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East Haven — Reliever Eddie Santiago struck out the final batter of the game with the tying run on third base to preserve 18th-seeded New London High School's 5-4 victory over No. 15 East Haven in the first round of the CIAC Class L baseball tournament on Monday.
It was the sixth straight win for the Whalers (11-10), who visit No. 2 Law today in Milford for a second-round game at 3:30 p.m.
Josh Vincent pitched six innings for the win, striking out six.
The Whalers trailed 2-0 early before scoring three runs on five hits in the fourth inning to take lead for good. Jason Edwards knocked in the first two runs with a base hit and Vincent doubled home the go-ahead run with two outs. A sacrifice fly by Quantique White extended the lead to 4-2 an inning later and after East Haven scored in the bottom of the fifth to make it 4-3, Beckett Scannelli scored on a passed ball in the sixth to push New London back up by two, 4-2.
Brian Cespedes had two hits and scored a run for the Whalers.
In other state tournament games:
• No. 17 East Lyme jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning and went on to beat No. 16 Middletown 7-3 in the Class L first round. Connor Elliott went 3-for-3 with three RBI while Dean Beebe was 2-for-3 with two RBI and Austin Toback scored three runs for the Vikings (13-10). Winning pitcher Will Butler allowed five hits in five innings and struck out seven for East Lyme, which plays at No. 1 Berlin today in the second round.
• Kyle Haney pitched a complete-game five-hitter, striking out nine and walking three, as No. 17 Ledyard edged No. 16 Sheehan 3-2 in the Class M first round. Jordan Kowalski was 3-for-3 with an RBI and Anthony Viteritto and Evan August each added an RBI for Ledyard (14-8), which took a 2-0 lead with a run in the first and one in the third. The Colonels play in the second round today at No. 1 Rocky Hill.
• No. 5 Waterford scored seven runs in the second inning to break open the Class M game, beating No. 28 Hartford University/Classical 10-1 in the first round. Thomas Sutera (4-3) pitched a complete game, allowing four hits, Connor Lewis had a single, home run and two RBI while Seth Hoagland and Adam Goss each added two RBI for the Lancers (20-4). Waterford hosts No. 12 St. Joseph today in the second round.
• No. 4 Montville built a six-run lead and held on for a 6-5 win over No. 29 Woodland in the Class M first round. Jordan Zeppieri's RBI double and Tom McDonald's RBI single handed the Indians a 2-0 lead in the first inning while Steve Rogers' bases-loaded triple highlighted a four-run third inning. Winning pitcher Greg Benjamin pitched three innings to earn his first win, allowing just one run after entering the game with the bases loaded and nobody out in the fifth. Montville (19-4) hosts No. 20 Northwestern Regional, the 2013 Class M runner-up, in today's second round.
• Willie Rios (6-0) allowed two hits and struck out 13 over six innings to help No. 10 St. Bernard beat No. 23 Hartford Sports Science 9-0 in a Class S first-round game at Dodd Stadium. Patrick Halloran went 2-for-4 with three RBI while James Foti added a single and two RBI and Rios had a double, RBI and scored two runs for the Saints (14-7). St. Bernard visits No. 7 Somers today in the second round.
• No. 25 Old Lyme scored two runs in the first inning and one in the sixth in a 3-0 win over No. 8 Housatonic in the Class S first round. Winning pitcher Will Visgilio allowed two hits while striking out four and walking one while Billy Buscetto, Dave Peck and Ross Golebiewski had two hits apiece for the Wildcats (10-12). Old Lyme plays at No. 9 Westbrook today in the second round.
• Merlyn Herrera pitched a complete-game six-hitter for No. 8 Cheney Tech in a 5-4 victory over No. 25 Fitch in the Class L first round. Herrera struck out seven and walked none. Justin Marceau had two hits and two runs for Fitch (9-12) and Dan Mewha was 2-for-3 and also pitched six innings, allowing just four hits.
• No. 14 Norwich Free Academy managed just five hits in a 6-0 loss to No. 19 West Haven in the Class LL first round. Eddie Gates had a single and double and Caleb Bierman added two hits for the Wildcats (12-10).