By MATT HORNICK
BRISTOL - Momentum was not enough for the Bristol Blues on Wednesday night as they hosted the Danbury Westerners.
Entering the game with wins in six of their last eight games, Bristol struggled both offensively and defensively at home in a 10-2 loss. The Blues are 1-5 against Danbury this season as their record falls to 10-21 on the season, maintaining last place in the NECBL Southern Division two games behind the Ocean State Waves.
Both teams committed four errors in this game, but Bristol failed to capitalize on offense the same as Danbury. Blues starting pitcher Mark Faello left the game with four runs on the board, but only one of them was earned. The Westerners finished the game with five runs each earned and unearned.
“We had guys a little out of position tonight and after a long road trip to Martha’s Vineyard yesterday and a long day, they might have been dragging a little bit,” interim coach and pitching coach Jordie Scheiner said. “[Errors are] one of those things that has been a part of this team since the beginning and occasionally finds its way back.”
Danbury opened the scoring with a pair of unearned runs in the top of the second starting with catcher Luke Shliger reaching first base off a fielding error from Bristol second baseman Tyson Cooper. Shliger moved to third over the next two at bats and then scored on a wild pitch from Faella. Jake Roper scored the second run on a throwing error from Bristol third baseman Nate Vigeant whose throw to end the inning soared high of first baseman Brennan Dorighi.
The Blues put themselves in prime position to answer back in the bottom of the second after loading the bases with one out, but failed to put any runs on the board after consecutive singles from catcher Chad Knight, Cooper and Vigeant.
The Westerners added another run in the third off a single from Banks Griffith that drove in Justin Jordan. They threatened to add more as a single and a walk loaded the bases with no outs, but Faello successfully stranded all three runners, getting the next three batters out including two strikeouts.
“I think Mark did a pretty good job, even though errors were made, of keeping guys to only one base [at a time],” Scheiner said. “He didn’t walk too many guys and he kept us in the game even if he had to throw an extra five, 10, 15 pitches an inning.”
A one-out single from Mark Coley ended with Bristol scoring its first run of the day as a walk moved him to second and then a single from Anthony Galason brought him home.
Danbury scored its third unearned run against Faello in the top of the fourth as Jordan reached first on an error from Dorighi and then scored on Vigeant’s second error of the day. Both errors came after Faello got the first two hitters of the inning out and a ground rule double from Griffith put two runners in scoring position.
The Blues took an unearned run back in the fourth inning as an error from Danbury shortstop Cameron Norgren allowed Austin White to score from second base.
Faello put two runners on base to start the sixth inning before being replaced by Chas Cywin. Cywin got his first batter out before a passed ball from Chad Knight allowed Roper to score from third. Matt Zafino moved to third on the passed ball and scored a second unearned run of the sixth inning for Danbury on a fielder's choice when the Blues unsuccessfully tried to end the inning with a double play.
Nick Lorusso’s single drove in Griffith, which improved Danbury’s lead to 7-2 in the sixth inning.
“When your starter gives up four runs and all of them are unearned, at that point it’s a little tough,” Scheiner said. “I think later in the game what killed us was walking guys and a couple base hits.”
The Westerners added three in the top of the ninth to insulate their lead and pull further away from the Blues. Bristol pitcher Marc Mendel had two wild pitches with runners on third base and a single from Jordan added the other run.
The Blues loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the ninth but failed to add any runs, finishing the game with two runs in the loss.
The Blues will travel to Holyoke, Massachusetts on Thursday for a double-header against the Valley Blue Sox, a team Bristol is yet to beat this year through four games. The Blue Sox hold second place in the NECBL’s Southern Division.
Matt Hornick can be reached at (860) 973-1811 or firstname.lastname@example.org.