MERIDEN — Simsbury’s Jacob Williams had big day at the dish and Post 84 pitcher Evan Odegard tossed a complete-game gem as Meriden Post 45 absorbed a 6-1 loss in a Zone 1 American Legion contest at Legion Field on Tuesday night.
Simsbury (2-3) scored three in the first and never looked back as Meriden had a modest two-game winning streak snapped and fell to 2-3.
Meriden opened the season with losses to Bristol (8-1) and Torrington (11-6), then rebounded with a 5-3 win over Bristol last Thursday and defeated Simsbury 4-3 on Sunday.
Max Giacco pitched Meriden to victory in that Sunday game and went 2-for-4 at the plate. Luis Delgado was 3-for-4.
Tuesday was a different story.
Simsbury scored three runs in the top of the first against Silver City southpaw Connor Bennett. All three runs came with two outs.
Bennett retired the first two hitters without issue until Post 84 ripped off four straight hits and put aboard five straight baserunners.
Nolan Conderino and Luke Guyer started the rally with singles. Then Williams slugged a doubled to center that scored both Conderino and Guyer.
It was the first of three doubles on the night for Williams, who went 3-for-4 and drove in four runs.
Colby Wilhelm followed with an infield single to extend the rally. The third run of the frame scored on the next play off of a Meriden error.
Meriden answered with a run in the bottom of the third. Alex Owen led off the frame with a double to right. Two batters later, Giacco laced a RBI single to center to cut the Simsbury lead to 3-1.
Odegard retired the final two batters to prevent any other damage.
Post 45 threatened in the fourth, loading the bases with two outs on walks to Dylan Gay and Sam Giacco and an infield single by Owen. But Odegard nduced a fly out to end it.
Simsbury tacked on an unearned run in the top of the fifth to make it 4-1. Again, it was Williams with the big hit. Simsbury’s No. 5 hitter slugged a double to left to chase home Conderino, who had reached on an error.
An inning later, Bennett was pulled with two on and two outs in the sixth as Meriden head coach Doug Wedge handed the ball to Bruce Candelora. The Platt product ended the inning with one pitch on a liner to right.
Bennett took the loss going 5 2/3 innings, allowing four runs on six hits and two walks. He fanned four.
“After our first inning, Connor threw the ball pretty well,” said Wedge. “He hasn’t thrown the ball all spring and this is only his second start. We are shaking rust off of him still.”
Simsbury added two more runs in the seventh to cap the 6-1 decision. Williams belted his third double of the game to drive in one run. Wilhelm added a sacrifice fly.
Odegard improved to 1-0 on the season. He alllowed the one run on three hits, two walks and one hit better. The righty fanned six.
“Our team played outstanding. I asked my guys to come out and play a clean game on defense and we’ve done that the last few games,” Simsbury coach Brian Odegard said. “We’ve struggled a little with our hitting, but I told them if we play defense our hitting will come around.
“We got some hitting tonight with a solid outing from my starter. That’s a recipe for winning at any time.”
Wedge said his talented, yet inexperienced Meriden team is going to have nights like Tuesday. Alex Owen and Delgado both hit doubles for Post 45.
“We let them jump up and get the three. I thought we could answer back, but we didn’t hit the ball that well today,” Wedge said. “These are young guys as far as Legion experience. They have to learn how to handle adversity and push back. They got the three in the first inning and, after that, they were quiet and that was our chance to get something back and we didn’t do it.
“Growing pains — and there are going to be nights like this. There are going to be nights that are worse than this. We just have to keep learning and growing.”