Pictured: East Hampton reliever Nate Bigelow is wrapped up by catcher Avery Hall after getting the final out of the Bellringers’ thrilling win over Morgan on Saturday. (Photo by Paul Augeri)
By Paul Augeri
CLINTON – East Hampton’s first game of the new baseball season might serve as a lesson to future opponents on its schedule: Don’t ever count the Bellringers out.
Down 7-1 entering the top of the sixth inning, East Hampton sprung a stunning rally against host Morgan on a chilly, windy Saturday morning in Clinton. The Bellringers scored six runs with two outs to tie the Huskies and plated the go-ahead run in the seventh — Avery Hall led off with a double, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored with two outs on another wild pitch.
Bellringers reliever Nate Bigelow, facing a second-and-third situation with two outs, struck out Rob Estabrook to nail down an 8-7 victory that seemed unlikely just 25 minutes earlier.
Luke Paluska pitched a scoreless sixth for the win, Bigelow was credited with the save and Hall led the East Hampton offense with three hits, including two doubles, two runs scored and an RBI.
Morgan right-hander Garret Garbinski flashed some of the best stuff Shoreline teams will be see this season. The starter and Manhattan College commit allowed one run on two hits and struck out eight in five innings.
But once Garbinski was pulled after throwing 73 pitches, East Hampton made consistent contact.
“That was a good comeback,” Bellringers coach Tom Seidl said. “I knew we could hit the ball and if we had good at-bats we could get back into it, especially when (Garbinski) went out. He’s a good pitcher. We had some trouble catching up to him.
“But it was a good learning experience for us today and I’m glad we came out of it with the W.”
Ethan Reemsnyder led Morgan’s offense with a solo home run, two singles, two runs and three RBIs.
East Hampton had just one scrimmage in preparation for the reason, but the Bellringers hit well in it. Seidl thought there was a carryover from that game against Watertown.
“We did the same thing — we scored 11 runs in the sixth inning against a good Watertown team,” he said. “We have the ability to put some offense on the board.”
Seidl then turned to his defense and didn’t gloss over it. The Bellringers committed three errors and turned catchable balls into run-scoring opportunities for the Huskies.
“I was very, very disappointed with our defense today. We need to be better,” he said, adding, “today was almost like a tryout day. We’re still trying to put the pieces out there. Who’s going to play right field? Who’s going to play some third base?”
East Hampton had the lead at the outset of the game. Hall tagged a Garbinski first-pitch fastball into the left-cneter gap to score Dan Cascio with two outs in the first inning. Hall was thrown out trying to stretch his hit into a triple.
The Huskies took a 3-1 lead in the bottom half off of starter Carter Scovill, who was hurt by a throwing error and a catchable, wind-aided fly ball to the corner in right. Reemsnyder had a two-run single and Ryan Donadio drove in the third run with a groundout to short.
In the fourth, Morgan scored three runs on two East Hampton errors and a fly ball that dropped just inside of third base to take a commanding lead. Bailey Goss was credited with an RBI. The Huskies had a great opportunity to extend their advantage in the fifth with runners at second and third and one out, but Paluska rung up consecutive strikeouts to keep East Hampton’s deficit at 7-1.
Ethan Ranaudo relieved Garbinski in the sixth. He got a quick strikeout, allowed a single to Hall and got the second out on Bigelow’s liner to third.
Following a walk to Hunter Peszynski, the Bellringers got an RBI single from Charlie Bosco and a two-run hit out of Aiden Palen to make it a 7-4 game. After a walk to RJ Stanford, James Quinn, who struck out in his two previous at-bats, laced a single into center to score Palen. The hit cut Morgan’s lead to one.
“I think he felt a little looser by the end of the game,” Seidl said. “I think he and a few others at the top of the order were squeezing the bat too tight. He’s one of the top hitters in the conference. So is Javy (Diaz) and so is Cascio.”
Pinch hitter Alex Zimmerman then chopped a grounder in the hole between shortstop and third. Garbinski at short made a terrific snare and fired across his body in time for the out, but the umpire ruled Reemsnyder’s foot was off the bag at first. The call kept the inning going and Quinn ended up scoring the tying run on a wild pitch.
Brady Fritz, on in relief of Ranaudo, got Cascio to pop out to third for the final out of the sixth.
Seidl said his team’s collective pitching performance was “incredible.”
“We stressed throwing strikes,” the coach said. “Carter threw 65 percent srikes in the game. Luke was pretty much right behind that, and then Nate closed it out.”
East Hampton…100 006 1–8 7 4
Morgan…………..301 300 0–7 6 2
Batteries: EH–Carter Scovill, Luke Paluska (5), Nate Bigelow (7) and Avery Hall; M–Garret Garbinski, Ethan Ranaudo (6)Braiedy Fritz (6), Bailey Goss (7) and Ross Treubig. WP: Paluska; LP: Goss; S: Bigelow. HR: M–Ethan Reemsnyder.
Next up: East Hampton vs. Cromwell, Monday, 4; Morgan vs. Valley Regional, Monday, 4.
In other games Saturday:
Old Saybrook 11, Westbrook 1 (5 innings)
Noah Hester had two hits and scored three runs, Connor Lane had two hits including a triple and two RBIs, and Nick Scalzo was 2 for 2 with two runs scored and an RBI in the Rams’ Shoreline home win over the Knights.
Old Saybrook totaled 10 hits in its opener in making Ryan Fraser a winner in his head coaching debut.
Noah Grace, Edward Devaney and Carson Brown drove in a run apiece, Auggie Albert scored twice and Nick Rothman had a hit and RBI.
Grace was the winning pitcher. He allowed one run on four hits, walked two and struck out seven. Marlin Stavola pitched a scoreless fifth.
William McCarthy had two of Westbrook’s five hits from the leadoff spot. Dan Zambrano, who drove in the Knights’ run, and Tanyon Champagne and Tyler Prisley also had a hit for the Knights.
Westbrook visits Coginchaug on Monday (4pm), while Old Saybrook visits Old Lyme (4pm).
Coginchaug 9, Portland 1
Senior right-hander Connor Willett struck out 16 in six innings to lead the Blue Devils in their opener in Portland. Coginchaug had an 8-1 lead after four innings and pounded out 13 hits for the game.
Josh Hanna took the loss for the Highlanders. Yandel Rivera pitched 4 pitches for Portland in his high school debut and Spencer Rosado collected two hits.
Old Lyme 8, Hale-Ray 5
Senior Alex Roth hit a walk-off home run at home to lift the Wildcats past the Noises. The win came in Phil Cohen’s first game as Old Lyme head coach.
The Wildcats host Old Saybrook on Monday (4pm), while Hale-Ray plays at Portland on Monday (same time).
Haddam-Killingworth 4, Ellington 3 (8 innings)
Cheyenne LaTouche hit a leadoff double in the eighth and scored on Keira Czarkowski’s hit as the Cougars walked off with a season-opening win in Higganum.
Kaleigh Bodak, who started the game with four scoreless innings, re-entered in relief of Bella Richwine and got the win. Bodak pitched seven shutout innings total, allowing three hits and striking out 13. At the plate, she doubled, tripled, drove in a run and scored one.
Brinkley Echols had a two-run triple for Ellington.
H-K hosts defending Shoreline champion North Branford on Monday (4pm).
Rockville 7, Mercy 0
Visiting Rockville scored five runs in the fifth en route to a non-conference win over the Tigers. Starter Gwen Religa pitched well for Mercy, allowing no earned runs on two hits with three strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings. Jaina Geisler got the final five outs. Amelia Andruskiewicz had a double and Sophia Engels singled for Mercy. Rockville pitcher Alexis Real went the distance, allowing just the two hits and striking out 16.
Old Lyme 8, Hale-Ray 4
Ava Roth was 2 for 4 with two runs scored and an RBI and Jenna Schauder had two hits and drove in two runs for the Wildcats. Victoria Gage was the winning pitcher and Emma Bayor got the save. Bayor also drove in two runs. Sammie LaFemia was 2 for 3 with a home run and three RBIs for the Noises.
Cromwell 6, Coventry 1
Junior Lily Kenney struck out 14 Coventry batters and hit a solo home run to lead Cromwell to a season-opening win. Malena Signorello put the game out of reach with a three-run home run in the fourth inning. Madison Tessmer had two hits and Grace McFarlin contributed an RBI double for the Panthers.