strong throw to John Suporn at third base to nab Alex Lespier attempting to steal third to get out of a two-man on jam.
Jeff Hage helped Post 141 get that run back in the third, when he led off with a single, was sacrificed to second by Mike Labrecque, aggressively went to third on Suporn’s ground out to shortstop, and got a great jump to score when a pitch got past the catcher and rolled to the backstop.
Meriden, blessed with two walks, looked to take the lead in the bottom of the inning. Jordan Biggerio’s ground a hard single to left, but Jeff Sam came up throwing and gunned out A.J. Hendrickson at the plate.
Trumbull kept swinging the bats and took a 3-1 lead in the fourth.
Connor Broderick beat out an infield hit, only to be erased when Sam hit into a 6-6-3 double play.
Matt Fasoli drew the second walk of the game off Robles and Ryan Broderick followed with Post 141’s third hit.
Frank Lapegna walked on a 3-2 pitch to load the bases for Hage, who ripped the ball up the middle and off second baseman’s Jake Papacoda glove and into center field as two runs scored.
Trumbull made it 5-1 in the fifth, on a walk to Suporn, Liam Moore’s ringing double to right center, and Fasoli’s two-out single.
Hnatuk started a 1-6-3 double play, turned by Lapegna, to erase a leadoff walk in the home fifth, before a lightning storm delayed the game.
Meriden got a run back in the sixth on three walks and a single, but left the bases loaded when Hage at first put the third out in the book unassisted.
Trumbull stretched its advantage to 7-2 in the seventh. Suporn reached on a bad-hop single, Connor Broderick had a hit-and-run single through the vacated hole at shortstop, and both scored when Fasoli smacked a double to the fence in right field.
Hnatuk allowed an infield hit to open the seventh and Niko Principi came on in relief.
The lefty knocked down a base-hit try up the middle by Hendrickson and went to first for the out. A pair of groundball outs to Connor Broderick at second base took the steam out of Papacuda’s run-scoring double.