SOUTHINGTON - Danniel Rivera delivered once again for the New Britain baseball team.
With the scored tied 7-7 in the top of the eighth inning Monday against Southington, Rivera hit an RBI single to right field, bringing home pinch runner Kevin Rodriguez that proved to be the difference in the Hurricanes’ 9-8 victory.
Francisco Alvarado also drove in a run in the inning on a sac fly as New Britain has now won three straight.
“The guys are finally buying into what we’re trying to teach them,” Hurricanes head coach Roberto Mercado said. “They’re working together as a unit and doing the small things as well. I think we really need to learn our focus on that, from bunting to hit running, to ball handling and doing what we need to do to find a way to score.”
Justin Adorno reached first base on an error by Southington’s Bryce Worth to start the eighth inning. Guillermo Burgos then hit a sacrifice bunt to bring Adorno to second base. Adorno made it to third on an error by Southington’s Joshua Panarella to set himself up to score the winning run. Guillermo Burgos also advanced to first base because of Panarella’s error.
“When Southington tied up the score, I’m not going to lie, it got me a little bit shook,” Burgos said. “I knew that if our pitching was going to keep us in the game, we had a chance, and that is exactly what happened.”
The Blue Knights had a chance of their own in the bottom of the frame, but Southington’s Jake Nueman decided to make it close.
After Rivera struck out Kyle Leifert, an error in the field allowed Neuman to score to cut New Britain’s lead to 9-8.
“We started off weak,” Neuman said. “We didn’t score for the first couple innings. Then we finally came alive but it was just too late.”
With one last chance, Daniel Topper stepped up to the plate for the Blue Knights. Topper grounded the ball right to New Britain’s shortstop to end the game.
The Hurricanes had their offense working for the start and Southington starter Jeremy Mercier was taken out after the first two innings. Mercier let in six hits and four runs on the afternoon. It also didn’t help that the Blue Knights committed nine errors.
New Britain starter Ruffino Santiago, meanwhile, went 6.1 innings and threw 101 pitches.
“There were a lot of errors on both sides and we happened to make the last one,” Southington baseball coach Charles Lembo said. “We got down seven nothing, and I thought we did a great job of coming back, then they got a couple more.”
Shelby Iava can be reached at (860) 801-0596 or firstname.lastname@example.org