BRISTOL BORO – The Bristol baseball Warriors were languishing in the dugout, just watching as Morrisville starter Colt Bower mowed down batter after batter. The ace righthander for the Bulldogs fanned 10 Bristol batters in the first five frames.
If the Warriors could just get to the visitors’ number two pitcher, they might stand a chance. They had to get there within striking distance however and junior Xavier Corbin made sure they did.
Third baseman Nick Kremmer was up to bat with runners at the corners. Already he had stroked a pair of singles and a double. Here, he launched a ball with eyes toward centerfield when Corbin – at short for the injured George Delgado – leaped up and came down with the looper in the web of his glove.
“I told ‘X’ after the game, he made the catch to save the season,” said Persichetti. “If they drop that in there and get another run, we would have been down 5-2, that’s a lot harder to come back from.
“Plus that was a momentum swing; once he made that catch, we came in here on a high, came back and got what we needed.”
Trailing 4-2 facing Kremmer on the mound, what they needed was at least three runs to take the lead. Bristol bounced back with five in the frame, mostly on errors by Morrisville.
“We had a rough sixth inning – we mishandled a couple of ground balls,” admitted Bulldogs first-year head coach Mike Rush. “We didn’t play solid ‘D’ in the sixth inning and that’s what killed us.”
Not helping Morrisville’s chances in this one were a dozen runners left on base including eight in scoring position.
“We had some chacnes earlier in the game to get more runs with guys on base and we didn’t do it,” added Rush. “There were ample opportunities to be up more than two runs going into the bottom of the sixth.”
To be sure, there were, though Warriors Southpaw Chris Paci had something to do with that. He relieved starter Allen Reyes after the sophomore loaded the bases and allowed a pair of runs to cross.
With the sacks still jammed, the lefthander induced a ground ball back to the mound by Bulldogs first baseman Joe Jacobs that resulted in a force at home plate and induced a lineout to third base by second baseman C.J. Vareha to escape the inning without any further damage.
“Chris came in and shut them down; he came in and kept it together. We were in a hole and he came in and really just stopped them.
“It was a tough spot. We expected Allen to go a little bit further but he didn’t have it. So Paci came in and shut them down which was crucial for us that early in the game.”
Up 2-1 when Paci exited the game in favor of junior righthander Austin Funair, Morrisville added two more runs in the top of the fifth on an RBI single by center fielder Hunter Kimble and an infield error on a ball tapped to third base by Vareha.
With a runners at the corners, Corbin may have saved the day previously when he picked up a line shot off his glove by ‘Dawgs rightfielder Chandler Rich and side-armed it to second base to get the force at the bag.
With the sacks jammed with Warriors in the bottom of the sixth, he stroked a ball up the middle that was fielded at short, then dropped at second base for a pair of Bristol runs that deadlocked the sides at 2-all.
Bristol took the lead on a ball stroked back to the mound by Tyler Gonzalez, went up 6-4 on a fielding error by Kremmer on a grounder by Reyes and 7-4 on an RBI single to centerfield by Dylan O’Neil.
TOP PHOTO: Morrisville infielder Joe Jacobs (17), left, keeps Bristol baserunner Paulie Nieves (2) close to the bag in Warriors’ 7-4 comeback win over the Bulldogs May 9 at the boro’s Memorial Little League ballfields. (Steve Sherman – 21st-Century Media)
Bristol 7, Morrisville 4
(May 9 at Bristol)
MORRISVILLE 200 020 0 – 4 8 4
BRISTOL 001 015 X – 7 6 1
WP — Austin Funair (B) 3IP, 2R, 5H, 1BB, 1SO; LP — Nick Kremmer (M) .2IP, 5R, 2H, 1BB, 0SO, 1HB.
MULTIPLE HITS: M — Colt Bower 2-for-3, Kremmer 3-for-4; B — Dylan O’Neil 2-for-4.
RBI: M — Kremmer, Hunter Kimble; B — Xavier Corbin, O’Neil.