Pictured: Ryan Robb, center, is met by his RCP teammates after defeating TriCounty on Friday at Fran Monnes Field. Robb allowed only three hits and struck out eight.
By Marc Silvestrini
CROMWELL – The stellar pitching of Rocky Hill-Cromwell-Portland’s Ryan Robb and a clutch, two-out, two-run single by Ryan Boyle propelled host RCP to a 2-0 win over TriCounty in CT Elite Baseball Association action on Friday.
Robb has now thrown two straight complete game shutouts and is unscored upon this season in 19 innings of work. He surrendered only three hits while striking out eight, hitting a batter and issuing no walks.
“I could tell when I was warming up that I wasn’t going to have my good fastball tonight, so I knew I would have to rely on my curve and changeup,” Robb said after being mobbed by his teammates after the final out. “But even without my best fastball I was pretty confident out there. I knew I had a real good defense behind me.”
RCP, a team composed of present and former members of the Rocky Hill, Cromwell, Portland and Xavier high school baseball programs, is now 7-1 and remains in a first-place tie in the 19-and-under Division 3 of CTEBA after its fifth straight victory.
TriCounty is made up of players from a seven-town area, including East Hampton, East Haddam, Andover, Colchester, Hebron, Lebanon and Marlborough. The team is now 5-3 on the season, tied for third in Division 3.
TriCounty’s Ryan Schultz also pitched a strong game, yielding four hits over six innings while striking out nine and walking two.
The winning rally was sparked by RCP’s Grant Collins. With one out in the bottom of the fifth, Collins reached first by beating out a well-placed bunt between Schultz and his catcher, Tanner Lampugnale. Zach Zajac then hit a bouncer to third that was booted, putting runners at first and second.
After fanning the next batter, Schultz then issued a walk to Tyler Baldwin on a three-and-two pitch to load the bases with two out. Boyle then laced a line-drive single to right-center, scoring Collins and Zajac for what turned out to be the winning margin.
“I knew he was going to come after me with a fastball because I’d been swinging and missing at his fastball all day long,” Boyle said. “I knew he was figuring he could get me out with that pitch, so I was ready for it.”
Aside from Boyle’s key base hit, Collins had a pair of hits on the night for the home team with the other hit coming off the bats of Nick Polizonis.
John Linares, Alex Ricard and Jonah Person collected the three hits off Robb.
“He (Robb) has really been terrific for us this year,” said RCP coach Paul Francis. “He not only throws hard and has great stuff, but he’s also very competitive. He’s got that toughness when he’s out there on the mound that rubs off on the rest of the team.”
RCP will be in action twice this weekend, traveling to New Britain Stadium on Saturday to face Ellington in a game that starts at 1 p.m. and squaring off against NCL – the division’s other 6-1 team – on Sunday at 11 a.m. at Windsor High School.