BERLIN – Four runs in the first inning propelled Bristol Legion baseball past Berlin, 6-0, Tuesday at Zipadelli Field for its fourth straight victory.
Jack Kozikowski cracked two hits for Bristol and brought in half of its runs to pace the offense while Roberto Cruz threw a complete game shutout, limiting the hosts to five hits throughout the contest. Berlin fell to 0-6 in the defeat.
“It was awesome,” Bristol coach Jerry LaPenta said. “They haven’t won yet but I said, ‘don’t let that fool you.’ They have a good coaching staff, they have some decent players, you don’t want to let them hang around. To put up a four-spot early really set the tone.”
Following a lightning delay that lasted about 45 minutes during the third inning, Bristol scored once in the fifth and added another in the seventh to cruise to the win. Berlin looked like they would break through late in the game, but a great grab from Bristol center fielder Ryan Fradette on a hard-hit ball from Berlin’s Garrett Fallon with bases loaded wrapped up the affair.
“Same thing every game, can’t hit,” Berlin coach Gary Van Etten said. “We get behind and we can’t do anything. What are you gonna do? Not much else to say.”
Kyle Hyde hit Berlin’s only extra-base hit with a double in the second, but singles from Patrick Lukens, Joshua Bois, Benjamin Gomes and Fallon rounded out its offensive output.
Cruz didn’t give Berlin much to work with as the hurler struck out four batters and surrendered three walks.
“I thought Roberto did great,” LaPenta said. “Sometimes when you pitch and then you have a half-hour, 40 minute delay, that’s tough. Some guys don’t respond well and I thought he really pitched well.”
Fallon started on the mound for Berlin and allowed five runs in five innings on five hits, while punching out three and walking two.
A two-RBI single from Kozikowski down the left field line got the scoring started for Bristol in the first, before Zack Rinkavage had a nearly identical hit to bring in another run. A sacrifice fly from Evan Bouchard then put the visitors up 4-0 at the outset.
Kozikowski brought home another during the fifth on an opposite-field single, then Andrew Lozier crushed a triple in the seventh, making it 6-0.
Despite getting shutout, Berlin had its opportunities to make it a close ballgame, but couldn’t seem to catch a break as Bristol’s defense was superb.
“It happened a few times throughout the game, but you got to make your own breaks though,” Van Etten said. “That’s my strategy, but when you get behind you can’t force the issue. Their catcher had a good arm, we couldn’t run on him and it’s tough to bunt when you’re down five, six runs.”
Bristol’s outfield trio of Austin Brown, Trevor Nohilly and Fradette in particular, came to play.
“I think we have a really good outfield group,” LaPenta said. “We have speed, we got guys that know how to play it. They all get good jumps and track the ball really well.”
After a 2-2 start to the season, Bristol has gone 5-1 in its last six games. During the current four-game win streak, Bristol has outscored its opponents 24-7 and the squad seems to be in a groove as it moves to 5-3 overall.
“We got a huge game [Wednesday] and a huge game Thursday,” LaPenta said. “We owe Avon. They’re at the top too and we’ll be ready.”
Bristol hosts Avon Wednesday at Muzzy Field at 5:45 p.m. Avon beat Bristol 10-1 on June 15.
Berlin will try and end the losing streak when it travels to Meriden on Wednesday at 5:45 p.m.
Ryan Ames can be reached at 860-801-5094 or on Twitter @_RyanAmes.