BERLIN – The Berlin Legion baseball team rebounded from a slow start in its 5-2 win over Simsbury on Tuesday at Zipadelli Field.
Simsbury started fast with two runs in the top of the first inning, but Berlin settled in and scored three runs in the fifth and two more in the sixth for its fifth win of the season.
Matt Kozak went the distance on the mound for Berlin and scattered three hits for two runs, while walking one and striking out six. The right-hander allowed a double to the first Simsbury batter of the game, but rebounded well the rest of the contest.
“When he came off the mound in the second or third inning, I said ‘what’s the difference?’ He said ‘I wasn’t warmed up properly,’” Berlin coach Gary Van Etten said.
“The funny part is, the top two teams [in Zone 1] we’ve beat,” Van Etten said. “We’ve mostly been getting close [results].”
Cam Murphy provided the thunder from the batter’s box as Berlin’s No. 9 hitter smacked a two-RBI triple down the right field line during the fifth inning, which gave the hosts some much-needed energy.
Two batters later, Garrett Fallon ripped a RBI single for Berlin’s third run of the frame and the 3-2 lead.
A dropped fly ball from the Simsbury leftfielder made it 4-2 Berlin in the sixth, before another score brought it to the 5-2 final.
Berlin concluded with six hits as Fallon (two), Murphy, Patrick Lukens, Chris Gendron and Joshua Bois each tallied base-knocks.
Simsbury remains winless with the defeat and Van Etten said it’s been “undermanned” all season. Berlin won the first meeting between the two teams, 11-0, back on July 16.
After starting the season with nine straight losses, Berlin has righted the ship a bit with five wins in the month of July, including victories over two of the top teams in Zone 1 in West Hartford and Meriden.
“I’ve seen slow progress,” Van Etten said. “There’s not much enthusiasm. They’re not outward. I’m more of a raw-raw guy and I have to play off the other coaches. When I say raw-raw, I try to get some enthusiasm and stuff like that.”
Unfortunately for Berlin, it appears to be too little too late as a playoff berth appears unlikely. The top six teams from each Zone make the state tournament and currently Berlin sits in seventh place.
With a couple games remaining, anything can happen, but Berlin will need to win out to have a chance at keeping its season alive.
Berlin (5-13) will next host Avon on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.
Ryan Ames can be reached at 860-801-5094 or on Twitter @_RyanAmes.