Pictured: Old Saybrook recognized its six senior ballplayers at home on Saturday. From left: Nick Scalzo, Jake Butler, Carson Brown, Nick Rothman, Noah Hester and Noah Grace. (Photo provided by Old Saybrook High School)
Portland’s offense made Jake Butler work hard for six innings, but Old Saybrook’s senior right-hander persevered through a pitch count of 103 to beat the Highlanders 5-1 in Shoreline Conference play Saturday.
The Rams’ victory, their eighth in nine games, capped a 14-4 regular season and a remarkable turnaround from a 2021 campaign that saw them win just five of 18 games.
“It’s been a discussion throughout the year in regards to how far we have come, but we continue to stay even keel,” Old Saybrook coach Ryan Fraser said. “We are still continuing to handle adversity in stride. We trust our work in big moments because a lot of this is new for the guys.”
Old Saybrook supplied Butler with three runs in the fourth inning and two more in the fifth to put him in position to win for the fifth time in seven decisions. He allowed an earned run in the sixth on six hits, walked two and struck out nine, and finished the regular season with a sub-1.00 ERA.
Connor Lane struck out two in a scoreless seventh.
“Jake struggled with his slider location early on but then found it as the game went on,” Fraser said.
Noah Grace drove in two runs and Nate Rothman one. Seven Rams accounted for the team’s seven hits: Butler, Lane, Grace, Auggie Albert, Nick Rothman, Ed Devaney and Carson Brown. The Rams also stole seven bases, led by Rothman with three.
Old Saybrook will be the No. 2 seed in the Shoreline Conference tournament. Valley Regional (14-2 overall) can secure the top seed by beating East Hampton on Monday.
Austin Vess allowed three earned runs (none earned) in four innings in taking the loss. He allowed five hits, walked two and struck out four. Josh Hanna allowed two runs on two hits in two innings.
Hanna and Spencer Rosado had two hits each for the Highlanders (2-15), while Ethan Krasniewski drove in a run. Ryan LaPila drove in Portland’s lone run.
Shoreline tournament dates: May 23, quarterfinals, site of the higher seed; Tuesday, semifinals, site of the higher seed; May 27, championship game, Palmer Field in Middletown.
In other baseball games involving area teams:
Xavier 5, Cromwell 4 (8 innings): The Falcons (15-2) walked off in extras at Palmer Field for their 10th straight win, producing the winning run via an error, a walk, a batter reaching on a bunt to load the bases, and a one-out sac fly. Colby Ciampi had a 2-run double for Xavier, Drew Kron and JJ Fox had a hit and RBI each, and Spencer Misenti and JP Hosney singled for the Falcons. Cromwell’s Brandon Berean pitched 1-hit ball in 3 2/3 innings in relief of starter Tysen Billings. Billings and Elias DeLeon led Cromwell (8-10) with 2 hits apiece, while DeLeon, Antonio Iozzo and Zach Zajac drove in a run apiece. Cromwell visits Haddam-Killingworth on Monday (4pm).
MORE TO COME …