WORCESTER, Mass. - The Southington American Legion baseball team appeared poised to once again fight off elimination in the Northeast Regional Tournament on Friday morning, but with one disastrous inning, the season came to an abrupt end at the hands of Cumberland, Rhode Island.
With Southington nursing a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the sixth, Cumberland rallied for five runs against the previously cruising Ryan Henderson to take a 5-3 victory and send Southington home, though a win on Thursday gave Southington three wins at the regional level in the last two years, as the program continues to solidify itself as one of the best in the area.
Henderson recorded the first out of the sixth inning with the bases empty and appeared to be headed for another scoreless frame before he issued a four-pitch walk to David Bordieri. Christopher Davock followed with a single and a walk to Joey Molis loaded the bases for Ruben Hancock, who drew a walk of his own to force in a run and trim Cumberland’s deficit to 2-1.
With the bases still full, Shane Calabro reached on an error by third baseman Jeremy Mercier, allowing the tying and go-ahead runs to score. Mercier came on in relief of Henderson, but immediately hit Drew Szafranski with a pitch to reload the bases and set up another bases-loaded walk, this time to Nicholas Croteau, putting Southington behind 4-2. Addison Kopack wrapped up the five-run frame with a sacrifice fly to center field, ending a disastrous inning for Southington that saw just one hit recorded by Cumberland.
Sean Crean singled home Aneesh Avancha in the seventh to pull Southington to within 5-3, but with the tying run at the plate, Southington couldn’t complete the comeback.
Southington had built its early 2-0 lead on a second-inning double by Jake Romano, who later scored on a wild pitch for the game’s first run. Mercier doubled in Kyle Leifert in the third to make it 2-0, but Southington couldn’t build a large enough lead to make up for Cumberland’s game-altering rally in the sixth.
Ryan Chichester can be reached at (860) 801-5094 or firstname.lastname@example.org