Amity’s No. 1 baseball team opens game in sixth to beat West Haven, remains undefeated

WOODBRIDGE — The Amity baseball team is steeped in tradition. An abundance of state title and championship appearances will do that.

Going into Thursday’s game, Amity was undefeated and the highest-ranked team in the GameTimeCT/Register Top 10 poll. While the Spartans may have gotten off to a slow start in the contest, the end result was the same.

Scoring five times in the sixth inning, Amity outlasted West Haven 8-1 at Amity High School. The victory helped the Spartans improve to 13-0 on the year with Notre Dame-West Haven looming on Friday.

“We take every opponent very seriously,” Amity coach Sal Coppola said. “Our guys can’t think anyone is going to be easy. It helps to have Martin (Zhang) on ​​the mound.


Leading 3-1, the Spartans opened the game with the use of a small ball in the sixth inning. After Evan Talnose started with a double, a bunt single from Justin Zamkov put the runners into the corners, before Samuel Gettinger threw a left single for a 4-1 lead.

Dylan Russ followed with another bunt single to load the bases, before Andrew Soldra lifted a sacrificial fly on the left for a 5-1 advantage. Thomas Waldron followed with a single down the middle to score Geter, and Nicholas Clark hit a fielder’s pick, and an error on the play to score two more.

“Small ball wins games all the time,” Coppola said. “We did a good job and there were guys on the bench who did. So our bench guys, we just talked before the game, saying we need to get these guys in. It’s not just bench guys. They performed everything they were supposed to do. It made me feel really happy that they contributed. It helps because they want to contribute.

The long run spoiled what was a strong start from West Haven’s Jack Hay. The West Haven elder threw well enough to keep the Westies in the game, but West Haven’s offense couldn’t string together much, scoring their only run in the first inning when Tyler DeSanty walked in and came back to score on an error.

“I’m proud of our kids,” West Haven coach Ron Luneau said after his team fell to 7-6. “Going into the sixth inning, we’re down to the No. 1 team in the state 3-1. We hung on. We had difficulty with guys who weren’t in their place. Obviously, we miss Gianni (injured) (Gambardella) and that doesn’t help for the last four or five games. Of course, when you’re this close, you hope to find a game and win it.

Amity responded late in the first with three runs as Soldra led off with a single, McAllister Burke was hit with a one-out pitch and Clark followed with a left double to score Soldra. Another brace from Steven Cifarelli scored Burke, and a sacrifice ball from Talnose gave Amity a 3-1 lead.

Hay settled after the first inning and gave his team a chance by blocking a runner on base in each of the next two innings, before retiring the team in order in sixth.

“I think Jack threw well, Luneau said of Hay. “He kept us in the game. He kept believing. He wasn’t afraid to challenge their hitters.

“I give him credit,” Coppola said of Hay. “He was beating his ass. He started a very good game. »

After pulling out three strikes at first despite a run, Amity starter Martin Zhang pulled the team out at second and another at third before DeSanty hit an error. The Westies fell down the order in the fourth, before notching their first hit of the game in the fifth, a Corey Coggins at-bat single to the right.

The Westies failed a pair, ending the day for Zhang, who allowed an unearned run on a hit, while striking out nine of five innings.

“My mindset when entering is in competition with anyone,” Zhang said. “I was attacking the zone early, landing the slider and pumping the zone with the fastball.

“We can’t overestimate or underestimate anyone we play with. We take it day by day. We don’t think about what is behind us or what is in front of us.

Brock Goodwin pitched the final two innings for Amity, allowing just a one-out single in the sixth and blocking a pair in the seventh.

“He limited them to a point, an unearned point,” Coppola said of Zhang. “He was the big guy for today. We just gave up.

West Haven have dropped their fourth decision in their last five games.

“I think it will give us some confidence,” Luneau said. “When you can play with them, Amity is Amity. They’re well trained. They’ve got great players. When we can hang out with them and play with them, you know it’s good.

Cifarelli led Amity with three hits, while Soldra had two hits in the win.

game player

Martin Zhang, Friendship: The senior pitcher hit five innings, struck out nine and allowed an unearned run.

Quotable

“It’s a little different. We don’t talk about it. I never look in the newspaper. We try to take the same approach every game. If you win and you have the right approach, and if you lose and you have the right approach, that’s what we’re looking for. Hope they keep that in mind.

– Amity coach Sal Coppola on the team’s 13-0 start.

FRIENDSHIP 8,

WEST HAVEN 1

West Haven100,000 0 — 1 3 1

Friendship300 005 x — 8 12 2

W: Jack Hay (L) and Corey Coggins; A: Martin Zhang (F), Brock Goodwin (6) and Justin Zamkov; 2B: A: Steven Cifarelli (2), Nicholas Clark, Evan Talnose

Records: West Haven 7-6; Friendship 13-0