STAMFORD SENIOR AMERICAN LEGION Getting playoff ready
STAMFORD — With the state playoffs beginning in a week, the Stamford Senior American Legion is beginning to focus on defending the state title it won last summer.
Saturday in a non-Legion doubleheader against the New England Pride AAU team, Stamford looked the part of a team with a mission to repeat.
The team used a mix of pitchers on the day, showcasing the amazing array of arms they have on the staff.
In game one, Stamford rolled to a 7-0 win with a plethora of line-drive base hits and timely hitting, taking advantage of five Pride errors.
In the second game, few Stamford errors opened the door for New England to split the doubleheader with an 8-4 victory.
Stamford treated game one like a playoff game but chose to rest some starters in game two and get a look at bench players in starting roles.
“We are just getting live reps today. The philosophy was to play like a playoff game and the second game we wanted to get some guys some looks somewhere else and get some ABs,” Stamford coach Kevin Murray said. “All 18 of the guys on the team are valuable and are able to produce. If you are in the lineup, we expect you to go out there and get the job done.”
Murray particularly liked what he saw from his team in game one.
“We had great swings, had great approaches and played good defense,” Murray said. “We are getting in payoff mode. We have to finish out in our zone this week and then the fun begins. These guys know how to mentally prepare. We have three tough zone games this week and then the playoffs begin Saturday, so, no time to rest.”
Stamford got two runs in the bottom of the first on RBI hits by Connor Nicholson and Hunter Semmel.
Stamford scored four times in the third inning, aided by three Pride errors and scored one more in the fifth courtesy of two more fielding errors.
Leo Socci got the win in game one, striking out six and allowing two hits in four innings.
Socci was back on the hill after missing some time with arm soreness as he comes back from Tommy John surgery he had last year.
“I felt good being back out there after a long process of dealing with the injury,” Socci said. “These extra games are very important to us because it gets us reps and gets us prepared for the state tournament that is coming up. It takes a team to win and everybody is doing their job.”
Chris Candito and Michael Newman finished off the shutout on the mound.
Newman also collected a double down the right-field line in the sixth in a rare plate appearance for the relief pitcher.
In game two, Stamford opted to give players looks at positions they may not have played this season, seeing if they could be called upon in a pinch come playoff time.
Nicholson and Semmel each drove in runs in game two.