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Giro Esposito scored the only run of the day when the East Haven Senior Legion baseball team notched a 1-0 victory versus Orange in the second game of a doubleheader on July 12. (File photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier | Buy This Photo)
Anthony Buffone and the 89ers got in the win column by posting two victories over New Haven and a win against Orange last week. (File photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier | Buy This Photo)
Steve Mingione had an RBI single in the seventh inning to make it a one-run game when East Haven took a 5-4 loss to Orange in the opener contest of a doubleheader last week. (File photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier | Buy This Photo)
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The East Haven Senior American Legion baseball team picked up its first victory of the season and then added two more to the win column during last week’s action. The 89ers notched a pair of wins versus New Haven and also posted a victory over Orange to go 3-3 in Zone 2 play on the week. East Haven has an overall record of 3-17 entering the final week of the regular season.
“It was definitely a huge relief. [The first win] changed the demeanor of everyone on the team,” Head Coach Chuck Hinckley said. “That win definitely carried over into the next game. We’re definitely playing better baseball.”
The 89ers earned win No. 1 on the summer by claiming a 5-3 home victory versus fellow Zone 2 Western Division opponent New Haven on July 9. Jake Marquardt earned the win on the mound by pitching 2.2 scoreless innings of relief for East Haven. Mike Smith closed out the game to lock up the save. Gianni Mumford started the game and gave up three runs in the first inning, but settled in to pitch scoreless frames in the second and third.
Trailing 3-0, the 89ers answered back by plating a pair of runs in the bottom half of the first inning. After East Haven loaded the bases, Mumford drew a walk that brought in a run, followed by a sacrifice fly from Mike Streeto that made it 3-2. In the fifth inning, Frank Camera led off with a walk, Giro Esposito singled, and then Camera scored the tying run on a passed ball. Streeto hit another sacrifice fly to put the 89es ahead for good in the 5-3 triumph.
Coach Hinckley was happy that his club rallied for its first win of the year. Hinckley said that he could sense it coming with the way East Haven had been playing of late.
“It’s been happening for quite a few games. They keep fighting,” said Hinckley. “They haven’t quit, that’s for sure. They could have with that many losses. They could be more down on themselves, but they haven’t been.”
The following day featured a classic pitchers’ duel that saw the 89ers edge out New Haven by a 2-1 score on the road. Jon Crisci pitched a great game by allowing just four hits over six-plus innings to get the win. New Haven scored its only run of the game in the seventh, but Matt Lisko came on in relief to slam the door on the victory.
East Haven scored a run in the first inning when Camera walked, advanced to third on a single by Smith, and then scored when Mumford grounded out to second. The 89ers added insurance in the fifth inning as Smith doubled home Streeto to give them a 2-0 advantage.
“It felt good to take two from a team right away like that. New Haven, we always battle with them. We had a couple of tough losses to them last year,” Coach Hinckley said. “They’re a legit team. They have really good pitching. They kept us off-balance.”
On July 12, East Haven was back on the road and split a doubleheader against Orange. The 89ers took a 5-4 loss in the opener, but came back to get 1-0 victory in the nightcap. In the first game, Anthony Buffone drilled a two-run homer in the second inning, but then Orange responded by plating four runs during the third. East Haven tried to claw its way back in the seventh inning. Camera singled to get it started and then came home on a double by Mumford. Steve Mingione singled in Mumford to cut the deficit to 5-4, but the 89ers were unable to push the tying run across. Lisko and Esposito pitched well in relief to keep East Haven in the game.
The second game saw Marquardt, Esposito, Mumford, and Buffone combined to toss a shutout in a 1-0 victory for East Haven. The 89ers plated the only run of the game when Esposito doubled and scored on an RBI double from Mumford in the third inning. Mumford finished the game with two hits.
“Jake started and was pitching so well. I didn’t want to pull him, but we need him for this upcoming week,” said Hinckley. “It’s great to see that great of pitching by so many different players.”
The next day, East Haven took two losses in a doubleheader at Wallingford. The 89ers dropped a 10-0 decision in the first game and then took a defeat via forfeit.
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