Trumbull Legion defeats North Haven in states
After a successful regular campaign in which Trumbull Post 141 posted a 22-4 record and placed second in Zone 4 as the 19U American Legion state tournament got underway, the thing that was most on the forefront on the minds of the players was the way last season ended.
No. 5 Trumbull, which was defeated by Middletown in extra innings in the first round a year ago, got through the single-elimination round with a day-one bye, followed by a 3-0 shutout of No. 13 North Haven at Trumbull High on Sunday afternoon.
North Haven was third in Zone 2 with a record of 14-9.
With the win, Trumbull advanced to the next round, which is double-elimination Post 141 will visit to Zone 2 champion Stratford (17-6) at Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.
Andrew Lojko pitched into the seventh inning for the win.
“Last year we played a thirteen-inning game and it was awful to lose the way we did,” Lojko said of that 7-5 setback. “Toward the end of the season we were playing good baseball. It felt good the way we were playing.”Lojko, whose team shut out 11 opponents in the regular season, went six full then got one out in the seventh after a pair of Trumbull errors set up North Haven with the tying run at the plate.
His day ended with a strikeout; he was removed because of pitch count regulations.
Jack Lynch came on and got a pair of pop outs to close the door.
“I’m really proud. We had an unbelievable regular season, but that’s gone now,” Trumbull manager Jack McFarland said. “They were all business today and took care of the little things. And if you take care of the little things the big things take care of themselves.”
Trumbull scored in the third, fifth and sixth innings.
Lojko played a big part in the offense. He singled in the third, and after Jake Teixeria’s sacrifice and Dan Cellini’s ground out, scored on a Dustin Siqueira single.
Teixeira walked and scored on Vin DeRubeis’ double for a 2-0 lead.
With Trumbull still ahead by two, Lojko escaped two-on and two-out trouble in the top half of the sixth.
In the bottom of the frame, Anthony Socci was hit by a pitch, stole second, and scored on Lojko’s double.
Lojko allowed four hits, and walked four — all in the early stages of the game. He struck out five.
“Early on I was leaving the ball up. I just couldn’t find a groove,” said Lojko, adding that once he started getting his fastball down in the strike zone and got his offspeed pitch to break more he was able to mix in the occasional curve and slider.
McFarland noted that Lojko’s batterymate Alex Rauso made strong contributions and shut down the North Haven running game early on.
He caught a would-be base stealer attempting to swipe second and picked another runner off first base.