Pictured: Coginchaug’s Owen Clancy is in at third base ahead of Colbe Andrews’ tag for an RBI triple in the fourth inning.
By Paul Augeri
DURHAM – Coginchaug left-hander Kolby Pascarelli pitched three-hit ball over six innings and Owen Clancy had a team-best three hits in leading the Blue Devils to their fifth straight win, 7-3 over Old Lyme on Tuesday.
Pascarelli struck out 10 to boost his record to 5-0 as Coginchaug (12-2) kept an iron grip on first place in the Shoreline Conference standings over second-place and idle Valley Regional (10-3), a team it beat convincingly just a week ago.
“It was a solid win. We’ll take it,” said junior third baseman Jeremy Mangiameli, who doubled, singled and drove in two runs. “Any win’s a good win.”
Clancy, who has been scuffling at the plate this season, benefited from coach Mark Basil bumping him up a spot to second in the order ahead of Pascarelli.
“He needed that game,” Basil said. “We’re just trying to give him a little relief off that three-spot. He was kind of struggling in a very difficult spot in the lineup, so we moved him.”
Clancy saw good pitches to hit and put good swings on them. He singled in the first, hit an RBI triple in the fourth and singled in the sixth in four at-bats.
“I felt like I had the right approach at the plate and was confident in my hitting as it worked today,” said Clancy, who will play next year at AIC. “Fighting balls off at the plate helped me drive the ball across the field. I’m excited to play again tomorrow.”
The Blue Devils scored four runs in the first inning – two on a bases-loaded double by Mangiameli, the third on Anthony Morro’s RBI groundout and the fourth on an Evan Faiella single — and looked poised for a blowout win.
But Old Lyme (4-9) pitched and defended well enough to hang in against the veteran Blue Devils, even as Coginchaug scored single runs in the fourth and fifth innings to extend its lead to 6-0.
“I thought we battled hard against obviously one of the best pitchers in the league,” said Old Lyme coach Randy St. Germain, who, outside of three seniors, has a lineup that is gaining experience. “We’ve had a little trouble this year hitting, but I thought today we put some at-bats together with the three runs we scored. I think that’s something we can build on for sure going forward.
“It’s about swinging at good pitches. If you swing at strikes it’ll give you a better chance to get hits. With each game, they’re still learning. They’re still gaining that experience.”
Through five full, Pascarelli appeared on track for the shutout, having allowed just two hits and four base runners total (and eliminating one on a pick-off at first). But he walked Colbe Andrews and David Evers to start of the sixth before the next batter, left-handed-hitting Tait Sawden, turned on a two-strike pitch up in the zone and drove it just beyond Clancy’s reach in center for a two-run triple.
After getting a flyout, Pascarelli made a savvy play on a bouncer to his right off the bat of Riley Warecke. He had Sawden dead to rights at home, but the off-balance throw from his weak side went wide of the plate.
Pascarelli got a pop-up to second and a strikeout to get out of the sixth. Conner Willett pitched the seventh, with Jack Konopka turning a grounder up the middle into a 4-4-3 double play to end it.
“It was a pretty solid outing till I got my pitch count up and ran out of gas in the sixth,” said Pascarelli, who allowed two earned runs and walked four. “It should’ve been handled better by me throwing more strikes.”
Old Lyme lost for the fifth time in six games and needs to win three of its last five to qualify for the state tournament.
“We’ve seen really good pitching this year, but we haven’t seen a lefty (like Pascarelli) that throws like that,” St. Germain said. “We’ve seen lefties who are crafty, but he throws hard and has a good biting curveball. But I’m pleased. I thought we did a good job today.”