MIDDLETOWN, Conn. â€” Navigant Post 85 produced several opportunities to capture its U.S. American Legion Northeast Regional Tournament opener at Palmer Field on Thursday morning.
It failed on most, and thatâ€™s why the Rhode Island champions suffered a lopsided 9-2 defeat to Barnstable, Mass.
For those who reigned from the Bay State, George Bent hurled a complete-game nine-hitter while his offense â€śnickel-and-dimedâ€ť their way to eight runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth frames.
Righty starter Kory â€śSkipâ€ť Lawrence took the loss after yielding six hits in four-plus innings.
â€śSkip just didnâ€™t have it (Thursday),â€ť noted co-skipper Jim Gauthier after the tilt. â€śWe ended up walking nine guys, and Skip had six of them. He wasnâ€™t on.
â€śThe problem was we loaded the bases four times, including two with nobody out, and scored only one run,â€ť he added. â€śWe just couldnâ€™t get the key hit. We were only down a run or two at those times, but it didnâ€™t come.
â€śWe ended up stranding 14 in scoring position, and you just canâ€™t have that in a tournament this big. We left just one on first base. We can accept losing to a better team, but that team isnâ€™t better than we are. We gave it away, and itâ€™s because we didnâ€™t play our game.
â€śIt wouldâ€™ve helped if we played the way weâ€™re capable.â€ť
Barnstable notched a run in the first, and it remained that way until they erupted for three more in the fourth. Navigant sliced the gap to 4-1 in the fifth after Aaron Catarina walked and eventually scored on Matt Bareâ€™s single, but the home squad added two more in the fifth.
Post 85 again knifed into the lead, plating a run in the top of the sixth when Victor Hunt ripped a leadoff triple to right and Andreas Brackett doubled him home, but those were the lone sources of the stale offense.
â€śThe hits were only at 10-9 (for Barnstable), and they made three errors while we only committed one,â€ť Gauthier lamented.
â€śThen again, we made a lot of sloppy mental errors, like throwing to the wrong bag, missing the cutoff, etc. Weâ€™re definitely better than this. Like I said, the kids just didnâ€™t have it.â€ť
The good news: Navigant is still alive in this double-elimination event. It now will face Rochester, N.H., which dropped an 18-8 â€śmercy ruleâ€ť verdict to Branford, Conn., at 9:30 a.m. today back at Palmer Field.View more articles in: