BERLIN - The Berlin Legion baseball team closed out its 2021 on a strong note with an 8-2 win over West Hartford at Sage Park on Friday night. Berlin finished its season winning five of its final eight games after starting the season 0-7 and will hold seventh place in Zone 1 with a 6-13 record.
Berlin plastered seven runs on the scoreboard in the bottom of the third inning to break an early 1-1 tie, which was anchored by six strong innings from starting pitcher Camden Murphy. Murphy allowed one unearned run while striking out four and escaped jams in more than one inning.
“[Murphy] probably should’ve won every game he pitched this year,” Berlin coach Gary Van Etten said. “We got beat the first game of the year 1-0, he only gave up two hits. Our pitching has kept us in it.”
All seven of Berlin’s runs in the third inning came with two outs as two walks and a single gave Jonathan D’amore a chance to give his team the lead or end the inning. D’amore drew the third walk of the inning and brought home the leading run for his team. Hits from Christopher Gendron, Benjamin Gomes, Joshua Bois and Justin Piskorski drove in more runs until the inning ended with Berlin’s 12th batter of the inning.
“Any time we hit the ball, we play pretty well,” Van Etten said. “We like to hit and run, we like to bunt, we like to steal and once we get that going we just keep things going.”
Piskorski finished with three hits and two RBI on the day along with a three-hit performance from Patrick Lukens, who were two of the four Berlin players to finish with more than one hit.
Struggling to make the third out of an inning was a theme for the night as both teams made innings last longer than needed, despite not allowing any runs. West Hartford loaded the bases in the fourth inning and put two runners on in the fifth inning against Murphy, but failed to bring anyone all the way around to tighten the deficit.
“He’s been our bulldog all year,” Van Etten said. “He didn’t get a lot of innings [in college] this year because he was a freshman, but he probably shouldn’t have lost a game this year.”
West Hartford added a run in the seventh inning when Piskorski entered the game to get the last three outs, but did not have enough to complete the comeback.
West Hartford opened the scoring in the top of the first inning when leadoff batter Alexander Ciafone reached first base on a dropped third strike after a bad throw from Berlin catcher Gendron and scored on a single a few batters later. Berlin answered back in the bottom of the inning, starting off with a single from Justin Piskorski, who found his way home following two more hits from his teammates, who were both caught out on the basepaths.
Berlin’s season is over as it failed to qualify for the Zone 1 playoffs, but Van Etten is proud of how his team finished after losing so many difficult games at the start of the year.
“I think it’s good for the kids that they know they can play [this well],” Van Etten said. “Our whole thing is staying together and playing together and that hasn’t been happening the last couple of years.”