NEW BRITAIN - Many of Connecticut American Legion baseballâ€™s best were competing in Tuesdayâ€™s Rawlings Futures Showcase at CCSU, but that didnâ€™t stop the gameâ€™s local representatives from shining among a group of budding stars.
The 12-inning All-Star Game featured more than 20 of the best sophomore and junior talents in legion this season, including a pair of Berlin products in Cam Murphy and Mark Addamo, who each pitched a scoreless inning for Team American Navy, which won in a 15-1 rout over Team National Red and Bristol representative Evan Bouchard.
Murphy came on to pitch the top of the third for Team American. He faced Luke Barrientos of Ridgefield and forced a soft liner to third for the first out before Michael Aceto of Hamden reached on an error. Murphy bounced back and struck out Orangeâ€™s Jacob Crow swinging on a breaking ball. After an infield single, Murphy forced a pop up to the catcher in foul ground to end a scoreless inning.
â€śI felt like I was throwing well,â€ť Murphy said. â€śI was hitting my spots. I was nervous at first because I was leaving some balls up, but I figured it out.â€ť
Addamo relieved Murphy in the top of the fourth and forced Waterfordâ€™s Matt Sanford to fly out to center for the first out. Addamo then forced Jake Pisano of Hamden to bounce to short for the second out, then got James Flink of Farfield to ground out weakly to first for a perfect inning.
â€śI felt good,â€ť Addamo said. â€śI struggled with my breaking ball a little, but I think I did decent overall. It was definitely better competition. These are the best hitters in the state, so if you miss down the ball is going to get roped.â€ť
The two Berlin hurlers combined for two scoreless frames, while allowing just one hit that didnâ€™t make it out of the infield before retreating to the dugout for the rest of the day.
â€śIt was fun,â€ť Murphy said. â€śIt was long, but there are some good guys here that are really fun to watch. They were the better players in the state, so it was really good competition.â€ť
Bouchard was the lone local selection for Team National, batting second in the order and starting at shortstop. He went 1-for-2 with a single and a hit by pitch, while playing sparkling defense in the field. He charged a slow roller and fired to first for the out in the 12th after throwing a perfect relay throw to third to throw out a runner looking to stretch a double into a triple earlier in the contest.
â€śI felt good about it,â€ť Bouchard said of his performance, which came in front of nearly 25 college representatives. â€śI was upset I got hit one at-bat, but there was nothing I could do about it. I wanted a shot at an extra hit.â€ť
Bouchard faced Joey Magano of East Hartford-Manchester in the top of the first and ripped a hard line drive right at the right fielder for the second out of the inning. He got another chance at the plate in the top of the sixth against Tyler Perkins of Ledyard with one on and one out, and Bouchard took a 1-2 pitch off of his back to reach base for the first time.
Bouchard stepped in with runners on first and second in the seventh and lined a single up the middle. A laser throw from center field gunned down the runner at the plate, denying Bouchard an RBI and ending the inning, though the Bristol shortstop had two hard-hit balls to his credit in three at-bats, and reached base twice.
â€śI didnâ€™t get the RBI, so I was kind of upset about that,â€ť Bouchard said. â€śBut I felt good, going 1-for-2 and not making any errors. I was happy about how it went. I was happy I was a part of it, and to just get to play another 12 innings of baseball.â€ť
Ryan Chichester can be reached at (860) 801-5094 or firstname.lastname@example.org