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AMERICAN LEGION 2012

Westies end season with doubleheader loss to North Haven
Campaign ends with 4-19 record
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
WEST HAVEN (July 19, 2012)
– On the last day of the regular season, the North Haven Post 76 baseball team needed to win one of two games against West Haven Post 71 to qualify for the postseason.
Behind the pitching of Nicky Nieves and the hitting of Neftali Arroyo, North Haven defeated West Haven 3-0 in the opening game of an American Legion Zone II doubleheader at Piurek Field. The win allowed North Havento improve to 14-9 and it also allowed the team to play free of pressure in the second game as it looked to improve its seeding in the tournament.
“We grinded it out,” North Haven coach Charlie Flanagan said. “We got a great hit by Neftali Arroyo and Nicky Nieves pitched great. He was tremendous. He got ahead of the hitters and we made every play behind him.”
Nieves was stellar in the clinching victory as he allowed just Jack Lubin’s leadoff single in the second, walked one and struck out four.
“Before every game, I talk to myself and stay loose,” Nieves said. “I don’t feel any pressure. I felt great out there.
“I was focused on the team getting in. We seem to be in this situation every year. It is always the same thing. Sometimes we may be rough around the edges, but we get it done in the end.”
Nieves retired the side in order in five of the seven innings and finished the game by retiring the last 11 batters. The last batter to reach against Nieves was Matt Gagne with a walk in the fourth, but Gagne was erased by catcher Mike DeRosa trying to steal second.
Nieves’ toughest inning came in the second but he escaped without any runs. Lubin singled, moved to second on Eric Flores’ sacrifice and third when Mark Laoue reached on Chandler Andrewsen’s error at third. Nieves got out of the inning by getting Alex Scranton on a grounder to Andrewsen. 
North Haven ended West Haven's season with an 8-2 victory in the nightcap.

North Haven holds off Westies
Late rally falls short in 3-1 loss
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
WEST HAVEN (July 16, 2012)
– If the North Haven Post 76 baseball team was showing signs of feeling the pressure heading into the final week of the season, the team did a good job of hiding it. Scoring three times in the first inning and riding the pitching of Juliano Nieves, North Haven defeatedWest Haven 3-1 in an American Legion Zone II contest Monday evening at Piurek Field.
With the win, Post 76 improved to 12-9 and needs to win two of the final three games to qualify for the postseason tournament. West Haven dropped to 4-17 with the loss.
“We played one inning of baseball tonight and won,” North Haven coach Charlie Flanagan said. “We were fortunate they did not take advantage.
“We are loose right now. We are taking it one game at a time. The problem with us is we are inconsistent. The inconsistency is killing us.”
North Haven started the game on the right foot against West Haven Post 71 starting pitcher Jack Lubin. With one out, Christian Karnauchov singled, Neftali Arroyo walked and Jake DeRosa singled to load the bases.
Lubin then walked Troy Sundwall to force in Karnauchov for a 1-0 lead. Knowing Lubin had to throw a strike, Vinny Cretella laced a single to score Arroyo and DeRosa for a 3-0 lead. 
Read the rest of this article in the Milford-Orange Bulletin 
here

Offensive
Westies shut down again in 4-0 loss toMilford
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(July 15, 2012)
– West Haven coach George Chambrelli has been waiting for his team to snap out of its offensive funk all summer. With three games left in the regular season, Chambrelli may have to wait a little longer.
Shut down by Milford’s Cody Hadden, West Haven was shut out 4-0 Sunday morning at Foran High in an American Legion Zone II contest. West Havenfell to 4-16 on the season, while Milford improved to 16-6 and remains in the hunt for first place.
“It’s not the talent that bothers me,” Chambrelli said. “It is more of the approach. We are looking for the wrong pitches at the wrong time.
“With a 2-0 count, we are taking fastballs. When we are behind in the count, we are looking for fastballs instead of looking off speed. It is the approach which needs to change.”
Tyler Gambardella was the bright spot on offense for West Haven Post 71 as Gambardella had three singles in three at bats and also stole three bases.
Other than Gambardella, Mark Laoue had the only other West Haven hit as Hadden tossed a complete game four-hitter, striking out nine and walking four. Hadden ran into trouble in the third inning as West Haven loaded the bases with two outs on Gambardella’s single and a pair of walks, but escaped with no damage as he struck out Eric Flores to end the frame.
Hadden stranded Gambardella who had singled in the first, watched as Laoue was caught stealing by Shawn Cariglio in the second after a one-out single and again stranded Gambardella, who had singled in the fifth.
“I am disappointed with the loss,” Chambrelli said. “Their pitcher (Hadden) pitched well for them and John Carrano pitched well for us. It was a well pitched game.
“They had one outburst and we could not contain them. They scored four runs in the inning and this year, that is too much to overcome.”
Milford scored the only runs of the game in the fifth inning off Carrano with a two-out rally. With two outs and a runner on first, Carrano issued a walk then watched as Cariglio laced a two-run double to give Milford a 2-0 lead.
Carrano pitched well for West Haven, allowing five hits, walking four and striking out three.
“John Carrano had a pretty good line,” Chambrelli said. “He only had one inning where he gave up runs.”

Sloppy Westies fall to Milford
Post 71 drops 4-1 decision
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
WEST HAVEN (July 14, 2012)
– In the middle of a playoff race, the Milford Post 196 American Legion baseball team knows it needs contributions from everyone on the roster over the last handful of regular season games. Coach Cliff Bugyi got that exact formula Saturday morning.
Behind the six-hit pitching of Matt Ferraiolo, two hits and a key sacrifice bunt from Taylor Biagioni and a clutch hit from Nick Pinto, Milforddefeated West Haven 4-1 in an American Legion Zone II contest at Piurek Field in West Haven.
“We want to win the zone,” Bugyi said. “We want to win every game. We want to go out and win and see if we can win the zone. That is our goal.”
With the win, Milford improved to 15-5, keeping pace with zone leader,Orange, as well as Branford and East Haven. West Haven fell to 4-15.
“I thought we got a lot of contributions today,” Bugyi said. “Taylor Biagioni did a nice job. He got the two hits and a nice bunt. Nick Pinto had an RBI single. That was a big play in the last inning. We go into the bottom of the inning up three instead of two. That’s big.”
Ferraiolo was the key to the game for Milford as he allowed just one earned run, struck out nine, walked one and hit a batter. When West Haven rallied, Ferraiolo got out of the jams, which proved to be big in the end as Milfordwas without three starting players in Christian Baglini, Joe Zanghi and Ed Michaud.
“It was just business as usual,” Ferraiolo said of pitching with a few players short. “It is not like we have players that aren’t good. Everyone does their job.
Read the rest of this article in the Milford-Orange Bulletin 
here


Westies defeat Stratford
Offense finally in sync in 10-0 win
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(July 13, 2012)
– It may have taken 18 games but the West Haven Post 71 American legion baseball team finally had a big inning. With a previous high of scoring two runs in an inning this year, West Haven exploded for seven runs in the sixth inning, defeating Stratford 10-0 at Penders Field inStratford in an American Legion Zone II contest Friday evening.
“We definitely needed that offensively,” West Haven coach George Chambrelli said. “It was a close game until the sixth inning. Everything just worked out in the inning.
“We did a good job working the counts. We got some hits and some walks and the outs we made were productive outs. We got some two-out hits and walks.”
Before the seven-run inning, the game remained close, with West Havenpitcher Tyler Gambardella keeping Stratford off the scoreboard. Gambardella had a brilliant performance on the mound as he tossed a complete game, allowing just two hits, striking out six and walking three.
Gambardella took a perfect game into the fourth with two outs beforeStratford broke up the bid for perfection. The West Haven pitcher did not allow a runner past second base and struck out the final three batters of the game after a leadoff single in the seventh.
“Tyler dominated tonight,” Chambrelli said. “He was really good the last time he pitched against them as well, going ten innings in a 1-0 loss. The difference was tonight we got him some runs.”
West Haven took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Gambardella opened with a single, moved to second on an error and scored on Alex Palmieri’s single. After Gambardella singled but was stranded on base in the third, West Haven took a 3-0 lead with two runs in the fifth.
Mark Laoue and Alex Scranton opened with one-out singles and Laoue scored on Gambardella’s fielder’s choice. Palmieri reached on an error to score Gambardella and West Haven had some breathing room.
“There was no quit in this team,” Chambrelli said. “It is nice. It is a change of pace.”
Post 71 (4-14) snapped a six-game losing skid and broke the game open in the sixth with the big inning. Wes Gambardella started the inning with a single, stole second, was followed by a walk to Eric Flores and scored on Danny Chambrelli’s single.
Dan Brennan was hit by a pitch to load the bases and Jamie Brown followed with a double to score Flores and Danny Chambrelli for a 6-0 lead. Tyler Gambardella’s sacrifice fly scored Brennan and Palmieri’s sacrifice fly scored Brown.
“It was nice to go through the order,’ George Chambrelli said. “Our previous high was two runs in an inning. We needed it. I just wish it came earlier in the season. 
Tyler Gambardella and Wes Gambardella led the offense as each had two hits. Tyler Gambardella scored a run and drove in two while Wes Gambardella had a stolen base and a run scored. 

Westies fall to Milford
Lack of offense hurts in 11-1 loss
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(July 12, 2012)
– The West Haven American Legion baseball team was hoping to play the role of spoiler in the last handful of games in the regular season. That role did not get off to a good start Thursday evening. 
Behind the solid pitching of Jake Saley and an offense that scored in every inning but the first and fifth, Milford easily defeated West Haven 11-1 in an American Legion Zone II contest at Foran High Thursday evening. 
With the loss, West Haven fell to 3-14. Milford kept pace with Orange, Branford and East Haven in the battle for the zone title, improving to 15-3. 
“You would think it would help us,” West Haven coach George Chambrelli said of playing teams battling for the postseason. “We have a chance, being out of the tournament, to be the spoiler. Usually, when you are out of the tournament, you are playing meaningless games. 
“With games against Milford and North Haven, they need these games. The fact we can play spoiler would be a nice way to end our season.”
West Haven had only two scoring opportunities off Saley as the Milford pitcher allowed seven hits, three coming in the seventh inning. 
Trailing 11-0 in the last inning, J.P. Withington led off with a double, Jack Lubin hit a pinch-hit single and Eric Flores walked to load the bases. Danny Chambrelli picked up his second hit of the game, knocking in Withington, but Lubin was thrown out at the plate. 
Milford used a strikeout and a fielder’s choice to get out of the inning and end the game. 
“Danny Chambrelli has been playing unbelievable with his defense and at the plate,” George Chambrelli said. “He is four for his last six in his last six at bats. He is seeing the ball really well and he is hitting it well. He is acting like a team leader. He is keeping everybody involved. 
“Matt Gagne is also swinging the bat well lately and he is playing the field well. He is doing a nice job for us.”
West Haven’s only other scoring opportunity came in the first inning. With two outs, Matt Gagne and Withington  singled, but Saley got out of further trouble when he got Wes Gambardella to ground to short for the final out of the inning. 
Saley was never in trouble again until the seventh. He pitched to just four batters in the second and pitched to just three batters in each of the third, fourth, fifth and sixth innings. 
“We are playing for pride as always,” George Chambrelli said. “It is the end of the season. We are playing teams which need to win. If we can knock one of those teams out, that would make our season.”
Milford took the lead early in the game and never looked back. Post 196 scored twice in the second and once in the third off Mark Laoue then added two in the fourth after Jeff Hill replaced Laoue with the bases loaded. Milford put the game away with six runs in the sixth inning off Hill.

Easties pound Post 71
West Haven falls to East Haven 7-2
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(July 11, 2012)
– The West Haven Pot 71 American Legion baseball team is playing for pride as the 2012 summer season comes to a close. East Haven Post 89 is playing for the postseason. 
The difference was shown Wednesday evening as East Haven scored four times in the fifth inning and added another run in the sixth, defeating West Haven 7-2 in American Legion Zone II action in East Haven. 
“They (East Haven) are playing really well,” West Haven coach George Chambrelli said. “John Carrano got hit hard for the first time this year. They hit his fastball and his off speed stuff. 
“It was the first time all year. He gave up eleven hits, which is uncharacteristic of him. He left everything up. They took advantage.”
With the game even at two in the fifth, East Haven’s Andrew Hinckley and Mike Anastasio singled, before Kyle Lockery doubled to drive in a pair. With two outs, Brenden Wynne singled and Nick Poulin doubled to give Post 89 a 6-2 lead. 
East Haven took a 1-0 lead off Carrano in the first before West Haven tied the game in the fourth on Wes Gambardella’s home run. Poulin’s single in the bottom of the inning gave East Haven a 2-1 lead through four innings. 
Post 71 (3-13) evened the game once again in the fifth. Tyler Gambardella singled and stole second. Two outs later, J.P. Withington singled to score Tyler Gambardella with the tying run. 
“We are playing hard,” Chambrelli said. “We are playing for pride. We are playing for pride and respect, end of story. We want to finish strong and keep the momentum for next year. I feel we should have a better season record wise.”
As has been the case all season, West Haven could not come up with the big hit. In the second, Eric Flores was left stranded after being hit by a pitch and Alex Palmieri was left stranded after walking with one out in the third. 
After Wes Gambardella’s home run in the fourth, Danny Chambrelli singled with one out but was stranded when Dan Brennan and Jeff Hill were retired. 
“We are getting some of the guys which have not played a chance,” George Chambrelli said. “We are mixing it up. It is good to see the younger guys play and see if they are ready. It is good to see them in action.”

Westies fall to East Haven
Post 71 falls to 3-12
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
WEST HAVEN (July 9, 2012)
– In the middle of the race for the Zone II title, East Haven coach Joe Pelliccia knows he is going to need contributions from everyone on the roster. Monday evening was the prime example.
Getting contributions up and down the lineup and riding the pitching of Kyle Lockery, East Haven Post 89 kept the pace with Orange, Branford andMilford with a 7-2 victory over West Haven Post 71 in American Legion action at Piurek Field.
The win allowed the Easties to improve to 12-5, inching closer to a postseason bid. The victory also kept Post 89 within striking distance of first place.
“We got contributions from everybody on the team today,” Pelliccia said. “Nick Savalli had two hits today and he does not play every day. Brandon Gargulio had the big hit with the double.
“There are four or five teams in the race. We have West Haven one more time. We finish with Orange and Milford. That is always big. It will decide things this year.”
Post 89 took a 2-0 lead in the first inning off West Haven starter Jack Lubin and never looked back. Lubin ran into trouble when he walked Nick Lamberti to start the game and issued a one-out walk to Andrew Hinckley.
Michael Anastasio followed with a single to score Lamberti and Gary Flowers’ infield single with two outs scored Hinckley after Lubin walked Brandon Gargulio to load the bases.
East Haven increased the lead to 3-0 in the third as Lubin again struggled with his control. After walking Anastasio with one out, Lubin gave up a two-out double to Gargulio to left, scoring Anastasio for a 3-0 lead. 
Read the rest of this article in the Milford-Orange Bulletin 
here

Officially Over
Loss to East Haven ends postseason bid for Post 71
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(July 8, 2012)
– With a slow start to the 2012 summer season, the West Haven Post 71 American Legion baseball team knew it was fighting an uphill battle to qualify for the postseason. That battle ended Sunday afternoon in East Haven.
Not capitalizing on its scoring opportunities and playing sloppy defense, the Westies fell to East Haven 5-1 in East Haven. West Haven fell to 3-11, while Post 89 improved to 11-5.
“It has been such a hard season,” Post 71 coach George Chambrelli said. “I think the amount of one-run losses and the grind of the summer is starting to wear on the guys.
“You can see the fatigue. We have had so many tough losses. It catches up to you. It leaves a bad taste in your mouth.”
West Haven never got the big hit off East Haven starter Adam Poulin, scoring in only the fifth inning. Danny Chambrelli singled to open the fifth, moved to second on Alex Scranton’s sacrifice and scored when Tyler Gambardella walked and Matt Gagne singled.
That was all the scoring for the Westies. In the first inning, Tyler Gambardella walked and Wes Gambardella singled with two outs. Both were left stranded when Alex Palmieri grounded to third for the final out.
Eric Flores led off the second with a walk and advanced on Chambrelli’s sacrifice. Flores went no further as Mark Laoue hit a fly ball to center and Scranton struck out.
Tyler Gambardella and Gagne singled in the third, but neither scored. Palmieri walked with two outs in the sixth and Chambrelli drew a leadoff walk in the seventh but neither advanced past third. 
East Haven took a 1-0 lead in the third inning as Nick Lamberti singled, stole second and third, and scored when Andrew Hinckley reached on an error. Lamberti, singled, stole second and scored in the fifth and Lamberti's double in the sixth scored a run in a three-run inning. 

Pushed to the Brink
Loss to Branford puts Post 71 in playoff mode
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(July 6, 2012)
– The West Haven Post 71 American Legion baseball team was pushed to the brink of elimination from postseason play Friday evening against Branford. Losing to 4-2 to Post 83, West Haven fell to 3-10 on the year.
With 11 games remaining in the regular season, West Haven must win every game if Post 71 hopes to advance to the state tournament.
“We have to win out against some very good teams,” West Haven coach George Chambrelli said. “The playoffs start tomorrow (Saturday) for us. We have to win eleven games in a row and in the playoffs.
“On the flip side, I think we have the arms to do it. We just have to get the bats going.”
The West Haven offense struggled against Branford, managing only three hits in the game off Ben Criscuolo. J.P. Withington had two of the hits and Matt Gagne picked up the other.
“We only had three hits in the game and two came from the same guy,” Chambrelli said. “That is not going to get it done. We got the runs but we are not getting the hits we need. We have not scored more than two runs in any inning this year. We have struggled to put up multiple runs in an inning.”
West Haven pitcher John Carrano again pitched well enough to win but a key error in the third inning led to three Branford runs. With the way West Haven has been going on offense, the three runs were more than enough for Branford.
Carrano pitched a complete game, allowing just four hits while striking out three and walking three.
The key inning came in the third as Carrano got the first out before two singles put a pair of runners on. A bouncer back to Carrano looked to be the final out of the inning, but the ball was lost on the transfer at second, allowing a run to score.
“I thought he (Carrano) pitched great,” Chambrelli said. “You take away that one inning and we are ahead in the game.
“We did not get the double play and we should have been out of the inning without any runs scoring. All of a sudden, they get three runs. That is tough to overcome with the way we have been hitting.”
Post 71 got a run back in the fourth inning as Gagne led off with a single, moved to second on a passed ball, third on a wild pitch and scored on Wes Gambardella’s grounder to first.
After Branford added a run in the fifth, Post 71 cut the deficit to 4-2 in the sixth. Withington hit a one-out double to left, moved to third when Gambardella reached on an error and scored on Alex Palmieri’s grounder to second. 
That was all West Haven got off Criscuolo. Criscuolo tossed a complete game three-hitter and finished by retiring the side in order in the seventh to end any hopes of a West Haven rally. 

Slipping Away
Westies suffer another one-run loss toHamden
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(July 5, 2012)
– The West Haven Post 71 American Legion baseball team is no stranger to close games. In fact, the Westies have seen more than their share of one-run contests.
With the possibility of playing in the postseason fading away, the Westies know every game has become a must-win situation. Thursday in Hamdenagainst Post 88 was no different.
Playing in yet another one-run contest, the Westies fell to Hamden 1-0, dropping the Westies to 3-9 on the year. With the loss, West Haven fell to 2-7 in one-run games this summer.
“It is tough to keep playing in these one-run games,” West Haven coach George Chambrelli said. “At some point, you have to stop thinking about the state tournament. We need to get wins. We are playing for pride. We have to get off the slide with these one-run games.”
With the game scoreless entering the sixth inning as West Haven’s Jack Lubin and Hamden’s Matt Elia matched up in a pitcher’s duel, Hamdenfinally got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Hamden’s Dan Matthews led off the sixth with a double to left and Lubin carefully worked his way around the middle of the Hamden order, walking two and getting an out. With one out, Lubin, got Brian Caceido to ground out, but Caceido just beat the throw to first, avoiding the double play and allowing Matthews to score the only run of the game.
“It was a bang-bang play,” Chambrelli said. “This is a tough loss. These are games we have to have. We can not afford to lose these games.”
The loss spoiled a brilliant pitching effort by Lubin, who allowed just three hit, while striking out four and walking four. Two of the four walks came in the sixth when the Westies were trying to navigate around Matthews’ triple.
“We got another great pitching performance,” Chambrelli said. “We just couldn’t put up a run. He (Lubin) kept them off balanced with his off speed stuff. He was in control of the game. He did a nice job.”
West Haven struggled to mount any offense against Elia as the Notre Dame product allowed only an infield hit to Wes Gambardella in the fourth inning with two outs.
West Haven had minimal scoring opport5unioties against Elia. Gambardella walked in the second inning with one out but was left stranded and Alex Scranton did the same in the third inning.
Post 71 had two final chances to get on the board but Elia was up to the challenge in the final two innings. In the sixth, J.P. Withington walked with two outs but did not go any further.
Trailing 1-0 in the seventh inning, West Haven had its best opportunity of the game. Alex Palmieri led off the last inning with a walk, Danny Chambrelli popped out and Eric Flores hit into a fielder’s choice. AfterScranton walked to put a pair of runners on, Elia ended the game with a great play as he just nipped Lubin on a swinging bunt to end the game.

Westies defeat Hamden
Hill and Gagne deliver clutch hits in win
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
WEST HAVEN (July 2, 2012)
– Having played in eight one-run games already and winning just two of those, the West Haven Post 71 American Legion baseball team knew the importance of its game against Hamden Monday evening. Behind the hitting of Jeff Hill and Matt Gagne, West Haven got back in the win column with a 2-0 victory over Post 88 in a Zone II contest at Piurek Field.
The victory kept West Haven alive in its hunt for the postseason as the Westies improved to 3-8. Hamden was mathematically eliminated from postseason contention, falling to 2-11.
“We are going to need every one of these games from here on out,” West Haven coach George Chambrelli said. “This was a nice win as we go into two days off. It was nice to go in with a victory.”
With the game scoreless through four plus innings, the Westies rallied for two runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. Danny Chambrelli opened the inning with a walk off Hamden pitcher Joe Tomaselli, moved to second on Mark Laoue’s sacrifice and third on a wild pitch.
With two strikes, Jeff Hill lined a single to left, scoring Chambrelli for a 1-0 lead. With Hill on third and Tyler Gambardella on first, Gagne laced a single to right, scoring Hill for a 2-0 lead.
“Jeff Hill had two line drive swings,” George Chambrelli said. “Matt Gagne easily could have had three hits with the swings he had. It was nice to get clutch hits tonight.”
The hitting of Hill and Gagne overshadowed stellar pitching performances by Tyler Gambardella and Jamie Brown. The pair combined on a two-hitter, striking out ten and walking four. 
Read the rest of this article in the Milford-Orange Bulletin 
here

Westies fall to Shelton
Carrano’s gem wasted in 2-1 loss
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
WEST HAVEN (July 1, 2012)
- With the hopes of playing in the postseason slowly fading away, the West Haven Post 71 American Legion baseball team knows every game for the rest of the season is an important one. Unfortunately for the Westies, another close contest did not go their way Sunday afternoon.
With the hopes of playing in the postseason slowly fading away, the West Haven Post 71 American Legion baseball team knows every game for the rest of the season is an important one. Unfortunately for the Westies, another close contest did not go their way Sunday afternoon.
Despite the brilliant pitching of John Carrano, the Westies were defeated by Shelton 2-1 at Piurek Field in West Haven. With the loss, West Haven fell to 2-8 and will need to go 12-2 the rest of the way if the postseason is to be in the cards.
“It is one bad nightmare after another,” West Haven coach George Chambrelli said. “It is the same thing we have seen all year. A hit here or there can bust the game open.
“In the end, it was one play which game them a run. We could not overcome it. We have been in eight one-run games with the six losses and two wins.”
During the run of tough luck, it has been a missed play or one hit which could have turned the game around. Sunday afternoon saw both come back to haunt the Westies.
With the game even at one in the top of the sixth, Carrano allowed singles to Tyler Tice and Bryan Kondor to start the inning. Carrano got Scott Heins to ground to short for what looked to be a double play.
Danny Chambrelli’s throw pulled first basemasn J.P. Withington off the base and Withington could not hold on to the ball when he attempted to tag Heins. Vinny Backert followed with a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Tice, with what could have been the final out of the inning.
“It is tough,” Carrano said. “With every run, you never know if you are going to get it back. You just have to pitch with confidence.
“I have confidence in my team to turn it around. We have to keep playing hard. We have a team full of fighters. We are not going to give up.”
Read the rest of this article in the Milford-Orange Bulletin 
here 

Double Trouble
Westies swept by Branford and Shelton in pair of heartbreakers
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(June 30, 2012)
– With two wins in its first seven games, the West Haven Post 71 American Legion baseball team understood the importance of Saturday’s split doubleheader against Branford and Shelton. As has been the case through the first part of the season, the Westies were close but not close enough.
West Haven (2-7) watched as Branford scored twice in the bottom of the seventh in the opener to defeat Post 71, 6-5 in Branford, then saw Sheltonscored once in the top of the eighth to defeat the Westies 4-3 at Piurek Field in the nightcap.
“By now, it is getting old,” West Haven coach George Chambrelli said of coming close to winning. “We have been in all the games, but we have not gotten the big hit. Only two of our losses have been by more than one run.
“It is a tough way to play baseball. We had opportunities. We were a clutch hit away from winning these games.”
In the opener of the Zone II doubleheader, the Westies made the morning commute to Branford and looked as if they would steal a victory. After Branford scored twice in the first inning and once in the second off West Haven starter Jack Lubin, the Westies rallied to tie the game in the third inning with three runs.
Dan Brennan started the rally with a walk, Tyler Gambardella singled and Matt Gagne walked. After J.P. Withington singled and Wes Gambardella hit into a fielder’s choice, walks to Alex Palmieri, Eric Flores and Danny Chambrelli forced in two more runs to even the game at three.
Branford once again took the lead in the bottom of the third before the Westies fought back to even the game in the fifth. Wes Gambardella singled, stole second and scored the tying run on Danny Chambrelli’s single.
The Westies took a 5-4 lead in the top of the seventh. Palmieri singled with one out, Danny Chambrelli walked with two outs and Marl Laoue reached on an error to score Palmieri with the go-ahead run.
Branford would not be denied, scoring twice to leave the Westies on the field in the bottom of the inning off reliever Jeff Hill. Mike Forgione led off with a single and Ben Criscuolo followed with another single.
After Kyle Hart moved both runners into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt, Branford methodically put the game away. Alec Janotta and Mike Cattaruzza singled to plate two runs and send West Haven to a 6-5 loss.
“It is a tough way to lose,” George Chambrelli said. “We were low on arms trying to get two games in today. We faced their three, four and five batters and they did what the three, four and five batters should do.
“You have to give them credit. They did what they were supposed to do. They did not make a mistake.”
Post 71 then drove home to host Shelton Saturday afternoon. Off to a slow start as Shelton scored three times in the top of the first inning, West Havenshowed plenty of grit, evening the game with two runs in the bottom of the seventh before falling in the eighth, 4-3.
Trailing 3-1 in the seventh, Flores and Danny Chambrelli singled with one out, and Laoue delivered a two-out single to score Flores, cutting the deficit to 3-2. Tyler Gambardella then tied the game with a single, scoring Chambrelli.
“We had some clutch at bats in the seventh inning,” George Chambrelli said. “We were able to tie the game.”
Shelton took the lead in the eighth with only one hit off Hill. Scott Heins was hit by a pitch to start the inning, before a single and two walks forced in the eventual winning run.
West Haven battled in the eighth but fell just short. Wes Gambardella doubled to deep right but was just nailed at third trying to stretch the hit into a triple.
“Our swings over the last three games have been night and day,” George Chambrelli said. “The approach at the plate has been excellent. It has been a complete turnaround.”
Shelton took a 3-0 lead in the first inning as Laoue struggled with his control. Laoue opened the game with four walks to force in one run, struck out the next two batters, then walked two more for a 3-0 Shelton lead.
“I think the heat got to us,” George Chambrelli said. “It was the second game in a row and things did not go our way right away.”
Post 71 used a two-out rally in the bottom of the inning to get on the board. Withington doubled and Wes Gambardella singled to drive in Withington, cutting the deficit to 3-1.  

Heartbreaker
Gambardella’s gem wasted in 1-0 loss toStratford
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
WEST HAVEN (June 28, 2012) –
 After posting a thrilling victory over Shelton one night earlier, West Haven Post 71 was looking to ride the momentum in a doubleheader against Stratford. Looking for a sweep to get back into the Zone II race, West Haven did not start the way it would have liked.
Despite a tremendous pitching effort from Tyler Gambardella, West Havenwas defeated by Stratford 1-0 in 10 innings at Piurek Field Thursday evening in the opening game of a Zone II doubleheader.
“The second game is pretty much a must win for us now,” West Haven coach George Chambrelli said. “We can’t lose a game like this. We are supposed to win both games here. Things are not going our way right now, but we have to keep working hard to turn it around.”
Gambardella was the story of the game for West Haven as he threw a complete game six-hitter. Gambardella allowed just an unearned run in the tenth inning, struck out three and walked four, using 105 pitches.
“He (Gambardella) was unbelievable out there today,” Chambrelli said. “He pitched ten innings and was great. He pitched his heart out out there. We could not get him a run. We are not supposed to lose a game like that.”
After both teams failed to score through nine innings, Stratford scored the only run of the game in the tenth. With one out, Nick Dilulio singled and Matt Nolting reached when his grounder back to Gambardella was dropped on the force at second by Matt Gagne.
Jordan Weiss followed with a single to left to load the bases before Ryan Mucharino singled to right to score Dilulio with the only run of the game. Gambardella got the final two outs of the inning, giving West Haven a chance in the bottom of the inning.
“I have not pitched that many innings in a while,” Gambardella said. “I have faith in my team. We just did not get it done today.
“We just need one big inning to get going. We are trying to find our swings.”
Mark Laoue led off with a walk, but Stratford pitcher Joe DeFrancesco struck out Dan Brennan and Alex Scranton before retiring Gambardella on a grounder back to the mound to end the game.
The offensive woes for Post 71 continued in the opening game as the Westies could not get timely hits. West Haven left the bases loaded in the fourth and the potential winning run on third in the seventh.
“We have been waiting for that one inning,” Chambrelli said. “We have not had a big inning since the preseason.”
West Haven had its best scoring opportunity in the fourth inning. With two outs, J.P. Withington singled and was followed by an infield single by Wes Gambardella.
After Eric Flores walked to load the bases, Stratford’s Mucharino got out of the jam when he got Danny Chambrelli to pop to third for the last out of the inning.
Post 71 looked as if it would end the game in the seventh. Flores’ second single of the game opened the frame before he moved to second on Dilulio’s error trying to pick Flores off first.
Danny Chambrelli’s sacrifice moved Flores to third, giving West Haven two shots to bring Flores home. That never happened as Mucharino got Jeff Hill to pop out to third and Brennan on a grounder to short.
Flores reached base three times with a walk and two singles.
West Haven rebounded to pick up its second win of the year in the nightcap. Behind the pitching of Jamie Brown and the hitting of Tyler Gambardella, Matt Gagne, Withington and Dan Brennan, the Westies defeated Stratford 4-3 in eight innings.
Tyler Gambardella had three singles and a walk, Gagne had three hits and a walk and Withington and Brennan each added a pair of hits.
Brown tossed a complete game, allowing eight hits and two unearned runs, while striking out ten.
“It is tough to go into extra innings again,” George Chambrelli said. “It was huge to pull out the win.”
Post 71 took a 1-0 lead in the first inning as Tyler Gambardella and Gagne singled, Withington hit into a fielder’s choice, Wes Gambardella walked and the first run scored on a Stratford error.
The Westies increased the lead to 2-0 in the fifth, with Tyler Gambardella, Gagne and Withington again in the middle of the rally. Tyler Gambardella walked, Gagne and Withington singled to load the bases and Wes Gambardella hit a sacrifice fly to center to score Tyler Gambardella.
After Brown tossed five shutout innings, Stratford scored once in the sixth and two more times in the seventh to take a 3-2 lead. Three outs away from being swept, Post 71 rallied in the bottom of the seventh.
Singles by Tyler Gambardella, Gagne and Withington loaded the bases before Wes Gambardella’s sacrifice fly evened the game at three. West Havenwon the game in the eighth as Brennan singled, Brown walked, Tyler Gambardella singled and Gagne hit into a fielder’s choice to end the game. 
Read the rest of this article in the Milford Orange Bulletin 
here

Post 71 defeats Shelton
Chambrelli and Carrano keys to first win of the summer
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(June 27, 2012)
– After an eight day layoff, the West Haven Post 71 American Legion baseball team returned to the diamond Wednesday evening in Shelton. The time off may have been just what the Westies needed.
Looking to snap a four-game skid to start the season, the Westies received a solid pitching performance from John Carrano and a suicide squeeze by Danny Chambrelli in the seventh inning to defeat Shelton 2-1 in Shelton. With the victory, West Haven improved to 1-4.
“This is a nice win for us,” West Haven coach George Chambrelli Jr. said. “This is huge. We have been playing some really good baseball early on and we had some tough losses.
“We could have easily been 2-2. Instead, we were 0-4. We were in a tough spot but there is a lot of baseball to be played in the next couple of days.
“If we start 0-5, we could have put ourselves out of the race. All of a sudden, we have a win and who knows what can happen from here?”
George Chambrelli turned to his ace to right the ship as Carrano was on his game, allowing just an unearned run in the sixth inning. Carrano tossed a five-hitter, striking out two and not walking a batter.
“He (Carrano) is a horse,” George Chambrelli said. “He is the ace for a reason. You know you are getting seven innings with him.
“He works fast and he has five pitches. He can throw any pitch for strikes. He never complains. He is everything you want out of an ace.”
West Haven got on the scoreboard first, taking a 1-0 lead in the second inning. Wes Gambardella was hit by a pitch, stole second, moved to third on Matt Gagne’s grounder to short and scored on a passed ball.
The Westies had a chance to increase the lead in the third inning. With a pair of runners on base, Gambardella singled to left, but Alex Palmieri was thrown out at home by Jeremy Soderholm to end the threat.
“We are not hitting too well,” George Chambrelli said. “That concerns me. We can not keep relying on 1-0 or 2-1 games all year. In our last four games, we have only eight hits.”
Carrano looked as if he would make the single run hold up. He could not as a one-out error by West Haven in the sixth and a passed ball, set up Vin Backert’s tying double for Shelton.
Post 71 answered immediately in the seventh. Matt Gagne started the rally with a single and moved to third when Eric Flores’ grounder was thrown into the outfield. Flores was out attempting to move to second on the play, but Gagne was the run West Haven was concerned with.
Danny Chambrelli put the Westies ahead for good. Chambrelli’s squeeze scored Gagne for a 2-1 West Haven advantage.
“We can win these games,” George Chambrelli said. “Our bats will come around. Once we start hitting, we will be scary. We play good defense and we have solid pitching.”

Thumped
Orange uses 6-run third to defeat Westies 11-2
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
ORANGE (June 18, 2012)
- After playing a pair of close games over the weekend against rival West Haven, Orange Post 127 looked to get the sweep Monday evening. Jumping on the Westies with two runs in the first inning and adding six more in the third, Orange easily defeated West Haven 11-2 at Brinley Field.
With the win, Orange completed the sweep and continued its stellar start, improving to 4-0. West Haven fell to 0-4 with the loss.
“It was a good win for us,” Orange coach Bob Mirto said. “We hit the ball tonight.”
Orange jumped on Post 71 early and took a 2-0 lead off West Haven starter Jeff Hill in the first inning. Nick Baviello led off with a walk, Grayson Amoroso singled and Vin Siena doubed to score Baviello for a 1-0 lead.
“Vin Siena smoked that ball,” Mirto said.
After Hill got Paul Gusmano on a grounder to short, Hill lost his control, hitting Brian Speer to load the bases and walking Mark Boland to force in a run.
Orange put the game away in the third inning. Sending twelve batters to the plate against three West Haven pitchers, Orange used four hits and five walks to score six runs for an 8-0 lead.
“We were able to take advantage,” Mirto said. “They had trouble throwing strikes. We hit the ball too.”
Read the rest of this article in the Milford-Orange Bulletin 
here

Orange rallies past West Haven
Run in eighth keeps Post 71 winless
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
WEST HAVEN (June 16, 2012)
- Orange Post 127 catcher Paul Gusmano was hoping for a third chance in Saturday morning’s contest against West Haven. After grounding into a pair of inning-ending double plays, Gusmano got his opportunity to redeem himself twice.
Wasting no time, Gusmano knocked in the go-ahead run in the seventh and the winning run in the eighth as Orange Post 127 improved to 3-0 with 4-3 victory over West Haven in eight innings at Piurek Field.
“That is just the character of this team,” Gusmano said. “We never give up. I just wanted to keep focused. We have a good group of older kids who have played in college and came back. They do a good job keping us focused.
“Earlier in the game, I was ahead of everything. I switched to a heavier bat and got a nice hit. Once I got the first hit, all the pressure was off.”
After being silenced by West Haven pitcher John Carrano for five innings and trailing 1-0, Orange evened the game in the sixth when Mark Boland singled to score Sean Butler who had singled earlier in the inning.
Post 127 took a 3-1 lead in the seventh. Grayson Amoroso opened the inning with a walk, and Carrano hit Vin Siena one out later. Gusmano ended Carrano’s day and gave Orange a 2-1 lead with a single to center.
Jamie Brown relieved Carrano and walked Mike Concato. Ball four was a wild pitch, allowing Siena to score for a 3-1 lead.
“We just kept battling,” Orange coach Bob Mirto said.
West Haven battled back and evened the game in the bottom of the seventh off Orange starting pitcher Nick Fusco. With one out, Wes Gambardella reached on Butler’s error at third and Alex Palmieri followed with a single to right.
A double steal put both runners in scoring position, allowing Wes Gambardella to score on Eric Flores’ grounder to second. Danny Chambrelli then tied the game with a two-out single to right, scoring Palmieri with the equalizer. 
To read the rest of this article, see the Milford-Orange Bulletin 
here.

Westies fall to Orange
Post 71 drops to 0-2 with loss
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(June 14, 2012)
– West Haven Post 71 American Legion coach George Chambrelli was not happy with the way the season started against Branford on Sunday. Heading into a key series with Orange early in the year, Chambrelli hoped his team would respond with a better effort.
While the Westies were much better Thursday night at Brinley Field in Orange, it was not enough in a 2-1 loss. Despite scoring in the first inning, leading in the sixth and failing to get one hit in the game, West Haven was within six outs of picking up its first victory of the year. 
Those outs never came. With Tyler Gambardella pitching a gem, Post 71 committed three errors in the bottom of the sixth to help Orange score twice in the loss. 
“Tyler was lights out tonight,” Chambrelli said. “He had a no-hitter through three innings and allowed only four hits. He had great stuff and had them fooled. 
“The three errors cost us the game, not to mention we didn’t get any hits. We had no hits and you don’t get many chances to win a game without any hits. This was the one game we had a chance.”
Leading 1-0 through five innings, West Haven looked to close out Orange for the first win of the year. Orange started its rally when Christopher Katz reached on an error by Jeff Hill at third and moved to second on a sacrifice. 
After Gambardella got the next out on a fly ball to center, Paul Gusmano singled to right, scoring Katz with the tying run. When right fielder John Ross booted the ball, Gusmano moved to second. 
A grounder to short looked to be the final out of the inning but Alex Palmieri’s error allowed Gusmano to score the eventual winning run. 
“It was a very good game even with the sixth inning,” Chambrelli said. “It was just a hard played game. There were some good defensive plays. Pitching was really the key.”
West Haven got on the board quickly against Orange starter Austin Pokluda, scoring in the first inning. With one out, Palmieri walked, moved to second when J.P. Withington reached on an error and scored on Wes Gambardella’s fielder’s choice grounder.
Post 71 had a chance to get more in the inning but failed to capitalize. Eric Flores walked to put two runners on but Pokluda got out of the inning by striking out Ross to end the frame. 
Pokluda dominated the rest of the way, finishing with seven strikeouts, and retiring the Westies in order in five of the final six innings. The only other time Post 71 mounted any offense was in the fifth when Hill reached on an error and moved to second on Danny Chambrelli’s sacrifice bunt. 
Hill would go no further. Pokluda struck out Dan Brennan and retired Tyler Gambardella on a grounder to short to end the inning. 
“We played a lot better,” George Chambrelli said. “I am a little disappointed we started the first two games with two losses. We were shut out and go no-hit. We have a lot of older guys on the team who haven’t played and need to get in a groove.”
Post 71 returns to action Saturday morning against Orange at 10 a.m. at Piurek Field.

Blanked
Post 71 falls to Branford 6-0 in season opener
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(June 10, 2012)
– With plenty of new pieces in place, including head coach George Chambrelli, the West Haven Post 71 American Legion baseball team was looking to get off to a quick start in the summer season. Hosting Branford Sunday morning, the Westies were given a quick wake up call.
Branford scored three unearned runs in the inning and never looked backing a 6-0 victory over the Westies in a Zone II opener for both teams.
Things did not go well from the start as West Haven had only ten players. Missing players to start the season was not pleasing to Chambrelli.
“I am very disappointed with only ten guys showing up for the first game,” Chambrelli said. “It makes you question where the program is headed. I am already disturbed about not having a Junior program.
“The entire Branford team was here before us. You never want to have the other team here before you. They wanted it more than us today.”
West Haven did not do much offensively with only five hits in the game. Matt Gagne led the way with a pair of singles, while J.P. Withington doubled and Wes Gambardella and Tyler Gambardella each singled.
“We played three exhibition games and scored fifteen runs,” Chambrelli said. “We looked completely baffled at the plate.”
West Haven had its chances right from the start, putting the first two runners on base in the opening inning. Tyler Gambardella opened the first with a walk and moved to second on Gagne’s single.
With Withington at bat, Tyler Gambardella was picked off second for the first out of the inning. Withington then struck out before Wes Gambardella followed suit to end the inning.
“We went from first and second and no outs with our number three hitter up to one on and one out,” Chambrelli said. “It changed the momentum.”
Tyler Gambardella singled with two outs in the third but was left stranded and Wes Gambardella singled with one out in the fourth but was left stranded.
In the fifth, Danny Chambrelli walked and moved to second on Alex Scranton’s sacrifice. Chambrelli would move no further as a pair of strikeouts ended the frame.
West Haven’s best scoring chance came in the sixth. Gagne single to lead off and Withington doubled to put a pair of runners in scoring position. Post 71 never capitalized as Wes Gambardella and Alex Palmieri struck out and Eric Flores grounded out to end the inning.
“I would not say the layoff hurt us,” George Chambrelli said. “So much went wrong. We did not have any guys on the bench. That hurts. It was just a hectic day.”

Ready to Go
Post 71 looks to qualify for postseason for first time in 6 years
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
With the high school season coming to a close, the sprint of the American Legion season is set to begin. Missing the state tournament by one game last summer, the West Haven Post 71 team is ready to get going. 
A new season brings changes. The most recognizable change will come in the dugout as longtime coaches Mike Siwek and John Velardi have handed the reigns to the team to former Junior Legion coach George Chambrelli. 
Chambrelli brings a new staff with him and hopes that fresh voices will bring instant results to a program which has not qualified for the state tournament in six years. Chambrelli, along with assistant coach Steve Carden and pitching coach Tommy Fayhe, look to return to the postseason, which now requires teams to finish three games over. 500 in zone play to qualify. 
“We want to make the tournament,” Chambrelli said. “We have not made the tournament since 2006 and that was a play-in game. We have not made it outright since 2005. These kids have not played in a legion tournament game yet, junior or senior. My goal is to get these kids into the tournament. We missed it last year by one game.”
If Chambrelli and his squad are going to play in the postseason, pitching and defense will be the key. Led by staff ace John Carrano, the Westies will have to keep runs to a minimum and use small ball to produce runs. 
Carrano, who anchored the staff during the team’s playoff run which fell short last season, comes off a solid high school year and will be called upon to provide innings and wins. Tyler Gambardella and Jeff Hill will battle for the next two spots while a host of others, including Alex Scranton, Jamie Brown, Alex Palmieri, Matt Serano, Lorenzo Davis Mark Lowery and John Ross will also see significant time on the hill. Eric Flores will anchor the staff from behind the plate. 
“We need to have pitching, defense and timely hitting,” Chambrelli said. “We have a lot of fast guys. We will do a lot of stealing, hit and running, bunting and moving the base runners over. We will try and hit it into the open hole. 
“We are an older team. We have six 19-year-olds and among the other kids, six seniors. We have an older team. We will need to use the experience and maturity along with the pitching, defense and hitting. 
Defensively, Post 71 looks to be solid as the outfield will consist of Tyler Gambardella in center, We Gambardella in left and John Ross in right. The infield will see J.P. Withington at first, Danny Chambrelli at second, Matt Gagne at third and Palmieri at short. 
Gagne will switch to third in the summer as he is expected to play the hot corner for the University of Bridgeport. Palmieri hopes to play at the University of New Haven as a middle infielder, making the switch an easy one for Chambrelli. 
“I like the camaraderie of the team,” George Chambrelli said. “This team is gelling together. They have all played together for us the last couple of years and they are confident in themselves. The players trust the coaches and the coaches trust the players. Together, that is a deadly combination.”
In what is a quick season, the squad will need plenty of depth. The Westies appear to have this. 
Scranton and Brown can also play in the outfield, while Lowery, who plays at St. Joseph-Trumbull along with Brown, can play center, infielder and catcher as well as pitch. 
Davis is the youngest player on the team as he is an eighth-grader who, according to George Chambrelli, is going to be very good. Hill will play first and third, Matt Serano will pitch and play the outfield and Dan Brennan will play the outfield and be the team’s designated hitter. 
George Chambrelli is well aware he has big shoes to fill in his first year running the team. The coach is looking forward to the challenge. 
“I had a pretty significant role last year coaching third and calling the pitches,” George Chambrelli said. “Besides making the lineup and the outside things, it has been a pretty smooth transition.”