Strong pitching and timely hitting propelled the Greenwich Cannons Senior American Legion baseball team to victories in their first three games of the U19 American Legion State Tournament.
The Cannons received another impressive pitching performance Saturday, with right-hander Riley Redahan limiting Waterford to two runs, but the clutch hit the team needed eluded it on this day.
A two-run second inning was enough to lift Waterford to a 2-1 win over eighth-seeded Greenwich in a Bristol Regional bracket game in the Super Regional round of the U19 American Legion State Tournament at Muzzy Field on Saturday in Bristol.
Greenwich advanced to the tournament’s four-team Bristol Regional by winning all three games of their group (POD E) in the Southern Regional bracket earlier this week. Now, four teams are playing in the double elimination Bristol Regional – Greenwich, Waterford, Stamford and Willimantic at Muzzy Field – and four teams are competing in the Middletown Regional at Palmer Field. The top two teams from each double elimination Regional will meet in the state finals.
The Cannons (17-10, 3-1 in the state tournament) continue action in the tournament today when it plays Willimantic at 1 p.m. in the Bristol Regional at Muzzy Field. Greenwich needs to defeat Willimantic to remain in contention for the state title. A loss would eliminate the Cannons from the tournament.
Saturday’s game saw both teams manage six hits while being challenged by standout pitchers. Right-hander Aiden Whitten earned the win for Waterford, pitching a complete game in a 100-pitch effort. Redahan, meanwhile, turned in another stellar performance, needing just 67 pitches to navigate through six innings. A rising Brunswick School senior, Redahan struck out three batters, while exhibiting good control throughout.
“He battled, he gave his team a chance to win there at the end,” Cannons coach Mike Abate said of Redahan. “I’ll put him up against anybody in the state the way he battles. He hits spots and he does what he has to do keep his team in contention to win the game. He did what he had to do to win, we just couldn’t get the big hit.”
Redahan retired the side in order in the first inning, inducing three fly ball outs. In the second inning, Waterford scored their only two runs in the matchup.
A pair of singles and a double resulting in two runs and a 2-0 second-inning lead for Waterford. After that, Redahan yielded just three hits over the next four innings.
“I just tried to go out there and challenge batters,” Redahan said. “I thought I did really well. My command was there, I thought I hit my spots, but give them props, they put the ball in play and they got runs.”
Third baseman Justin Zych, catcher Felipe Echeto, shortstop Tommy Healey, outfielder Zack Alza, Redahan and outfielder Marc Thibeault each had one hit, getting singles off Whitten, the winning pitcher.
Greenwich put two runners on base in the third inning and loaded the bases in the fourth inning, as Zych reached safely on a bunt single, Echeto singled and outfielder Wyatt Gibson was hit by a pitch. Yet Whitten escaped the inning unscathed and Waterford kept its 2-0 lead.
“They got the big hit when they had runners at second and third and we didn’t and that was the difference in the game,” Abate said. “We competed, we just didn’t get the big hit when we needed it.”
The Cannons cut Waterford’s lead to 2-1 in the top of the sixth inning. Redahan helped his own cause, starting the inning by hitting a double to right center field off Whitten. Zych drew a walk and Echeto singled to center field, loading the bases with no outs.
Later in the inning with one out, outfielder Wyatt Gibson hit a sacrifice fly to left field, with Redahan sliding home safely, making it 2-1. Thibeault singled in the top of the seventh inning, but Waterford held on for the win. Waterford plays Stamford at 4 p.m. today at Muzzy Field, while Greenwich faces Willimantic at 1 p.m.
Echeto and Redahan once again, showed good rapport throughout the game in holding their foe to a pair of runs. The Cannons catcher was highly impressed with Redahan’s pitching effort.
“We were expecting that, every single game that he takes the bump he’s been doing that,” said Echeto, a rising Southern Connecticut University sophomore. “I give nothing but props to him. Throwing in this 100 degree weather the way he pitched – it’s amazing.”
“Even though we didn’t take advantage of some of the opportunities, we had, we battled and tried,” Echeto continued. “Watching these guys play with all this energy makes me proud.”
The winner of today’s Greenwich-Willimantic game will play the loser of the Stamford-Waterford matchup on Monday at Muzzy Field at 6:30 p.m. Today’s Greenwich-Willimantic loser will be eliminated from the state tournament.
“We’re confident, the whole season we’ve played with a lot of confidence,” Redahan said.
Categories: Summer Sports