Pictured: Ryan Robb, who played at Rocky Hill High and had a strong first season at Husson University, continued his winning ways for Post 105 on Monday. He also had two hits. (Photo by Paul Augeri)
By Marc Silvestrini
CROMWELL — It must be the uniform.
RCP ace right-hander Ryan Robb allowed only two hits in five innings of work Monday in pitching the Zone 3 leaders to a 7-2 win over Northeast on Monday at Fran Monnes Field.
The win raises Post 105’s record to 5-1 on both the season and in Zone 3 play. Northeast, which had entered the game in a second-place tie with Windsor/Windsor Locks, falls to 3-3 on the season and in zone play.
The win was also Robb’s third straight and ninth straight in an RCP uniform, having gone 6-0 last summer for the state champion team that played in the CT Elite Baseball Association, following the American Legion’s decision to cancel its baseball season due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I just love being on this team and playing with these guys,” said Robb, a 2020 graduate of Rocky Hill High School who currently pitches on the collegiate level for Husson University in Bangor, Maine. “It’s hard to play with these guys and for these coaches without a smile on your face.”
Robb, who served as Husson’s closer this past spring, recording four saves and allowing only one earned run in 13 appearances, retired the first 10 Northeast batters he faced. He finished with seven strikeouts, walked two and hit a batter.
Justin Valentin entered the game for RCP in the sixth and pitched two innings of one-hit, scoreless relief.
The Post 105ers jumped on Northeast starter Brandon Stake for three runs in both the first and second innings to stake Robb to an early 6-0 lead.
Robb, who also had two hits on the day, knocked in the first run of the game with a line single to center. Justin Fraleigh forced in another run by drawing a bases-loaded walk and Valentin knocked in the third run of the first with a fielder’s choice bouncer to short.
After Robb retired the side in order for a second straight inning, second baseman Elias DeLeon led off the RCP second by blasting a Stake heater over the left-field fence to make it 4-0.
“It was a fastball and I hit it pretty good,” said DeLeon, who will begin his senior year at Cromwell High in the fall. “As I was running to first I looked up and I knew it was gone.”
But the RCP offense wasn’t done. Nick Polizonis made it 5-0 with an RBI single to left and Ryan Boyle crossed the plate on an infield error to pad the lead to 6-0 after two innings of play.
Polizonis then made it 7-0 in the third when he plated former Portland High player Grant Collins with a fielder’s choice grounder to second.
“We’re a team that’s built on pitching and defense, but we hit the ball a little bit better today than we have in some of our other games, so that helps,” RCP coach Paul Francis said. “We did a much better job of hitting with men in scoring position.”
Northeast, a team made up of players from Tolland, Stafford Springs, Willington and Ashford, scored twice in the top of the fifth when Robb temporarily lost command of his fastball, hitting a batter and issuing his only two walks of the game. But he ended the rally by fanning three of the last four batters he faced.
“I was getting a little frustrated in that inning,” Robb admitted. “I couldn’t locate my fastball and I began overthrowing it a little.”
Robb and DeLeon, who also cranked a long double to the base of the fence in left field, led RCP’s nine-hit attack with two apiece while Polizonis had a hit and two ribbies and Boyle had a hit and two runs scored.
Tino Gagliardi, Malcolm Mention and Collins collected the other Post 105er hits.
Stake, Nathan Bowes and Joe Keane accounted for Northeast’s three hits while Mason Wilson pitched two strong innings of hitless, scoreless relief, fanning four and walking one.
“Right now we’re kind of a work in progress,” Northeast coach Brian Mercado said. “When RCP scored those three runs in the first inning, I could feel our kids deflate a little bit. We’re a young team. We still have to learn how to become a little bit tougher mentally.”
RCP will play Glastonbury twice over the next four days, playing at Riverfront Park on Wednesday and hosting them at Cromwell High on Friday at 5:45 p.m.
Northeast..000 020 0–2 3 4
RCP………….331 000 X–7 9 0
Batteries: NE–Stake, Wilson (5) and Bowes; RCP–Robb, Valentin (6) and Polizonis. WP: Robb; LP: Stake. 2B: RCP–DeLeon. HR: RCP–DeLeon. Records: Northeast 3-3; RCP 5-1, 5-1.