BASEBALL: Hitting and pitching depth has Southington riding an eight-game winning streak

SOUTHINGTON — The Southington baseball gauntlet continues.

The Blue Knights have been running over, bunting and pounding the competition. On Monday, they extended their winning streak to eight with a 19-1 five-inning, mercy-rule win over New Britain in a CCC crossover.

Southington, now 12-2 on the season, used a 10-run second inning to take control early, and the offense was plenty for starting pitcher Tyler Blumetti and three relievers.

Southington pressured New Britain all gam, bunting and stealing at every opportunity on a blustery and sun-drenched Fontana Field.

“Our motto is to hit the ball hard and hurt the baseball, and that’s it,” Southington interim coach Stan Switala said. “We are going to create havoc. That’s what we’ve been doing the last eight games.

“I told the the guys after we lost to Glastonbury 4-0 at home that we weren’t going to lose another game, and as of now it’s held its point,” the coach added.

New Britain (2-12) scratched across a run in the top of the first inning. Tyler Czeremcha grounded a RBI double down the third base line that scored Emani Gonzalez, who had led the game off with a walk.

That would be the only run for the ‘Canes, who have lost six in a row.

New Britain sophomore left-handed starter Alex Heidel was one pitch away from stranding the bases loaded in the bottom of the first, but Frank Boutot protected the plate with two strikes and lined a ball in the direction of New Britain shortstop Elian Collado.

Collado leapt, but the ball ticked off the end of his glove and into left field for a double. Manny Izzo and Jackson Rusiecki (1-for-1, 2 walks, HBP) came around to score.

Southington broke the game open in the second inning with 10 runs, capped by a three-run homer by Jaden Maia.

Caden Angelo (4-for-4) opened the frame with a double off the left field fence. Chris Magzag was then plunked while trying to square a bunt.

Angelo and Magzag took off on a double steal. The throw went to third and was errant, allowing Angelo to score as Southington went up 3-1.

Maia (3-for-3, 4 RBI, 2 runs) followed with a run-scoring single to make it 4-1. He swiped second and scored on a double off the bat of Izzo (2-for-3) that made it a 5-1 Southington advantage.

Switala said the team is constantly pressuring the opposition.

“We play for one (run) every inning, and if we get more than that we start to go,” the coach said. “If you get at least seven runs and when you have a team ERA of 1.40 you are going to win a lot of games.”

Izzo scored on a New Britain miscue off of a grounder by Justin Chiulli.

In turn, Chiulli swiped second and scored on a RBI single up the middle by Rusiecki as the Southington lead expanded to 7-1.

Southington’s first six runners reached in the frame and the first five scored.

The parade continued. Angelo had a RBI fielder’s choice and a RBI single by Magzag (2-for-2) set up Maia’s three-run bomb that sailed over the centerfield fence as Southington’s lead exploded to 12-2 after two innings.

It was Maia’s first home run of the season.

“I really didn’t think it was going to get out,” Maia said. “I caught a barrel and the wind was carrying and I was glad it went out. It feels good and hopefully there’s more to come.

“I’m glad I can help the team and, hopefully, we can keep winning. We have good pitching, really good in the field and we have to keep winning.”

Blumetti went the first 2 1/3 innings before being pulled for Aidan Buck with one out in the third. Buck went 1 1/3 innings. Braden Barron was the next pitcher in. He got the final out of the fourth inning. C.J. DiBenedetto tossed the final frame.

Boutot slugged his third double of the game in the third. The two-bagger scored Rusiecki as Southington went up 13-1.

Angelo added a two-run single as Southington went up 15-1 after three innings. By then, New Britain had made nine errors.

Barron added a sacrifice fly and Angelo chipped in with a three-run double in the fourth as Southington capped the game with a 19-1 lead.

“Everyone said we were this average team this year, but we are 12-2 and we are a pretty freaking good team right now,” Switala said. “We want to stay hot until we make the state playoffs.”

Leadoff hitter Maia and cleanup hitter Rusiecki have been two of Southington’s best hitters all season, but Boutot has given a major boost to the Southington offense with his three doubles and a massive game on Saturday against Notre Dame-West Haven, when he hit two home runs in an 8-1 win over the Green Knights.

Southington hit four home runs in that game — two by Boutot and one apiece from Chiulli and Angelo.

“Coach Stan is always boasting after I get a big hit,” Boutot said. “He always says, ‘That’s why I called him up.’”

Vin Borghese earned the pitching win on Saturday, allowing just three hits and one unearned run over six innings. He struck out five and walked four.

Boutot was called up from JV after hitting a walkoff homer at the JV level earlier this season. With the varsity squad, he is hitting over .500.

“He’s raking the ball and we are strong one through nine,” Switala said. “Our No. 3 hitter is laying down a bunt. We are getting production from different people every game.”


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