Pictured: Alex Mach, who played at Coginchaug, improved to 5-1 in his first season at UConn Avery Point. (Photo courtesy of UConn Avery Point).
By Paul Augeri
UConn Avery Point right-hander Alex Mach wasn’t 100 percent on Friday, but his stuff was still good enough, his offense brought plenty of run support to the table and the Pointers advanced in the NJCAA Division II district tournament.
Mach pitched six innings, allowing a run on five hits and with five strikeouts as Avery Point crushed SUNY-Sullivan 11-1 in Saugerties, New York. The Coginchaug graduate, who improved to 5-1 after his ninth start of the season, threw 113 pitches in his previous start.
“Overall my arm didn’t feel well at all coming off that game last Friday,” Mach told Middlesex County Sports. “It took a lot of time trying to get back to 100 percent over the course of the week leading up to today, but I couldn’t fully get back up to 100 percent.”
Mach worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the fourth inning with the Pointers ahead 6-1. He had an 8-1 lead when he retired SUNY-Sullivan in order in the fifth. When Avery Point scored its 11th run in the sixth, the game was called due to the mercy rule.
“I knew the plan was to get me to pitch and get the win in Game 1,” Mach said, “and I did what I could. I didn’t have a feel of many pitches today, but what was big for me was the changeup. When the bases were loaded, I used my fastball to set up my changeup to get the strikeout to end the inning and get our guys back in the dugout to hit.
“There was a little bit of a tight zone today, which didn’t help not having my best stuff, but the defense behind me and the offense did their job to help give me leverage.”
Jaden Fowler and Zachary Mascaro had three hits apiece to lead the Pointers’ attack. Javon Hernandez, whose bases-loaded triple in the second inning broke open a 2-0 game, drove in three runs and scored three times. Tyler Rice and Xavier Burgos had two hits each, with Rice scoring a team-best four runs.
“I’m extremely happy with the way our team has been playing recently,” Mach said. “It shows that even if a player isn’t on his ‘A’ game that the others can come together in a team setting to get the win.”
The Pointers played in the double-elimination winners’ bracket on Sunday and lost twice to Mercer County Community College, missing out on an eighth trip to the NJCAA World Series and finishing the season with a 24-13-1 record.