Tonnotti makes sure St. Paul baseball survives trip to Watertown

The St. Paul baseball team faced its toughest challenge of the season in the form of Watertown senior left-hander Henry Marino on Saturday afternoon at Deland Field in Watertown.

The Falcons wound up down by a run with just three outs remaining, but rallied for a 2-1 win over the Warriors. St. Paul improved to 9-0 with the victory, but it had to sweat until the end to do so.

In a game where pitching was king, neither team got a hit until Watertown’s Tino Tanganelli doubled in the bottom of the fifth inning. Ian Glover’s single plated Tanganelli to give Marino and the Warriors a 1-0 lead. St. Paul freshman Cal Chance had his team’s first hit in the top of the sixth, and Ryan Daniels followed with an infield single, but nothing came of the rally.

Senior Casey Cerruto led off the top of the seventh with a single. Sophomore Chase Mendela was called upon to pinch run for Cerruto. Marino struck out the next Falcon for the first out of the seventh. Junior Steve Morelli lined a single the other way to right field. The single was misplayed, and the ball rolled to the fence. Mendela scored from first base and Morelli wound up on third. Right-hander Cam Guerrera came on in relief of Marino, but his first pitch was a wild one, and Morelli scored for a 2-1 St. Paul lead.

The one-run margin turned out to be all sophomore right-hander Joey Tonnotti needed. Tonnotti retired Watertown in order, with the final two going down on his 15th and 16th strikeouts of the game. For the game, Tonnotti allowed a single run on two hits. Marino pitched brilliantly and yielded two runs on only four hits with seven strikeouts against the powerful Falcon offense.

St. Paul begins a four-game week Monday at Derby. The Falcons are the home team Wednesday against Northwest Catholic in a non-league game at Dunkin Donuts Park in Hartford. St. Paul plays Wilby at Municipal Stadium on Thursday, then is at Wolcott on Friday to close out the week.

PHOTO CAPTION: St. Paul sophomore right-hander Joey Tonnotti, seen here playing right field earlier this season against Torrington, struck out 16 in a 2-1 win at Watertown on Saturday. (Copyright, Sports on CT-69, file)