AMERICAN LEGION BASEBALL: Meriden Post 45 advances in Regional tourney with 7-6 win over Greenwich

MERIDEN – After nearly 24 hours between pitches due to severe thunderstorms, Meriden left Legion Field on Wednesday with a walk-off 7-6 victory in eight innings over Greenwich.

Max Giacco took the mound in relief of Wes Deno and handled business as he was able to retire the side.

“I didn’t want to mess up Wes’s start,” said Giacco. “I just went out there and threw strikes and I had some guys to make plays behind me.

Already facing one out, Evan Avery stepped up to plate looking to get on base. Avery did just that, launching a ball deep into left field before racing around second and safely into third.

“When I was rounding second, I’ve always been a pretty quick guy so I knew I could definitely get three so I went and it paid off,” said Avery.

Following the intentional walks of Andrew McCarty and Ethan Brazel to load the bases with one out, Evan Cordero was destined to be the contest’s hero.

Cordero poked the ball to left side, enough to get Brazel out at second but not in time to catch Cordero hustling through first base as Avery crossed the plate to win the game.

Giacco, who started on the mound for Meriden in extra innings, also ignited the offense by drawing a walk at the start of the game, yesterday.

“We came out swinging early,” said Giacco. “We put bats on balls and executed when we had to.”

Avery’s hit did not come as a surprise to anyone spectating as he also drove a ball deep to left for a double to plate Giacco in the first.

“We started off hot and kept it through the whole game and we came out strong today on a new day and had a better approach,” said Avery.

“Evan Avery’s been big for us all year,” said Meriden coach Mark Kszywanos. “He is our Rickey Henderson, when he gets on, we go.”

Greenwich eventually took a 6-4 lead in the top of the sixth when George Bancroft roped a single to center to bring Zola and Mondschein home, both reaching on singles prior to Bancroft’s at-bat.

Meriden was able to get to Greenwich quickly in the bottom of the sixth as Giacco lined a double down the left field line which was followed by Javon Malone drawing a walk. Andrew McCarty then delivered a clutch at bat with bases loaded, poking one through to right field to plate Haniewski and Giacco to tie the game.

After a scoreless seventh inning, the game was sent to extra innings tied 6-6 but not before being postponed for inclement weather.

“I told them that they were well prepared, that they know how to win and that this will be a short event,” said Kszywanos. “They got out of the inning, Max pitched very well, they made plays when they had to, I’m very proud of this team.”

With the walk-off win, Meriden’s postseason run will continue as they host NCL at 5:45 p.m. on Thursday at Legion Field.

Greenwich looks to stay alive as they head to Wallingford, also at 5:45 p.m. on Thursday at Pat Wall Field.

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