A season of what ifs?' closed on a positive note Saturday for New Milford's Post 31 American Legion baseball team.

The squad of teens coached by Paul Iverson and Andy Sturm earned a 3-2 victory in the nightcap of a home doubleheader vs. Oxford at Volunteers Field. The W' improved the final ledger to 12-15 in zone competition and 14-16 overall, just shy of qualification for the state tournament.

The Greater New Milford-area diamond contingent opened its campaign with six wins in its first nine games, slumped for several weeks before rebounding to close in style.

Jeff Sturm pitched no-hit ball into the fifth inning Saturday and New Milford pushed across the winning run in the sixth frame on Jeremy Smith's derring do on the bases and Joe Crisalli's perfectly executed suicide squeeze bunt.

Oxford had earned a 6-1 triumph in the day's opener.

Post 31 had outplayed Bethel, 9-1, July 14 in Newtown as Derik Brady and Jeremy Smith slapped three hits apiece.

Some early-season highlights:

Andrew Millard hurled a no-hitter to beat Meriden in his Legion mound debut;

Derik Brady whitewashed perennially strong zone rival Danbury, 5-0;

Post 31 captured a 1-0 win over Bristol courtesy of Jeremy Smith's shutout pitching.

Over the course of the six-week campaign, coaches Iverson and Sturm trotted out a roster featuring Jake Amorando, Derik Brady, Dylan Cochrane, Joe Crisalli, Andrew Derby, Kevin Eherts, Nolan Gallagher, Tom Gambone, Steven Kuss, Gavin Lavallee, Andrew Millard, Jeremy Smith, Jeff Sturm and Justin Voytek.

-- Norm Cummings