East Hampton and Portland baseball team prior to a May 17 game at Dunkin’ Donuts Park in Hartford. The Highlanders won 2-0, avenging a 14-0 loss to the Bellringers less than a month earlier.
On April 20, East Hampton baseball crushed Portland 14-0 at Portland High School, handing the Highlanders their most lopsided loss of the season.
Less than a month later, Portland flipped the script and beat the Bellringers 2-0 on a picturesque spring evening at Dunkin’ Donuts Park in Hartford last Tuesday, May 17.
Spencer Rosado was cool as a cucumber as he pitched a two-hitter under the bright lights where the Yard Goats normally graze.
Rosado, who went the entire way and struck out eight, said he didn’t think about the venue and was solely focused on the task at hand.
“It feels great. It means a lot to us,” Rosado said about the win. “I expected it to be honest. I expected to come here and shut them out.”
Head coach Rick Borg has full trust in his junior lefty, even when his team got into a jam in the 7th inning with the winning run at the plate following an error.
“He was going to have to beg me to come out,” said Borg, who added Rosado had earned the chance to pitch in the big moment.
The teams battled to a scoreless tie for the first three innings as Rosado and East Hampton’s hard-throwing Nate Bigelow made easy work the first time through the batting order.
Rosado led off the top of the 4th inning with a single through the heart of the defense and then Michael Quesnel cranked a triple to deep left, sending Rosado home for the game's opening run.
“I was just trying to put the ball in play. I’ve been having a rough time at the plate recently,” recalled Quesnel, who added that he thought the shot may carry the 308 feet needed to go over the left field wall. “But I can’t complain about a triple.”
Quesnel then scored following a sacrifice fly to center field from Austin Vess.
The 4th inning fireworks turned out to be the only scoring.
“We expect him to do that,” said Borg. “I love Mike Quesnel and I would play anyone in the state if I had nine more of him.”
In the bottom of the 7th, East Hampton had runners at first and third with the winning run at the plate.
However—as he had done all game—Rosado responded with two consecutive strikeouts.
Rosado said his two-seam fastball was working all game and that he wasn’t concerned about the late jam, adding, “I really just didn’t think about it. I went out there and put in the work.”
East Hampton head coach Tom Seidl was disappointed in his team’s inability to generate offense or capitalize on the 7th inning opportunity.
“Our pitcher pitched a great game and their pitcher pitched a little bit better,” added Seidl “[Portland] deserved to win. Rick is a good coach and we had them ready today and they beat us.”
It was East Hampton’s sixth straight loss and seventh loss in eight games.
“We are just struggling right now. I don’t know what to say at this point. Sometimes you can’t get out of your own way and that is kind of what we are going through right now,” said Seidl. “I know what this team is capable of and we are not doing it right now and it frustrates me as a coach that I’m not able to pull it out of them.”
For Portland, the win was big on several levels.
It not only avenged the earlier 14-run loss over a rival in Connecticut’s biggest baseball venue, but it also provided a positive memory that will last a lifetime.
“It’s an experience that the team will never forget and neither will I,” added Borg, whose team turned around a season that began with eight straight losses. “This group is fun to be with and it’s rewarding to see them improve over the course of the year. Sometimes teams will disintegrate a little bit at the end of the year after a tough season, but these guys hung together and I couldn’t be more proud to get the win tonight.”
It turned out to be the Highlander’s third and final win of the season.
For Quesnel, who is the team’s only senior player, the victory in Hartford capitalized a great baseball career.
“To come in here and do this in front of all these fans is really an awesome feeling,” said Quesnel. “This is a fun group of guys and I love every single one of them like they are my brothers.”
Junior Spencer Rosado pitched a complete-game, two-hitter and struck out eight as Highlanders baseball upset East Hampton 2-0 on May 17 at Dunkin’ Donuts Parks in Hartford.
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Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin