NEWINGTON – A four-run fifth inning sunk Newington Legion baseball in its 10-5 loss to West Hartford on Thursday at Alumni Field.
Newington was behind 5-2 through the first four innings, but two extra-base hits from West Hartford each brought in a pair of runs to blow it open to a 9-2 game.
The hosts made it interesting late, scoring two runs during the bottom of the seventh and were threatening for more, but Austyn Howe struck out with the bases loaded to conclude the contest.
“They hit the ball, they have a good team,” Newington coach Jack Hurley said. “They’re 4-0, we’re 1-1. We can’t give them, as they say, the free 90s.”
Pitching and defense weren’t too sharp for Newington as it finished with five errors and eight walks throughout the game.
“It happens early in the season, but you got to tighten up the defense,” Hurley said. “Our pitchers were okay, but you got to work ahead of the hitters, not behind, that’s when you [allow] the hits.”
Samuel Dionne, Jonathan Pyne, Domenick Bukowski and Ryan Saindon each threw on the mound for Newington with Pyne taking the loss after allowing eight runs on six hits in 2 2/3 innings.
Pyne and Howe produced with the bats as the duo combined for all six of Newington’s hits. Howe had two doubles and a single for three RBIs, while Pyne popped two singles and a double for one RBI.
“Jon Pyne’s playing at Eastern and he’s doing a good job [and] I thought Austyn Howe hit the ball really well today,” Hurley said.
Newington led 1-0 after the first on a RBI single from Howe, however West Hartford scored the next five runs of the game before Howe hit a RBI double to right-center to bring it to 5-2.
West Hartford’s big fifth inning was highlighted by a triple from Thomas Redden and a double from Peter Langevin.
Howe’s third hit of the night secured Newington’s third run of the game with another RBI double during the sixth, but West Hartford added its 10th run in the top of the seventh on a RBI single from Drew Seidman.
Newington made it 10-4 on a wild pitch from West Hartford’s Seth Ehrlich and then 10-5 with an RBI infield single from Pyne. Ehrlich walked three Newington batters in the final frame before he fanned Howe to close out the bout.
“Good comeback at the end, got a couple walks, but again, when you’re chasing seven runs in the last inning it’s tough,” Hurley said.
West Hartford starter Joe Dooley lasted five innings and scattered four hits and two runs while striking out five. Michael Weiss pitched the sixth inning and allowed one run before Ehrlich came on during the seventh.
“They’re probably the top team in the Zone, but we obviously haven’t seen everybody else,” Hurley said. “We have an older team and we’ll start making the plays, pitch better, hit a little better.”
Newington will visit Berlin on Friday at Sage Park at 6:30 p.m.
Ryan Ames can be reached at 860-801-5094 or on Twitter @_RyanAmes.