SOUTHINGTON — As advertised … and more. A lot more.
In a clash of CCC West unbeatens at Fontana Field on Tuesday afternoon, the Southington and Glastonbury baseball teams matched zeros until Colby Seymour’s one-out home run in the top of the 13th inning lifted the Tomahawks to an epic 1-0 victory.
In a game that lasted 3 hours and 40 minutes under Tuesday’s bright blue skies, both teams had multiple chances to score what could have been a winning run despite a combined 29 strikeouts.
In the end, it was Glastonbury (5-0) that remained undefeated, while Southington fell to 5-1.
“Sometimes you just have to tip your hat to the other team,” Southington head coach Charlie Lembo said. “That was like a state tournament game, right there. That’s two good teams. They just hit the home run.”
“It was a hard-fought baseball game,” Glastonbury head coach Dennis Accomando said. “They could have easily won that game multiple times and we could have won that game multiple times.
“We respect them,” Accomando added. “That’s a team that is going to go deep into the state tournament, for sure.”
After the teams left 22 runners on base through 12 innings, Seymour’s home run finally broke the scoreless affair.
Brendan Kavanagh allowed Seymour’s blast, but Kavanagh — along with three other Southington relievers — continued the strong effort that Southington junior Jake Neuman started on the mound.
Neuman allowed just four singles over the first 6 1/3 innings. The Blue Knights’ bullpen gave up just three more hits the rest of the way.
On the other side, Glastonbury seniors Jack DiLauro and Michael Feeney combined to allow eight Southington singles.
In what was one of Glastonbury’s best chances to score to that point, Kavanagh came on in the ninth inning with Tomahawks on first and second with no outs. Needless to say, he worked out of the inning without allowing a run.
Kavanagh’s first delivery was to second base, as he picked off Luke Stephens. Kavanaugh then struck out Max Jinjika looking and ended the frame by getting Tony Pellegato on a harmless fly ball to center fielder Andrew Paradis.
Making just his second appearance of the season, Kavanagh worked three more scoreless innings before Seymour’s towering fly ball cleared the center field fence some 360 feet from home plate.
“I think Glastonbury is a great team and I think we are also a great team,” Kavanaugh said. “I think our mental game wasn’t there today. We are going to bounce back tomorrow for sure (against Farmington) and get our heads back in the game.
“Honestly, going in, I was just trying to pump strikes and keep the team in the game,” Kavanaugh added. “I thought I had a good outing. I’m not worried about the home run at all. I gave the team a chance to win.”
“I was just looking for something to put in play,” Seymour said. “I wasn’t looking for anything big, but obviously the home run was big. I actually thought it was a popup and I was hoping for the best.”
Glastonbury’s failed suicide squeeze in the 11th, followed by a diving catch on the center field warning track by Paradis in the 12th, kept the game scoreless going into the 13th.
The Blue Knights best chance to score in extra innings came in the 12th.
Billy Carr legged out an infield single with one out, but he was picked off first base before Paradis reached on an error.
With two outs, Neuman dropped in a single to left behind Paradis to put Blue Knights at first and second. Southington couldn’t capitalize, however, as Jake Romano’s line drive was caught for the third out at second base.
Southington also left the bases loaded in the fourth inning. That was the only real trouble DiLauro, Glastonbury’s starter, got into over seven innings of work. The senior, who is on his way to Holy Cross, ended the fourth with one of his 12 strikeouts.
DiLauro hasn’t allowed a run in three starts this season. He tossed a no-hitter in his first start against Farmington and now has 34 strikeouts on the season. His fastball was clocked at 85 mph Tuesday.
DiLauro allowed just four Southington hits. He walked three and hit a batter.
DiLauro gave way to fellow Freeney (6 IP, 6 strikeouts) and the two combined to limit the Blue Knights to eight singles. Kyle Leifert had three of those hits. He was the only Blue Knight with multiple hits.
Glastonbury’s bats were just as quiet. Neuman allowed just one hit over his first five innings and left after 6 1/3. He got out of a bases-loaded jam in the sixth inning with his fifth and final strikeout before giving way to Vinny Spizzoucco in the seventh.
Spizzoucco came on with a runner at first and promptly got a double play to get out of the inning.
“I knew it was going to be a good game going in,” Neuman said. “We have to learn from this and keep going. We are going to bounce back and beat Farmington.”
Ironically, the Blue Knight had roughed up DiLauro last season, tagging him for eight runs in one inning of a 12-0 win. This year, however, DiLauro was sharp from the onset.
The right-hander struck out the side in the second inning and had two punch-outs in the first and third innings as well. After Southington failed to score in the fourth, DiLauro struck out two more Blue Knights in the fifth and got his 12th strikeout in the seventh inning.
“Talk about a full-circle moment (for Jack),” Accomando said. “Today meant a little bit more to him. He took it as a challenge. But this game was about Jack proving he’s a state-tournament pitcher. He wanted the ball and we wanted him to have the ball.”
“I wanted to win this game really bad (after last year),” DiLauro said. “We wanted to prove ourselves; that we can hang with the big guys. We aren’t going to think about last year. We are here to prove ourselves this year.”
“It was a quick game — for a while,” Lembo said. “Both (starting) pitchers were throwing great. Both starters did a great job of throwing strikes.”
“We knew it was going to be a battle. Neuman vs. DiLauro: Everyone wanted that matchup,” Accomando said.
Lembo couldn’t recall a high school game that entered the 13th inning scoreless. And while the outcome wasn’t what he wanted, he was pleased with his team’s effort.
“I’m not upset at all with the way we played. We could have had some better approaches at the plate, but we made enough plays to win,” Lembo said.