The Branford Legion team may have dropped its two games at the American Legion World Series, but Post 83's season leaves a lot to be proud of, including a 26-1 regular-season record and a great run through the state and regional tournaments.
Here are recaps of Branford's games in Shelby, North Carolina, courtesy of Kevin Force.
Aug. 16: Wilmington 5, Branford 0Joe O'Donnell turned in an impressive performance, leading Wilmington, N.C., to a 5-0 victory over Branford, Conn. behind a three-hit shutout in first-round play at the American Legion World Series on Friday.
O'Donnell was precise, collecting 16 ground ball outs in 9 innings of work. He walked one and struck out four. Offensively, both Chance Shepard and Collin Thacker drove in two runs. Shepard was 3-for-3 on the day.
Greg Zullo recorded two of Branford's three hits.
Wilmington (35-2) advances to the championship bracket, where it will meet Gonzales, La., in the final game of the day. Branford (32-3) will meet Petaluma, Calif. at approximately 1 p.m.
Aug. 17: California 6, Branford 3California pitcher Brandon Hegerla spread out seven hits and walked none over 8 innings, and Nos. 5-7 hitters Weston Bryan, Blake Patrick and Ryan Walsh collected 2 RBIs apiece, to help lead Petaluma, Calif., to a 6-3 loser-out victory over Branford, Conn., Saturday afternoon at the American Legion Baseball World Series.
Bryan highlighted a 3-run bottom of the first inning with a 2-run single, and Patrick added a sacrifice fly, to give Petaluma a lead it never gave up.
Connecticut scratched a single run across the plate in each of the fourth, fifth and sixth innings to get within one, 4-3, but Walsh smashed a 2-out, 2-run double in the bottom of the sixth inning to put the game at its final margin. He finished 2-for-2 with 2 walks.
California (33-14) advances to play the loser of Saturday evening’s Minnesota-New Jersey game Sunday at 1 p.m. Branford, Conn., finished its season with a 35-4 record. In two appearances at the ALWS in four years, it has failed to win a game.
Only 2 of the runs that Hagerla gave up were earned as the California defense committed 4 errors and allowed Connecticut to get within 1 run. But the defense played well enough as Hagerla struck out just 3. Jimmy Flatt pitched a perfect ninth inning to earn the save without recording a strikeout.
Kyle Hart and Tyler Forgione each went 2-for-4 with an RBI and run scored to pace Connecticut on offense. Starter John Amendola lasted five innings, allowing 9 hits, 2 walks and 5 earned runs. Michael Schettino pitched 3 hitless innings in relief.