The Newington Summer Baseball 9/10 Travel Gold Little League team celebrates their undefeated season and championship title. Photo: Jim Strong.
Newington Travel Gold Caps Undefeated Season
NEWINGTON - Throughout the course of its undefeated 12-0 season, the Newington Summer Baseball 9/10 Travel Gold Little League team kept one thing consistent.
After an opposing team’s at-bat, the team would gather in the dugout for a pep talk in order to focus and get ready to step up to the plate. But when they finished off their inter-town rivals, Newington Blue, with a final strikeout from Jonathan Strong in the Tournament Championship game, the process was still well ingrained in their minds--so much so, that they did not even celebrate right away as they trotted to the dugout.
“They were so focused on the game, that when the game was over, they didn’t even know it was over,” said Newington Gold coach Jim Strong. “I’ll take credit for that.”
The rest, of course, goes to a team that capped off a perfect season with an 11-5 victory over Newington Blue in East Hartford. Utilizing the five-man pitching rotation--Nick Gagliarte, Alex Cappelucci, Andrew and Alex Bugnacki and Jonathan Strong--that backstopped them all year long, Newington Gold routed East Hartford and then Rocky Hill on their way to the title game.
“We wouldn’t have won without them,” Jim Strong said. “They dominated the other teams. If one guy didn’t have it, I put somebody else in and he had it. We had a good combination of pitching that just threw strikes.”
That’s not to take anything away from the offense. Catcher Dante Cooper’s two base-clearing doubles during a 13-3 landslide win versus Rocky Hill was just one of the batting highlights over a three-game span in which the team had a combined 35 runs.
Things got tighter when they faced Newington Blue, however.
“It was a good baseball game,” Strong said. “We both hit the ball good, both made some good defensive plays.”
But with Newington Gold trailing 5-3 in the fourth, their bats came to life in the form of a six-run rally.
“They hit the ball good on us,” Strong said. “We had a few breaks go our way.”