NEW BRITAIN - Beehive Stadium played host for two of the gold medal games for the Nutmeg State Games baseball tournaments and some of the state’s best teams went home with the top prize Sunday.
The Seymour-based Boys of Summer hosted the Overlook Blacksox from Waterbury in the under-15 final and the game was close for the first six innings, but three runs in the top of the seventh inning boosted the Blacksox lead and earned them the gold medal with a 6-2 win. Overlook scored three runs in the top of the first and led for the entire game while the Boys of Summer notched 10 hits in the contest that only yielded two runs.
“There were a couple of uncharacteristic mistakes, which were the two runs they ended up scoring,” Overlook coach Mike Brown said. “Once they faced a little adversity, the defense buckled down. Our pitcher Joe Ferrucci was lights out on the pitcher’s mound.”
A single from catcher Tino Tanganelli capped off the Blacksox scoring in the opening frame, giving them a 3-0 lead that would not change until the bottom of the third. The Boys of Summer got runs back off errors in the third and fifth innings, but Overlook’s defense protected its lead and never let its opponent take full advantage of scoring opportunities.
“I thought our defense was great,” Brown said. “When we got into situations where we had to pull the infield up they just buckled down. They’re just good baseball players and good kids.”
Entering the seventh inning with a 3-2 lead, Brown said his message to his players was to get one insurance run and his team provided three. A double from Taganelli drove in the first two runs and a single from Ryan Hammarlund added the third. A hit from Dan Lans to open the bottom of the final inning gave the Boys of Summer something to work with, but the Blacksox got the next three outs to secure the victory.
“I think the starting pitcher had our number a little bit, we jumped on him early in the first inning,” Brown said. “Once the change of pitchers happened we took advantage of that.”
The under-13 gold-medal game between the Hamden Dragons and Farmington Fireballs did not take long as the Hamden hitters put runs on the board immediately and won by mercy rule after five innings 19-3.
“We came out and really hit the ball today,” Hamden coach Bill Rhone said. “We’ve hit in the other games, but not like that right down the lineup.”
Farmington took a 2-0 lead after the top of the first inning, but had no chance of stopping the Dragons, who answered with seven in the bottom half of the inning and never slowed down. Hamden’s first six batters reached base without recording an out and recorded six hits in the frame starting with a double from catcher AJ Aurora.
Rhone said his team normally does not play this well when forced to take the field for a 10 a.m. start, but this game did not show any of those issues.
“We’ve played some games at nine [or] 10 o’clock in the morning and we usually don’t hit,” Rhone said. “They usually need an hour or two to wake up, but this morning we came right out of the gate.”
The Dragons retired six of the next seven Fireballs over the second and third innings, and escaped a bases-loaded jam in the fourth.
Needing two more runs to put Farmington in position to be mercied, Hamden entered the bottom of the fourth inning leading 10-2 and added enough to their lead to ensure it would be heading home early. The Dragons plastered nine runs on the scoreboard this inning, which stretched their lead to 17 runs. Kam Gamm, Matt Mangini, Nate Marczak, Will Cameron and Kyle Fennelly all contributed hits during the run as the lead grew far past the mercy rule.
A pair of errors allowed the Fireballs to take two runs back in the top of the fifth inning behind hits from Zac Jainchill and Sam Baker, but not enough to get within 10 runs and continue the game.
Hamden, which qualified for the Little League World Series last year, leaves the Nutmeg State Games with gold medals.
Matt Hornick can be reached at (860) 973-1811 or firstname.lastname@example.org.