The Branford Senior American Legion baseball team had no trouble with Southington in the opening game of the teams’ State Tournament championship series on Aug. 2, winning the game 10-0 in seven innings due to the mercy rule.
John Amendola pitched a complete game, two-hitter and struck out 10 for Post 83, which pounded out 13 hits and received a five RBI performance from Nick Perrelli.
Branford (31-1) can claim its fourth state title by winning the second game of this best-of-3 series at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 3 at Stamford’s Cubetta Stadium.
“Amendola was just unhittable tonight and it was the perfect storm as our bats were explosive and that is a lethal combination,” Coach Rich Balzano said. “I don’t know what kind of Gatorade our kids drank before the game, but it really worked tonight.”
Branford scored the game’s first two runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Mike Funaro sungled up the middle and then Tyler Criscoulo doubled to right to put runners at second and third. Nick Perrelli followed with a two-run double over Southington’s center fielder’s head to score both runners and put Post 83 ahead 2-0.
Post 83 then put up four runs in the fifth, highlighted by Perrelli’s three-run home run. Chris Stankiewicz’s single got it going and Funaro followed with a double to put two runners in scoring position. After Stankiewicz came home when Tyler Criscuolo reached on an error, Perrelli took Southington pitcher Brett Susi down the left field line for a three-run shot that made it 6-0.
Post 83 tacked on a run in the sixth inning when Tyler Criscuolo singled in a run and then put away the game in the seventh by scoring three runs to invoke the mercy rule. That final blow came when Tyler Forgione hit a three-run double that scored Perelli, Ben Criscuolo, and Greg Zullo to make the score 10-0.
Catcher Alex Pantani threw out two Southington would-be base stealers.