Pictured: Nick Polizonis (right) has been a three-pronged threat for RCP Post 105 this summer.
By Paul Augeri
Right-hander Ryan Robb will have the ball Tuesday night for RCP’s first attempt to clinch the Zone 3 championship. Post 105 plays two at East Hartford/Manchester, and a win in either game would net not just the zone title but also a spot in the upcoming Legion regional qualifying tournament.
You have to like Post 105’s chances.
Robb has been lights out this season with a team-best five wins, a 0.87 ERA (four earned runs and nine hits allowed) and 30 strikeouts in 32 innings. And he’s just the tip of RCP’s mound depth.
No. 2 starter Zach Zajac has two wins and a 1.17 ERA in four starts. Nick Polizonis is 3-1 with just two earned runs allowed and a 0.74 ERA. Jesse Frazer has won twice and also has a sub-2 ERA, and Justin Valentin has two saves.
“It feels great,” said Polizonis, “but we are still focused on playing these next games like we are 0-0. Hopefully we get hot for the tournament.”
Polizonis is a three-pronged threat as RCP’s regular catcher, one of its top offensive players – he has a team-high 13 RBIs – and an effective arm for coach Paul Francis when his turn in the rotation has come up.
Polizonis was that kind of player Sunday. He no-hit Enfield on 81 pitches, striking out eight, in the first game of a road doubleheader while also driving in two runs in the 3-0 victory. Tino Gagliardi, Robb, Grant Collins and Ryan Boyle accounted for the team’s four hits and Elias DeLeon walked four times.
RCP secured the sweep with a six-run sixth inning in Game 2. Collins hit a bases-clearing double to highlight the rally, Frazer went five innings while striking out nine and Valentin pitched the last two for an 8-1 win.
“Nick threw his curve a lot for strikes and he didn’t walk anyone,” Francis said. “His velocity was better, too. He’s been really good his last couple of starts. He hasn’t allowed a run in his last three starts. As our catcher, it’s hard to get him in there.”
With Robb and Zajac being the team’s top two in the rotation and pitch counts always in play, Francis emphasized the added value of the others in a postseason world.
“Once we get into a double-elimination format, it will be Frazer, Valentin and Nick (available) in the bullpen,” Francis said. “That’s what these tournaments come down to, the pitching. We haven’t been hitting, but I’m not too worried about it because we have an older group and a bunch of seasoned guys who have come through in big moments.”
RCP also has a road doubleheader scheduled for Wednesday at South Windsor, which would wrap up its 18-game zone schedule. Because of rainout upon rainout, RCP has played just four games in July. It also hasn’t had a home game since June 26.
“We just need to keep playing,” Francis said. “It’s not just tough for us, it’s been tough for everyone. There are a lot of low-scoring games right now because we’re not getting the reps.”