BERLIN – A lack of timely hitting hurt Berlin Legion baseball in its 4-1 loss to West Hartford on Friday at Zipadelli Field.
Berlin stacked up six hits in the contest, but struggled to bring runners home in scoring position. The hosts left 13 runners on base through the seven inning affair.
“We’re not hitting the ball,” Berlin coach Gary Van Etten said. “Although, we had six hits tonight and I was just telling them, it’s an improvement.”
Shortstop Justin Piskorski was the only Berlin batter with multiple hits as Kyle Hyde, Patrick Lukens, Chris Gendron and Camden Murphy mustered the remaining four base knocks. Lukens and Gendron garnered doubles.
Berlin’s lone run came during the bottom of the sixth on an RBI fielder’s choice from Josh Bois. The inning prior, the hosts trailed 3-1 and had bases loaded with one out, but a Lukens strikeout and a grounder from Gendron back to West Hartford pitcher Tucker Redden gave Berlin nothing to show for its best opportunity of the game. Piskorski and Hyde hit singles early in the inning while Nick Melville drew a walk.
“We’re not in a position where we can bunt and hit-and-run,” Van Etten said. “We stole a couple times but when you’re down three or four runs, you don’t want to run into an out.”
West Hartford went up 1-0 in the first inning on an RBI single from Redden. The visitors added two more in the fourth on RBI extra-base hits from Redden and Joe Dooley. Redden roped a triple while Dooley doled out a double.
It became 4-0 during the sixth frame on a misplayed pickoff attempt. Berlin had another bases-loaded chance in the sixth, but only managed one run on the Bois’ RBI.
“We were taking too many first pitch fastballs,” Van Etten said. “You let the pitcher get ahead of you and he owns you. We’ll get there.”
Murphy tossed another solid game for Berlin, going the full seven innings with four hits, one walk and seven strikeouts to his name. Save for the two extra-base hits allowed, Murphy did just about all he could do from the rubber.
“This is one of the better teams in the league,” Van Etten said. “They have some kids that can really hit the ball and [Camden] held them in check pretty good. I’m very happy with the pitchers, for sure.”
Nick Udell earned the win for West Hartford, throwing four scoreless innings while surrendering three hits, three walks and striking out three.
The defeat drops Berlin to 0-4 on the season and a tie for last in Zone 1 with Simsbury. West Hartford moves to 5-1 and stays in first place with the victory.
“We’re young, they’re probably a little bit older than us,” Van Etten said. “You never like to lose, I hate to lose, but I’ll take [a better performance], we swung the bats well.
“We’ll be back, Berlin will we back before the season is over,” Van Etten said.
Berlin will travel to Buckingham Park on Sunday for an 11 a.m. matchup against Avon.
Ryan Ames can be reached at 860-801-5094 or on Twitter @_RyanAmes.