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MERIDEN – After Madison Legion Post 79 jumped to a three-run lead in the second inning, in part to a shaky Meriden Post 45 defense, they were able to hold off a seventh-inning surge from Meriden to win 4-2 Wednesday night at Legion Field.
Madison (9-13) still finds itself in last place of the Eastern Division in Zone 2, while Meriden (9-11) is clinging to fourth place. Post 45 has lost seven of its last eight games.
William McIntosh led off the second inning for Madison against Post 45 starter Brian Carabetta, hitting a grounder to the third baseman, who booted the ball and threw a wild ball to first. The miscue allowed McIntosh to reach second base. Josh Ross followed that up with a grounder to the pitcher, who tried to get McIntosh out at third, but he reached base safely on a fielder’s choice. After a walk to load the bases with no outs, Carabetta recovered to strike out the next two batters looking.
But the inning wasn’t over.
Tucker Godiksen hit a grounder to the shortstop, but the ball took a tough hop and wasn’t handled. The first run of the game scored on the play. The next batter was hit by a pitch to bring in the second run and William Kleinhenz hit a blooper over the second baseman’s head to drive in the third and final run of the inning.
“We made errors. Errors, errors, errors. That just kills you,” Post 45 coach Doug Wedge said. “It made our pitcher throw more than he should have and he could have went longer. They really didn’t hit very many hard balls off of Carabetta at all. It was just sloppy play.”
With Madison threatening in the top of the fifth inning against Carabetta, Wedge put in Nick Priebe. The multi-faceted player came into the game with a man on first and second, down 4-0. Despite not pitching much this season, Priebe said he was excited to head to the mound.
“I’m not really pitcher, but coach tells me what to do and I do it,” Priebe said. “I played like every position this year and if he needs me to pitch, I’m happy to do that.”
Priebe was able to stave off the threat by forcing a ground out and striking out a batter, using a newfound circle changeup, which he said he will be using more often. The right hander would go on to throw 2 2/3 innings, strike out two batters and more importantly - he didn’t give up any runs.
This allowed Meriden to stay in the game and they would not go down without a fight.
With one out in the bottom of the seventh inning, Ethan Brazel started the rally with a base hit. Jake Baker would follow that up with another single.
Then, with a man on first and third base, Carabetta brought in Post 45’s first run of the game on an RBI groundout.
Faced with two outs and two runners on base, it was up to shortstop Elliot Good to continue the threat and he came through.
After fouling off several pitches, Good ripped an RBI single to left field to make the game 4-2. But, with runners on second and third, Liam Wallace got Priebe to ground out to end the game.
Despite a forgettable game on the defensive side for Meriden, Baker provided the team with stellar defense in centerfield. Wedge called him a ‘glue guy’ and someone he doesn’t worry about when the ball is hit to him.
“Jake is a solid ball player all the way around,” Wedge said. “He is one of those kids that can play anywhere: the outfield, the infield and he can pitch. He is a very good bat and he has a good set of wheels. He is just a very good ball player.”
After winning the first game of the three-game series Tuesday, Meriden will look to win the series against Madison Thursday at 5:45 p.m. at Town Campus.