Baseball Review //
Hartford Colts, 5
Record-Journal Expos, 6
July 19th, 2022
Ceppa Field, Meriden, CT

Official Box Score :::

Additional Photos :::

Last time the Hartford Colts and Record-Journal Expos met it was not a close game, but in their second meeting it stayed close throughout and came right down to the very last play.   When it comes to that tension and suspense, just knowing that any run could be the last one- this game had all of that and that made it a really good game.

First things first, AJ Hendrickson was on the mound for the Expos while Jonathan Martin was up for the Colts.  In many ways, this game was about the pitching because that kept the offense of both teams to a certain level where, yes, they had their innings where they scored but it didn't feel like as much as is represented on paper.

The bottom of the first inning saw a great catch by AJ Desarro in center field for the Colts, who kind of ran into the fence out there and the umpire called time to make sure he was okay.   AJ Hendrickson and Javon Malone would pull a double steal, taking second and third, to help Jeff Massicotte single and drive them both in to give the Expos a 2-0 lead after the first inning.

The second inning was scoreless for both teams but it was highlighted by a catch made near left center field by Nhasean Murphy that was not easy to pull off.  This is the second game in a row now Nhasean Murphy has had that play that you just don't see every player making and it really speaks about what kind of player he is for the Expos.

In the top of the third inning, AJ Desarro would go from first to second on a steal.  John Ahern singles Desarro over to third and then Nick Landell hits a sac fly out to center to bring Desarro in for the first Colts run of the game.   The inning ended on a strike out, but it put the Colts on the board and it was 2-1.

In the bottom of the third inning, Javon Malone was walked and then stole second.  Jason Sullivan would ground out to first, but move Malone over to third, and then AJ Hendrickson does the same only it brings Malone home.   So with two outs, the Expos have put up another run.  And then the Colts were throwing the ball around in a weird way which had Shaun Remillard go to second and Jeff Massicotte scored.   The inning would end with the Expos back up 4-1, and also this was very little to do with the pitching.

The top of the fourth inning was a big one for the Colts and it was where they had their most offense.  Derek Allen hit a single to get on base but then also stole second.   Brett McInerney hits a single and Derek Allen comes home for the first Colts run of the inning.   Wes Ulbrich made it first and third and then a strikeout set the scene as such with two outs.  

With a single by Kyle Darby, the Expos do that thing where they throw the ball around in a weird way (the Colts did it previously this game) and it manages to clear the bases.  There are several factors as to why this might have happened: the heat, the way they cut the field (I saw a ball go to left, drop and bounce up high) or just gravity.  I'm not trying to make excuses I just think it's odd that both teams did it within the same inning of each other.

The game is tied 4-4 after four innings.  When the Colts get into trouble, they bring Nic Civale in to pitch and he gets them out of it.   Both the fifth and sixth innings go by scoreless and all I can think is that the game could go on all night, in the heat even though the sun is going down and there's a nice breeze.

Of course, the seventh inning sees all of the play and it really does come right down to the end.  Greyson Pizzonia comes into the game and hits a grounder to third.  The throw is there and it's really close but the umpire calls him safe at first.  That was definitely a play that should've been reviewed but I don't know who would review it.  On a side note: All season I've been thinking how a tie goes to the runner and everyone usually gets called out when it looks like a tie but this was just such a nice throw by Jason Sullivan- it was a good play no matter the call.

So, with first and second, the Colts hit into a double play but manage to move Greyson Pizzonia to third.  A pitch goes by the catcher and Pizzonia scores, making it a 5-4 ball game.  This felt like a particularly close call for the Colts here because the Expos had been shut down offensively since the third inning.   This felt like it could have been a Colts win based on that inning alone.

With one out in the bottom of the seventh, Jason Sullivan hits a sweet double.  AJ Hedrickson hits a double as well, which brings Jason Sullivan home and the game is now tied 5-5, just like that.   Jeff Massicotte gets a single and moves Hendrickson over to third.  The Colts intentionally walk Andrew McCarty to load the bases.   And then Will Kszywanos is up.  I'm not sure there is anyone on the Expos you really want to walk because you'd rather face someone else, but I understand that the Colts likely did this for the force outs and to hope for a double play.

Will Kszywanos, being that folklore type of hero that he is, hits a shot to right field that at first I thought was going over the fence and we were having a grandslam.   But it drops just at the wall and brings in the winning run to have the game end 6-5.  In any other situation, that certainly would have cleared the bases so kind of sad Kszywanos gets one RBI instead of three, but the Expos also won.  

This win put the Expos back above the Orioles and the Expos are only in second place by one game because the Jets have played two more games than them.  The Jets at the top at 15-4 while the Expos are 13-4, so both only have four losses compared to the 14-5 record of the Orioles.   So this remains a really tight spot for all three of these teams and between the rest of this week and next week it's going to get tense.

The Expos next play the Cardinals at Pat Wall Field on Friday night.   This will be their third and final regular season meeting.   The Expos won the first two games- 7-5 back in May at Ceppa Field and more recently at the end of June 8-3 at Pat Wall Field.  So this will be one of those questions as to whether or not the Expos can sweep the Cardinals as they have been improving over the course of the season and battle to get out of that wild card spot and make the Greeners and Colts fight for it.

The Colts are done for this week but pick up at Johnny Taylor Field on Sunday against the Vernon Orioles and then they meet the Orioles again on Tuesday at Johnny Taylor Field.  Next Thursday, July 28th, as the season comes to its end the Expos make their way to Johnny Taylor Field for the third and final meeting between these two teams.  

The Cardinals and Greeners also play each other for the third and final time of the regular season tomorrow night at Pat Wall Field, which will be interesting as the Greeners and Cardinals both have four wins, the Colts have 6 wins and it's still really a tight race to see who will be the bottom two teams to have a wild card game and make the playoffs.

And if that is not enough baseball for you, the Rainbow Graphics (fifth place, 9-9) take on the South Windsor Phillies (sixth place, 6-10) tonight in South Windsor.  With the Colts and Phillies meeting next week as well, who knows, maybe the Phillies will get knocked down to the wild card spot.  It's all still so close and still so important.  


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