BERLIN – A four RBI afternoon from Sal Dastoli pushed No. 2 Berlin baseball past No. 18 East Lyme, 5-0, during the second round of the Class L state tournament Wednesday at Zipadelli Field.
Dastoli doled out a bases-clearing triple in the first inning, giving the Redcoats the momentum it needed for the rest of the contest.
“You always want to strike early,” Dastoli said. “[It] gives your pitcher a little bit of relief in the first inning. We had the opportunity, leadoff triple from [Jamie] Palmese, just looking to get the job done for the boys.”
Palmese smoked a opposite field three-bagger to start the game for Berlin, then Justin Piskorski and Kasey Ouellette walked to load the bases for the Redcoats’ third baseman.
“Three runs right out of the chute, that’s nice,” Berlin coach Leo Veleas said. “We got a little cushion right off the bat, I was happy with that.”
Patrick Lukens made it a 4-0 game in the third inning with a sacrifice fly, while Dastoli brought home the Redcoats’ final run in the fifth inning on a fielder’s choice.
Palmese led all Berlin batters with three hits, while Ouellette posted a pair of doubles to pace the Redcoats in extra-base hits.
Berlin had success going the opposite way on Vikings pitcher Nathan Licitra, who last 4 2/3 innings and allowed all five runs on eight Redcoats hits.
“The pitcher was spotting up outside a little bit so hitting it where it’s pitched is a big thing and that’s what we were able to do,” Dastoli said.
Berlin starter James Ellis was sensational, surrendering just one hit in six innings of work. The senior southpaw recorded eight strikeouts while also finishing with two walks.
“James pitched very well,” Veleas said. “He got into his groove and pitching with a lead is nice, it’s easier to pitch that way, it’s easier to pitch when you’re way ahead and when you’re way behind. We were ahead and that was a good thing. We pitched well, we threw a lot of strikes.”
“When he’s pitching well we’re a great team, so we got to keep looking for that and hoping he does the same,” Dastoli said.
Pitching has been a strength of the Redcoats all season as they boast three quality starters that have carried them throughout the year.
“We have three guys that have all of our wins basically, and you throw them out there, throw strikes, don’t beat ourselves and don’t beat yourself by walking guys,” Veleas said. “You’re going to give up hits, that’s obvious, but if we just throw strikes we’re in good shape. That’s what we tell them.
“If the pitchers throw well, they keep us in the game,” Veleas said. “It’s as simple as that. That’s it. There’s no magic pill that we give them and there’s no magic potion, I don’t wave, they just practice and hopefully they get it in practice and can do it out here on the field when we play a game.”
Wednesday’s win secures Berlin’s spot in the Class L quarterfinals and it’ll host No. 7 Windsor on Saturday. Windsor beat No. 23 Barlow, 15-1, to advance to play the Redcoats.
“As coach says, pitching and defense,” Dastoli said when asked on the mindset of the team moving forward. “It’s nice when you don’t make a lot of errors. We look to keep that defense [strong] and hopefully keep striving forward.”
First pitch for Saturday’s game has not been announced.
Ryan Ames can be reached at 860-801-5094 or on Twitter @_RyanAmes.
Berlin 5, East Lyme 0
East Lyme 000 000 0 -- 0 1 0
Berlin 301 010 x -- 5 10 0
W -- James Ellis (B); L -- Nathan Licitra (EL)
3B: Jamie Palmese (B), Sal Dastoli (B); 2B: Kasey Ouellette 2 (B)
Records: Berlin (19-3), East Lyme (9-7).