MERIDEN – Accompanied by rain for most of the night, the Record-Journal Expos hosted People’s United Bank in a Thursday evening Greater Hartford Twilight Baseball matchup.
Though they were able to get through the majority of the game, it was called in after the top of the sixth and though the Peoples United Bank team put up a fight in the latter innings, the Expos led wire to wire and after the game was within reach, opened it back up late to finish off the night with a 9-6 six inning victory at Ceppa Field.
“Once the game got started, what’s the point of stopping,” Expos manager Charlie Hesseltine said. “This should be normal weather for baseball. If it was raining harder yeah I’d understand suspended it but light drizzle all night there’s nothing too major. I consider that still baseball weather.”
The Expos (5-4) scored in bunches. Every inning they scored in, they put up multiple runs starting with the second. A hit batter, a drawn walk and a poorly fielded single loaded the bases with just one out in the bottom of the inning. The Expos’ first two runs came courtesy of a throwing error from People’s United Bank’s shortstop and a sacrifice fly on back-to-back at bats.
After being hit by a pitch, Jack Rich loaded the bases once again and the Expos scored their third run of the inning on a wild pitch that rolled back to the fence.
The bottom of the third was much of the same as the Expos offense continued to roll. They collected hits, walks and capitalized on timely errors to send 10 to the plate and score four runs in the inning extending their lead to 7-0.
“We drew a lot of walks and hit runners in pretty well,” Hesseltine said. We were able to put up nine runs today, and we got four or five in the third inning which helped.”
While the offense produced the defense kept the opposition in check as Justin Marks faced the minimum in three out of the first four innings.
Things did get dicey for the lefty in the fifth. Three hits, a throwing error and two straight walks compounded on top of each other in six straight batters resulting in a 7-3 game before they could get the second out of the inning. An RBI single and a walk from consecutive batters pushed the People’s United Bank’s last two runs of the inning home and just like that it was a 7-5 ballgame.
Kyle Hartenstein led off the bottom of the fifth with a single then stole his way around the bases and was standing on third looking to shift the momentum back in the Expos’ way with no outs.
A Rich double knocked him in, 8-5, and he swiped third a few pitches later. He scored the team’s final run on a groundout that was the Expos first out of the inning.
People’s United Bank looked to create some more drama in the top of the sixth after the second batter of the inning reached on a single then promptly found himself on third after two straight wild pitches. He scored in the next at bat to make it a 9-6 game. That is as close as they would get as the Expos stopped any ideas of a run.
Kameron Hartenstein gunned down a runner trying to steal second and Marks finished the game off with a strikeout to secure the 9-6 Expos’ victory.