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Knights of Columbus Wins West Hartford Youth Baseball League Championship

West Hartford Youth Baseball 2016 town champions Knights of Columbus. Submitted photo

The winner of the 2016 West Hartford Youth Baseball Championship was decided on June 13 in an exciting fashion.

West Hartford Youth Baseball 2016 town champions Knights of Columbus. Submitted photo

West Hartford Youth Baseball 2016 town champions Knights of Columbus. Submitted photo


Game 1 Town Championship: Facing elimination, Knights of Columbus rallies to defeat Venora Electric 8-5.

Knights of Columbus comes back to erase an early 5-1 deficit in the 3rd inning to stay alive and force a second and winner takes all championship game with a comeback win over Venora 8-5.

Eli Salomons was on the mound for Venora and Xaviel Amarat started for KofC. KofC got on the board first with a run in the top of the 1st inning when Griffin Paulus was hit by a pitch to open the game, stole 2nd and came around and scored on an Amarat RBI single. Venora wasted no time taking command of the game scoring 4 times in the bottom of the first on a walks to Jack Kennedy and Nathan Gallo and singles from Eli Salomons, Anthony Mangini, Peter Langevin and Matthew Shiffman. Amarat settled down to limit the damage down only 3 runs after the first inning at 4-1.

In the 2nd Venora’s, Jack Kennedy homered off Amarat to extend the lead to 5-1. In the 3rd KofC mounted their comeback with one out when Paulus singled and stole 2nd and a Tristan Baron ground rule double to left scored Paulus to make it 5-2. Amarat singled to right scoring Baron and Amarat scored on a single by Scott LaBranch to make it 5-4. With 2 outs, Ixael Albino homered to center scoring LaBranch to put KofC back on top at 6-5. With one out in the bottom of the 4th Albino relieved Amarat with runners at 2nd and 3rd and Albino struck out two Venora hitters to get out of the jam.

The score remained the same until the KofC 6th when Albino homered to left for his second round-tripper of the game to make it 7-5. Matt Santoro walked and stole second and Brody McCarthy singled up the middle to center with two outs driving in Santoro to extend the lead out to 8-5. The Venora bottom of the 6th was not without drama as they loaded the bases on a pair of base on balls and a Damarre Joseph single bringing the go ahead Venora run to the plate.

Albino then struck out the final Venora hitter to finish the game and get the long save in relief and keep KofC’s championship series hopes alive with the 8-5 win setting up the winner-take-all final game for the West Hartford Youth Baseball Town Championship on Monday night.

For KofC at the plate, Albino led the attack with 2 HR’s, 3 RBI and 2 runs scored. Amarat had 2 hits and 2 RBI. Baron doubled with 1 RBI and Paulus, LaBranch, John Pedraza and McCarthy all had 1 hit. For KofC on the mound, Amarat started going 3.1 innings allowing 5 runs on 6 hits with 3 K’s. Albino finished the game picking up the save going 2.2 innings allowing no runs on 1 hit with 4 K’s.

For Venora at the plate, Jack Kennedy homered. Salomons, Anthony Mangini, Langevin, Ryan Smith, Shiffman and Joseph all had one hit. On the mound for Venora, Salomons started pitching 4.2 innings allowing 6 runs on 7 hits with 6 K’s. Anthony Mangini pitched one inning allowing 2 runs on 1 hit with 1 K and Langevin recorded the last out allowing one hit.

Game 2 Town Championship: Knights of Columbus defeats Venora Electric 2-1 for the championship on a 6th inning walk-off base hit by John Pedraza

An opposite field line drive base hit to right field by John Pedraza in the bottom of the 6th inning gives KofC a 2-1 win for the Town Championship title in walk-off fashion at Wolcott Park. Playing their 6th and 5th respective playoff games in 8 days in the West Hartford Youth Baseball postseason double elimination tournament KofC rallies for a run against Venora in the bottom of the 6th inning.

Tristan Baron was the starting pitcher for KofC and Anthony Mangini started for Venora. Both teams exchanged runs in the 1st inning with Venora striking first on a bases loaded walk after hits by Jack Kennedy and Anthony Mangini. KofC responded to match the run in the bottom of the first started by a Griffin Paulus infield hit. Paulus then stole 2nd and was moved to third by Tristan Baron’s groundball out to 2nd base. Xaviel Amarat then hit a hard line drive double off the center field fence scoring Paulus to tie the score at 1-1.

The score remained at 1-1 entering the 6th inning but both teams had multiple chances to score but excellent pitching and defense prevailed as well as an untimely Venora base running interference violation that occurred. Outstanding defense by the Venora catcher Salomons throwing out a critical KofC runner at 3rd trying to steal and the KofC outfield led by Grady, Ziggy Sokolowski and Brody McCarthy taking care of fly balls in critical 2 out situations late in the ball game.

For KofC Baron was relieved in the 4th by Matt Santoro and Mangini was relieved by Peter Langevin in the 6th inning.

In what was billed as a hitters night at Wolcott Park with both teams deep in each other’s pitching rotations, KofC’s Baron and Santoro were tough pitching out of jams much of the night with good defense and big strikeouts as well as Mangini for Venora doing the same.

Santoro retired Venora on 4 hitters in the top of the 6th setting the stage for Pedraza’s heroics in the bottom of the 6th. Brendan Grady singled to right to lead off the bottom of the 6th and moved over to 2nd on an Ixael Albino base on balls. A wild pitch moved both runners over to 2nd and 3rd and Langevin struck out the next KofC hitter to record the first out of the inning. The next hitter John Pedraza lined a base hit over the drawn-in infield to right field scoring Grady and completing the unlikely KofC run of 5 wins in 8 days defeating Venora twice in two days to win the Town Championship. Pedraza was mobbed at first base by his teammates for his last inning walk-off championship winning swing.

For Venora at the plate, Jack Kennedy had 2 hits and scored a run. Salomons and Anthony Mangini each had one hit. For Venora on the mound, Mangini started and pitched 5 innings allowing 1 run on 5 hits with 6 K’s. Langevin relieved Anthony Mangini in the 6th allowing 1 run on 2 hits with 1 K.

For KofC at the plate, Paulus and Grady led the attack with 2 hits and 1 run. Amarat doubled with an RBI and Baron had one hit. Pedraza had the game winning hit and RBI on the one big swing. On the mound for KofC, Baron pitched into the 4th allowing 1 run on 4 hits with 4 K’s. Santoro relieved Baron in the 4th pitching 3 innings allowing 1 hit with 1 K. Santoro gets the championship win in relief of Baron.

KofC finishes the season with a 14-7 record going 5-1 in the post season double elimination tournament. Venora finishes the season at 15-5 going 3-2 in the post season.

KofC’s rostered players: Matt Santoro, Brendan Grady, Tristan Baron, Luke Singer, Luke Bronson, Griffin Paulus, Brody McCarthy, Ziggy Sokolowski, John Pedraza, Ixael Albino, Xaviel Amarat and Scott LaBranch. KofC coaches are: Glynn Baron, Dan Paulus, Jack LaBranch, Kyle Jeter and Bob Santoro.

Venora’s rostered players: Nathan Gallo, Damarre Joseph, Jack Kennedy, Jamie Kennedy, Peter Langevin, Drew Lewis, Anthony Mangini, Conor Mangini, Jonas Otte, Eli Salomons, Matthew Shiffman and Ryan Smith. Venora coaches are: Rob Gallo, Andy Schatz, Kevin Hebert, Ken Mangini and Steve Mangini.

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