Pontbriant, Montville make quick work of Lyman Memorial
Montville — Steve Stonoha and his family had dinner plans after Montville’s baseball game against unbeaten Lyman Memorial late Wednesday afternoon.
Sophomore Griffin Pontbriant and the rest of the Indians allowed Stonoha to arrive early if he wanted.
Montville needed just one hour and 15 minutes (yes) to shut down one of the state’s only unbeaten teams, 2-1, and take sole control of first place in the Eastern Connecticut Conference Division III.
“Jeez, that’s quick,” Pontbriant said with a grin.
Montville is 9-1 overall and 4-0 in the division. The Bulldogs are 8-1, 3-1.
“I love having games like this where you find out how well your kids are going to rise to the occasion,” Stonoha said. “You find out how well they’re going to deal with pressure, games like this. You’re not going to find out how well they deal with pressure if it’s 10-0, 15-0, whatever it is.
“Yeah, I love games like this.”
Pontbriant just managed to out-do his Lyman counterpart, Patrick Quealy. Pontbriant pitched a two-hitter with nine strikeouts, no walks and no earned runs. He faced 25 batters.
“My two-seam (was working), like I’ve been doing all year,” Pontbriant said, “and then (I was) throwing my fastball when I needed to.”
Stonoha said, “It’s kind of standard for him. He throws the ball well. He has good run on his fastball, and that gives a lot of other high school teams trouble. When you can throw as hard as he can with a little run, it does pose a big threat to those hitters.”
Quealy pitched a four-hitter with six strikeouts and scored Lyman’s lone run.
“(Quealy) pitched a great game,” Lyman Memorial coach Marty Gomez said. “Unfortunately for him, we had an incident in the dugout that I had to make a change, and that kind of hurt us. Not to take away anything from Montville. Pontbriant was impressive.
“It’s a tough one for us.”
Holy Cross (10-0) of the Naugatuck Valley League is the state's lone unbeaten team.
Lyman scored first after Quealy reached first on a throwing error with two outs in the second. He stole second base and scored on an error.
Ryan Champagne doubled to lead off the Montville fourth. Nick Calash (two hits) hit a one-out triple to tie the game and scored on Keaton Sulman’s sacrifice fly to put the Indians ahead.
Pontbriant kept on slicing through Lyman. He gave up his first hit to start the fifth inning, a single by Zach Bazzano, but got Jaiden Jadczak to hit into a fielder’s choice for the force out at second. Jonah Person then grounded into a double play.
Pontbriant retired the side in order in the sixth inning, the fifth time he’d done that in the game.
The Bulldogs’ Alex Lotts hit a leadoff single in the seventh. He went to second on a throwing error with one out and to third on a fielder’s choice. Pontbriant got Bazzano to ground out to end the game.
“When both guys throw as well as their guy did and our guy did, these games happen in high school,” Stonoha said. “There’s no commercial breaks, no 500 trips to the mound, and I love it as a former pitching coach to this team.”