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Thursday, February 22 Sports

Westport Legion advances in sectional playoffs

The Staples baseball team had a disappointing end to an outstanding regular season thanks to a pair of first-game playoff losses. The fire from those defeats has carried over to the summer, where the Westport Senior Legion team is looking to made amends and put together a run of its own.

While some of the pieces are different, most are the same. One of those vital components, pitcher Ryder Chasin, ensured Westport wouldn't be one-and-done in the Southern Divisional playoffs as he hurled seven shutout innings in a 10-0, eight-inning win over East Haven on Sunday at Staples Field.

"We want to make a run in these playoffs," Chasin said. "This might be my last season, I want to play as long as I can and I don't want to go out with a loss."

No. 10 Westport -- which finished third in Zone 4 to earn a playoff spot for the first time in a decade --easily dispatched Zone 2 member East Haven (18-13). Westport pounded out 12 hits -- all singles -- and scored four runs in the second inning to get a quick start.

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"Through the winter we've been talking about how much talent this team has, especially compared to the last couple of years on this legion team," Chasin said.

The win sets up a matchup against Middletown at Palmer Field on Monday at 3:30 p.m. for a spot in the state tournament.

"Middletown is notoriously a good baseball team," Westport coach Jeff Love said. "As you go up the level of play is going to increase."

Sean Clarke walked with the bases load to give Westport (20-8) a 1-0 lead in the second inning before another run was plated on a wild pitch. Justin Gallanty then delivered a two-run single to double the advantage.

Wesptort tacked on another two runs in the third to increase the lead to 6-0. The cushion gave Chasin even more confidence to go after opposing hitters.

"Ryder just attacks; he's not afraid of anybody," Love said. "He can throw multiple pitches for strikes and he puts pressure on the hitters."

With the score 7-0 in the top of the seventh, East Haven loaded the bases with two outs, only for Chasin to force a popout to end the threat.

"Chasin just took over; he wasn't going to let the other team beat him," Love said. "Our offense did a great job and defensively we played fantastic."

Chasin scattered eight hits and recorded 16 groundouts with a steady defense making all the plays behind him. Shortstop Marco Latella and third baseman Sam Ellinwood each prevented hits with their gloves.