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East Lyme wins a marathon with 15-inning baseball victory Fitch

Groton — A day earlier, Nate Licitra knew what his Tuesday would look like: In the bullpen and unlikely to pitch during his team's baseball game in the afternoon, but likely done in time for a Zoom call related to some college scholarship money in early evening.

"Nate asked me about it (Monday) and I told him we'd probably be done with the game by 6," East Lyme coach Jack Biggs said with a wry grin, knowing that this game hadn't even cleared its throat by 6 Tuesday night.

And so there was Licitra, in the middle of what would be a scoreless and victorious 8.1 innings of relief, behind the dugout taking his Zoom call while the Vikings were hitting in the 10th inning. (And then back out there for the bottom of the inning.)

"Amazing stuff," Biggs said about his pitcher, although he could have referred to his team's 8-4, 15-inning win over Fitch, a 3-hour, 39- minute test of endurance in Division I of the Eastern Connecticut Conference.

"I didn't really un-focus while I was on the Zoom," said Licitra, a lefty headed to Eastern Connecticut. "I just kind of focused on a different thing."

The Vikings (3-1, 3-1), led 4-0 into the bottom of the sixth, appearing on the way to giving Licitra, who wasn't even in the game yet, plenty of time for some Zoom privacy. But that's when Fitch (3-1, 3-1) rallied for four runs, all charged to starter Jake Lillie, who was barely challenged to that point.

Matt Robinson's two-out bloop triple eventually tied the game, leading to a pair of relief pitching treasures from Licitra (8.1 scoreless innings, nine strikeouts) and Fitch sophomore Dylan Meyer (7.2 scoreless innings, nine strikeouts.)

"You don't ever prepare for anything like this," Fitch coach Brian McGugan said. "It becomes a batter-by-batter thing. Dylan pitched a whole game and was unbelievably good. I wish we could have won it for him."

They nearly did a few times in extra innings.

But the Vikings scored four times in the 15th, long after the lights had been turned on for a game that began at 3:57 p.m. in 65-degree, sunny weather.

Aidan Ellis' RBI single snapped the 4-4 tie. East Lyme made it 6-4 on a throwing error and later 8-4 on Matt Bradley's two-run hit to right.

"We learned today that we can be a resilient team," Biggs said. "We talked about some things in practice (Monday). We talked about being gamers. We were gamers today."

Owen Elmer and Ben Sartori had multi-hit games for the Vikings, while Anthony Franco had two hits for Fitch.

"We're working on a lot of things at the plate," McGugan said. "We had a lot of opportunities today."

m.dimauro@theday.com

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