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Warwick, R.I. - Coach Roger Bidwell has never questioned UConn-Avery Point baseball team's competitive spirit this season.
While the Pointers may fail to execute at times, they always score high marks in the competitive spirit department.
Case in point: Sunday's District II New England Championship series third and deciding game against host Community College of Rhode Island.
Defending champion Avery Point overcame a few execution shortcomings while battling their way to a 4-2 victory and the program's 12th title. The Pointers delivered in the clutch, using four two-out hits to score three runs in the seventh inning and rally from a 2-1 deficit.
Freshman Andrew Hinckley's sharp single drove in the go-ahead run.
"We showed a lot of character coming back," Bidwell said. "We overcame those mistakes."
Freshman left-hander Doug Domnarski cooled off a hot-hitting lineup, pitching a complete game. He allowed six hits while walking three and striking out eight, including pinch-hitter Jonathan Vazquez with two on base to end the game.
In his previous start against CCRI, Domnarski gave up a season high six runs and took the loss. He was particularly effective against some tough left-handed hitters on Sunday.
"He really showed what a good pitcher he is," Bidwell said. "CCRI knocked him around last time. He was a different guy today. He's a competitive guy. I'm really impressed with what he did."
The Pointers bounced back from an 8-0 loss in the championship series opener on Friday to win two straight tight games.
"We had to bring that bulldog mentality to the next two games and that's what we did," said Domnarski, a Stonington High School graduate, of recovering from a 1-0 series deficit. "We never stopped fighting."
It was the second straight stellar pitching performance by the Pointers, who received nine strong innings from sophomore Zach Albin in Saturday's 3-2, 10 inning victory.
"After Zach pitched, I knew I had to bring my `A' game," Domnarski said. "I couldn't let the team down."
The Pointers took a 1-0 lead in the third but base-running blunders prevented a bigger outburst. Kyle Hart led off with an infield single and Alex LeFevre walked. Joel Acosta's potential double play ball was misplayed for an error, allowing Hart to score.
With runners on first and third, Alex Miller bounced a ground ball to first, starting a rally-killing double play. LeFevre was caught off third and tagged out in a rundown and Acosta was nailed scrambling to get back to second.
Hinckley followed with a single and Nick Perrelli walked before Chris Mayhew flew out for the last out.
"Poor baseball," Bidwell said. "I thought it was going to cost us against a good team like this. … We should have had three or four runs in that inning."
CCRI struck for two runs in the fifth to take a 2-1 lead. Jacob Waldren hit an RBI single and a throwing error on the same play accounted for the second run.
The Pointers hit the ball hard off of starter Ryan O'Dell in the seventh, piling up five hits to score three runs. With two outs and LeFevre (double) on second, Miller belted a RBI double to deep centerfield for the first of four straight hits.
Hinckley's bloop single made it 3-2 and he eventually came around on Mayhew's single, using a nice slide to dodge a tag in a close play at home plate. He finished with four hits.
"I saw it was going to be a tough play at the plate and I thought the catcher was going to come up for the ball, so I figured I'd go outside, jump around and swipe around with my other arm and make it harder for the kid to tag me," Hinckley said.
Domnarski wiggled out of jams in the final two innings, recording strikeouts with two runners on base in the eighth and ninth.
The Pointers (36-9) are headed to the East District tournament for the fourth time in five years. Next weekend's opponent and host had not yet been determined as of Sunday.
• Hinckley, a third baseman, was honored as the Region 21 Player of the Year. Also making the team from Avery Point were Domnarski, Miller (shortstop), Mayhew (first base), LeFevre (catcher) and designated hitter Nick DeLotto.