Westies doubled up by Branford
Westie Blue
(June 18, 2016) - 
Branford coach Rich Balzano says it usually takes his team 10 to 12 games to gel at the start of the season. With a strong history over the last few years, no one could argue with him.
If such is the case, the rest of Zone 2 should be concerned once again. Opening the season with four wins in its first five games, Branford Post 83 is winning while seeing what fits.
The latest wins came Saturday as Branford swept a doubleheader from West Haven by scores of 4-1 and 8-0 at Piurek Field in West Haven.
“It still takes us about 10 to 12 games to get the lineup right,” Balzano said. “Everybody knows their jobs. We are learning and winning. These are important wins.”
The start of the season has been just the opposite for Post 71. After a season-opening win against East Haven, the Westies have dropped four straight, with the lack of clutch hitting being the main offense.
“We have not gotten the big hits,” West Haven coach Fred Morgillo said after his team fell in the opener. “They will come. We have been in the games. We have to start getting those hits.”
The Westies had an early lead in the opener, but could not hold on as defensive miscues allowed Branford to remain in the game. With West Haven starter Sean Morrissey throwing the ball well, Branford waited for its opportunities, then pounced when those opportunities came about.
Trailing 1-0 as West Haven scored on an infield single by Mario Kiaunis in the second, Branford took advantage of a West Haven miscue in the fourth.
Tyler Criscuolo led off the fourth with a double and scored one out later on a double by Ben LaCroix. With two outs, Alphonse Suppa reached on an error in right, scoring the go-ahead run.
“We took advantage of some opportunities,” Balzano said. “Our pitcher (Devon Lawson) threw strikes and we made some plays defensively. He kept the ball down in the zone and mixed up his pitches. He did a very good job of keeping them off balance.”
The rest was up to Branford starter Devon Lawson, who kept the Westies off balance, allowing one run on five hits, while walking one and striking out two. Lawson worked around a one-out walk to Kalan Morgillo in the fifth, and stranded Morrissey who led off the sixth with a single.
“I wanted to throw that first-pitch strike,” Lawson said. “That was the big pitch. My fastball was working today. I was able to mix in my pitches.”
Post 83 then put the game away with two more runs in the seventh. Jordan Botte led off the seventh with a single, before Suppa reached on an error attempting to sacrifice Botte into scoring position.
With one out, Brandon Kilfeather singled. A walk to Nick Candelora and Criscuolo getting hit by a pitch followed as Branford expanded the lead to three runs.
“We got some timely hits today,” Balzano said after the opener.
The three-run lead was more than enough for Lawson as he retired the side in order in the seventh, allowing just one ball out of the infield.
“We did not get the big hit,” Fred Morgillo said. “We had good at bats. We are just hitting the ball at people. Sooner or later, those will find holes. Their shortstop (Candelora) played great. They made some great defensive plays that prevented us from scoring runs. We did not make the plays.”
West Haven had its opportunities against Lawson early, but could not come up with a big hit. Morgilllo singled with one out in the first and Tim McCarthy followed with a two-out single. Lawson escaped by getting Nick Demaio on a grounder to the mound.
Brett Gradoia helped get the Westies on the board in the second inning with a leadoff double. After a sacrifice by Sean Jefferson, Kiaunis brought in West Haven’s lone run with the infield hit.
Morrissey pitched well for the Westies, allowing four runs on six hits, while walking one and striking out three.
“We had no idea how many starters we had coming into the season,” Fred Morgillo said. “We knew we had a couple in Lorenzo Davis and (Sean) Jefferson. Sean Morrissey was a question mark. We didn’t know if he would be used in relief or start. He pitchd well. I think he was better than we could have expected.”

East Haven wins Series
Post 189 tops Westies 8-4
Westie Blue
(June 17, 2016) -
 The West Haven offense continues to hit, but once again it was not enough. For the second straight day, the Westies were unable to capitalize and fell to East Haven 8-4. 
With the victory Thursday evening, East Haven took the first series of the year, winning the final two games against Post 71. 
"Again, we didn't come up with the big hit," Post 71 head coach Fred Morgillo said after his team fell to 1-2. "Our pitchers struggled with the strike zone and threw too many pitches. They both had a lot of time off so I think they will be fine moving forward. East Haven was patient at the plate and played solid defense."
Pete Richetelli started for the Westies, lasting 2 2/3 innings. Ryan Ahern went the next 3 1/3 on the hill for Post 71. 
Dom Cambino led the offense for West Haven with a pair of hit. Tyler Leone had two doubles and two runs batted in for East Haven, while Jake Ferrara picked up the win.

Westies fall to EH
Post 189 tops Westies 6-2
Westie Blue
(June 15, 2016) -
 The West Haven Post 71 American Legion baseball team was looking to pick up it second consecutive win to open the 2016 season. Facing East Haven, Post 71 ran into a tough pitcher in Mike Mancuso.
Mancuso allowed only two runs, picking up the win, as East Haven topped the Westies 6-2 at Piurek Field in West Haven Wednesday evening.
"We didn't execute," West Haven coach Fred Morgillo said. "We made a lot of base running mistakes and did not get the big hit. We left too many men on base. We pitched well and played good defense."
Sean Jefferson pitched 6 2/3 innings, taking the loss. He was relieved by Ty Reeves. 
With the game even at two after three innings, East Haven took the lead for good with a run in the fourth inning off Jefferson. East Haven scored three times in the seventh inning to put the game away. 
Nick Demaio led West Haven with three hits and Nick Flammia added a pair of doubles. .  
Tyler Leone led the East Haven offense with three hits, 

Quick Start
Westies open season with 16-9 win over EH
Westie Blue
(June 15, 2016) -
 With the majority of the team fresh off a dreadful high school season, the last thing the West Haven Post 71 American Legion baseball team wanted to do was get off to a slow start this summer. 
The Westies made sure of that in the season opener Tuesday afternoon, pounding 10 hits in a 16-9 win on the road against East Haven. The Westies led 9-2 in the fourth inning and never looked back.  
The players had a long time off and we just got the Notre Dame kids on Monday," West Haven coach Fred Morgillo said. "We weren't sure what to expect. The team had lots of energy and positive attitudes."
Lorenzo Davis, the ace of the high school team, went 5 2/3 innings, striking out six. Nick Flammia pitched the final 11/3 innings to hold off Post 89. 
Offensively, the Westies were led by Tim McCarthy as he had three hits and scored four runs. Adrian Urbina had a pair of hits and scored twice.

Streak Over
Win over New Haven snaps 11-game skid
Westie Blue
(June 29, 2016) -
 The West Haven Post 71 American Legion baseball team snapped its 11-game losing streak with a 5-4 victory over New Haven Tuesday evening. With the win, Post 71 improved to 2-11 on the year. 
Nick Flammia went 5 1/3 innings, throwing 88 pitches to pick up the win. Sean Morrissey relieved in the sixth with one out and the bases loaded and got a fly ball double play to end the inning when Flammia threw out the potential tying run tagging from third. 
Both teams scored two runs in the first before the Westies added three in the second for a 5-2 lead. New Haven cut the deficit to one with two more runs in the fourth, but West Haven hung on to post the win. 
Adrain Urbina led the offense with a triple, run batted in and run scored. 

Stratford sweeps Westies
Post 71 falls 6-3 and 4-1
Westie Blue
(June 25, 2016) -
 After opening the season with a win over East Haven, optimism was high for the West Haven Post 71 American Legion baseball team. 
That optimism has faded a bit as the Westies have lost 11 in a row, including Saturday's doubleheader sweep in Stratford. The Westies fell on the road by scores of 6-3 and 4-1. 
"We gave up five in the first inning by playing sloppy defense," West Haven coach Fred Morgillo said of the first game. "Then we played good enough to win. Lorenzo (Davis) went the distance and pitched well."
Kalan Morgillo, Mario Kiaunis, Adrain Urbina and Pete Richetelli each had two hits in the opener. 
Richetelli added two more hits in the nightcap but the West Haven offense never got going in the loss. 
"Sean Morrissey pitched good enough to win," Morgillo said. "Defensively, we again had players out of their comfort zone as we were missing guys and players had to play different positions than they are accustomed to."

Westies drop pair to Orange
Post 127 scores 28 runs in sweep
Westie Blue
(June 23, 2016) -
 Sometimes streaks can be deceptive. In the case of both the Orange and West Haven American Legion baseball teams, their latest streaks are anything but that.
Scoring 28 runs in two games Thursday evening, Orange Post 127 swept West Haven Post 71 by scores of 14-4 and 14-5 at Brinley Field in Orange. The wins were the seventh in a row for Orange and helped Post 127 improve to 7-3.
“We caught a couple of breaks in the first inning,” Orange coach Bob Mirto said of the opener. “We hit the ball. We are pretty strong top to bottom in the lineup. When we have mostly everybody here, we are tough.”
For the Westies, the doubleheader loss was West Haven’s eighth straight setback after a season-opening win over East Haven and dropped the team to 1-8 on the year.
“I think we should have gotten a little more out of that series with East Haven,” West Haven head coach Fred Morgillo said. “Branford played mistake-free. Last night, we had a chance to win, but we shot ourselves in the foot.”
Orange left no doubt about the outcome in the opening contest, scoring 12 runs in the first three innings, including seven in the first.
After West Haven took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first when Tim McCarthy’s grounder to second scored Frank Johnson, Post 127 sent 13 batters to the plate and scored seven times in the bottom of the inning off West Haven starter Adrain Urbina.
“The first inning hurt,” Morgillo said after his team dropped the opener. “Plus, we had the injury to Frank Johnson and that hurts us. I am concerned for him for the rest of the season. Lou Masselli is still out. We need to start getting some guys back.”
With one out in the first, Orange’s Brian Ronai singled, Pat Winkel walked and Eli Oliphant also walked with two outs to load the bases. Rohan Patel reached on an error to score Ronai, and Ronnie LoRicco doubled to left to score Winkel and Oliphant for a 3-1 lead.
Chase Bursinski’s single scored Patel, and Dan Jaques walked. Lou DeGennero singled to score LoRicco, Ronai walked to score Bursinski, and Winkel singled to score Jaques for a 7-1 lead. 
“I have been most impressed with our hitting,” Mirto said. “Al Smith has been ripping the ball. He is a big, strong kid. We have been good top to bottom with this lineup.”
Liam Butler reaped the rewards of the outburst in the first inning as he went the distance, allowing four runs, while striking out four and not walking a batter.Urbina singled and scored for West Haven in the third to get Post 71 within 7-2, but Orange responded in the bottom of the inning.
“We are hitting the ball,” Morgillo said. “We did not hit like this last year. We got the pitching, not the hitting. We are hitting good enough this year to win. We are leaving guys in scoring position. We let five today. We expected to pitch and play defense this year. But, it has been the opposite right now. We are not pitching or playing defense as good as we thought we would be.”
Orange added five runs in the third inning on a sacrifice fly by Winkel, a two-run single by Oliphant, a sacrifice fly by Patel and a run-scoring single by LoRicco. Urbina gave up 10 runs in two innings, three of which were earned, for West Haven, walking five and striking out one.
“We have been fortunate to have all of our players here,” Patel said after the opener. “We have gotten into the swing of things. We have been successful. We want to keep it going.”
The Westies looked as if they were prepared to cut into the deficit in the fifth inning with four hits, but only one run crossed the plate.
Peter Richetelli opened the fifth with a single to right and McCarthy and Nick Demaio followed with singles to load the bases. With one out, Mario Kiaunis singled to center to score Richetelli and get Post 71 within 12-4, but Butler escaped without further damage by getting Sean Morrissey to bounce into an inning-ending double play.
After West Haven went down quietly in the sixth, Orange iced the game with a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning.
With one out, Winkel singled to center, Al Smith singled to left and Oliphant was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Winkel scored on a wild pitch and Patel singled to right to score Smith with the game-winning run.
“It’s always tough after the Amity season,” Mirto said. “They have so much emotion coming off that season. They have to settle in to a whole new thing. They come here and it is a little more stressful in terms of playing every day.”
LoRicco led the Orange offense with three hits and three runs batted in.

Westies fall to Orange
Late rally falls short
Westie Blue
(June 22, 2016) -
 The West Haven Post 71 American Legion baseball team rallied but fell just short in an 8-7 loss to Orange Post 127 Wednesday evening. The Westies trailed 4-0, 4-2 and 6-2 before tying the game in the sixth at six. 
Orange responded with two in the top of the seventh and West Haven answered with a single run in the bottom of the inning, before Orange closed out the game. 
West Haven had a runner picked off third with two outs in the fifth and left the tying run on second in the seventh. 
Nick Flammia, Adrain Urbina and Lorenzo Davis each had a pair of hits in the loss. 

Westies fall to Branford
WH falls 9-1
Westie Blue
(June 19, 2016) 
- The West Haven American Legion baseball team was swept by Branford in its three game series this weekend. The finale of the series took place in Branford Sunday morning and was the same as the first two with Branford winning 9-1. 
Playing short-handed, the Westies could not come away with the win, using a few player from the younger squad. 
"We struck out several times and made several defensive mistakes which cost us," West Haven coach Fred Morgillo said. "The players we had played out of their natural position so they were not in their comfort zone. Players kept their heads up and stayed positive for younger players."