MANCHESTER - With runners on second and third, one away and down 1-0 to D. I Hartford High School in the bottom of the first inning, senior first baseman Jake Stalcup slapped a base hit between third and short driving in Robert England and Zach Stewart to put the Burr and Burton Academy baseball team on top 2-1.

Though BBA (6-0) tacked on two insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to secure the 4-1 victory, Stalcup's single proved to be the deciding hit in a game that featured great pitching and good defense by both teams.

"I think it was a great pitching performance on both sides. Their pitcher did a fantastic job. I mean we put the ball in play, but we hit it right at people and they played decent defense," said BBA coach Tony Cirelli. "I think we weren't ready for that first hit in the first inning which dropped in down the left field line, but thankfully we responded with two runs in the bottom of the inning and then Taylor Fuller did an excellent job and Noah [Rizio] in relief did an excellent job."

BBA's starting pitcher Taylor Fuller - who went five innings and struck out two - matched Hartford senior pitcher Justin Devoid over the next four innings as neither pitcher allowed a run.

Then in the sixth BBA got some breathing room. After left fielder Alex Alberti walked on five pitches - which prompted a visit to the mound by Hartford coach Jarrod Grassi and other members of the team - Tanner Carelton bunted - allowing Alberti to narrowly make it into third with one away.

"We were trying to move some people. When we went up I told Alex (Alberti) look if we get on we're going to bunt you across and he made a great read on that because the third baseman came in on that and didn't return in time," said Cirelli. "So that was great base running on his behalf."

Catcher Dylan Beavin drove Alberti in with a base hit, but was called out at second trying to stretch it into a double.

Later in the inning - after Dalton Blackwell had roped a double to left just out of the grasp of Greg Shinn with two down - Stewart singled to give BBA the 4-0 lead over the Hurricanes (0-4) Noah Rizio - who pitched a one, two, three sixth inning on eight pitches for the Bulldgos - came back out to the mound for the seventh. After the first hitter reached - eventually advancing to third - Rizio struck out the next two batters and then got the designated hitter Justin Leseby to ground it back to him for the final out of the game.

Despite the loss, Grassi feels his team will be "a pretty competitve group" by the end of the year.

"We made a few mistakes that cost us," Grassi said. "All you can do is tip your cap to them. That's the best game that we've played yet. We've got a pretty young team so that's encouraging."

The win puts BBA atop the standings in Division II. Burr and Burton and Otter Valley Union High School remain the only two undefeated teams in D. II.

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