Montville freshman Pontbriant dominates No. 2 Waterford 7-1

Waterford — To that point, freshman Griffin Pontbriant had retired 17 straight hitters. His team had a 7-0 lead. And still, he had no idea he was three outs away from a no-hitter.

"No clue," Pontbriant said later. "If I did, I'd have been more nervous."

Turned out Pontbriant didn't make Montville High School history on Wednesday afternoon. But coming close was plenty sufficient. He finished with a one-hitter, leading the Indians to a 7-1 win over No. 2 Waterford in Division II of the Eastern Connecticut Conference.

It was Montville's second win in as many weeks over a team ranked in the top five of the GameTimeCT top 10 poll. The Indians beat then No. 3 Holy Cross the previous week.

Walker Sutman opened the seventh with a ground ball that forced first baseman John Domijan a few steps to his right. Domijan fumbled it momentarily, allowing Sutman to reach. It was immediately declared a hit over the public address system, although there was some question as to whether it was an error.

After the game, Waterford coach Art Peluso said there was "no way" that was a hit. Nick Porazzi, however, ended all doubt with a clean RBI single to right three batters later. Peluso also acknowledged Sutman's grounder was changed to an error.

Pontbriant struck out six and walked two.

"(Pitching) coach (Mitch) Furber called two-seamers and sliders all day," Montville coach Steve Stonoha said. "If you get in the box against that two-seamer, you'd see it's a pretty dominant pitch. Especially for a freshman."

Montville catcher Ryan Champagne called Pontbriant's two-seamer "deadly."

Peluso said, "He just throws strikes. You've got to put the ball in play against him. Hard. We didn't do that."

The Indians led 1-0 into the fifth. Rob Delacruz's RBI double off Sutman made it 2-0. Sutman lasted five innings, struck out seven and walked two, hitting as high as 88 on the speed gun.

In the sixth, Montville chased Sutman and essentially ended the game. Jacob Plikus hit a three-run homer to make it 5-0, followed by Doug Delacruz's two-run shot to right center. Delacruz finished with three hits, three runs scored and two RBI.

"I think this was a bigger win for us than beating Holy Cross last week," Champagne said. "Waterford got us twice last year and earlier this year. We owed them one. We played angry today."

The Indians are 8-3 overall and 3-2 in the division.

"There wasn't a lot of energy today," Peluso said of his team that's 9-2, 4-2. "We saw this last year in the ECC quarterfinals. Sometimes, this kind of game can be a good reality check."

m.dimauro@theday.com

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