MIDDLETOWN, Conn. — 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 that’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 “nickel-and-dimed” their way to eight runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth frames.
Righty starter Kory “Skip” Lawrence took the loss after yielding six hits in four-plus innings.
“Skip just didn’t have it (Thursday),” noted co-skipper Jim Gauthier after the tilt. “We ended up walking nine guys, and Skip had six of them. He wasn’t on.
“The problem was we loaded the bases four times, including two with nobody out, and scored only one run,” he added. “We just couldn’t get the key hit. We were only down a run or two at those times, but it didn’t come.
“We ended up stranding 14 in scoring position, and you just can’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 isn’t better than we are. We gave it away, and it’s because we didn’t play our game.
“It would’ve helped if we played the way we’re capable.”
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 Bare’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.
“The hits were only at 10-9 (for Barnstable), and they made three errors while we only committed one,” Gauthier lamented.
“Then again, we made a lot of sloppy mental errors, like throwing to the wrong bag, missing the cutoff, etc. We’re definitely better than this. Like I said, the kids just didn’t have it.”
The good news: Navigant is still alive in this double-elimination event. It now will face Rochester, N.H., which dropped an 18-8 “mercy rule” verdict to Branford, Conn., at 9:30 a.m. today back at Palmer Field.