NEWINGTON - The Bristol Legion baseball team kept itself level with Meriden for first place in Zone 1 on Tuesday, picking up a 3-1 over Newington to extend its winning streak to five games.
Starting pitcher Roberto Cruz went the distance in Bristol’s win, only allowing two hits in his first six innings and recycling through the Newington batting order quickly. Cruz did not allow any hits between the second and sixth innings and Bristol did not allow a run until Newington was playing with its final out. He finished with four strikeouts.
“He was under 50 pitches in the fifth inning, he was pounding the zone and I think only missed a few pitches,” coach Jerry LaPenta said.
Bristol protected a 1-0 lead for much of the contest, scoring once in the first inning before Cruz and Newington pitcher Samuel Dionne dueled back and forth for several innings. Andrew Lozier doubled for Bristol with two outs in the bottom of the first and a single from Ryan Fradette on the next at bat moved Lozier to third, before a throwing error by second baseman Austyn Howe allowed Lozier to reach home.
The teams combined for five hits at the end of the fifth inning as both defenses continuously made plays to limit the number of baserunners. Dionne ended up as the losing pitcher, but did not record an earned run on the day as Bristol’s runs came from aggressive baserunning and fielding errors. Dionne finished with just two strikeouts but did not walk anybody in six innings of work.
“He mixed it up, he threw strikes,” Newington coach Jack Hurley said. “Sam does a wonderful job, he changes speeds, mixes it up with a breaking ball and a good changeup and he spots his fastball well.”
Bristol added some insurance in its final trip to plate, leading off with an Austin Brown single to score two runs. Brown stole second before a wild pitch sent him to third and then scored on a fielding error from Newington’s third baseman. Adam Caron reached first on the same error and then found his way around the bases off of smart baserunning and another Newington error.
“Scoring two runs in the bottom of the sixth is huge because you know they’re going to do something in the seventh,” LaPenta said. “You know there’s going to be a little pressure, but when you have a cushion like that [it helps].”
Newington took one run back and put the tying run on base in the top of the seventh inning, but Bristol held on to win before allowing more runs. Domenick Bukowski reached on a fielder’s choice with two outs and was brought home with a single and error before Bristol stopped the bleeding.
Bristol is off until Friday when it hosts Naugatuck and Branford in a double-header at Muzzy Field and Newington returns to the field Wednesday against Berlin at Sage Park.