Tri-State Champions; Tri-Town Trojans

Tri-State World Series Another Good Show
copyright Rick Wilson Litchfield County Sports 8/25/18
The Tri-State World Series has always been a heck of a way to cap off the summer. This year was no different. With beaches reluctantly waving good-bye to its multitude of worshippers as schools and colleges summon, the Tri-Town Trojans and Terryville Black sox gave us a final memorable highlight to digest and ease the transition into colored leaves and cooler temperatures.

Tri-Town earned the right to call itself champion with a hard-fought 4-2 win in the deciding third game of a best-of-three final held Thursday night at Torrington’s Fuessenich Park. For the Trojans who have made the championship round more of an expectation instead of a hope with seven appearances in nine years, it was a well-deserved second title. But it was a series of shared highlights as the highly competitive ones often are and there wasn’t much that separated the two teams. Tri-Town lefty Charlie Benson kept home plate a mystery with a five-hitter in a 3-0 opening game win, outdueling another high-powered lefty in Ken Kerski.

However regular season champion Terryville was not about to go away easily. Despite going 14 innings without scoring a run and trailing, 6-1, in the seventh inning of Game 2, the Black Sox finally came out of their coma and it wasn’t exactly a groggy wakeup. A five-hit explosion in the seventh inning highlighted by RBI hits from Chris Callahan, Kody Kerski and Kyle Skidmore, tied the game, 6-6. After the Trojans showed a little of gumption of their own to score and go ahead, 7-6 in the bottom of the seventh, Tri-Town put a four-spot on the board in the eighth for a 10-7 lead. Tony Patane, Callahan and Skidmore again came through with run-scoring hits. That was more than enough for former minor leaguer Kody Kerski who battle throughout, striking out 14 while giving up 11 hits.

The loss of the big lead and the sudden emergence of the Terryville bats seemed to indicate a momentum change for the championship tilt. But, it didn’t happen. Once again the Trojans pitching was dominant, this time Bobby Chatfield teaming up with ironman Miles Scribner to silence the Black Sox bats with a three-hitter. Chatfield had said the night before he was retiring at the end of the series and proceeded take a title with him. He pitched seven strong innings, allowing just two hits no earned runs before giving way to Scribner who used his rubber arm to pitch two scoreless innings one night after going 62/3 innings in Game 2. “I was hoping to go tonight and hoping my arm cooperated,” said Chatfield. “I learned from the best. I did it the right way, Payton Manning and Michael Strahan, they went out on top too.” The Trojans broke a 2-2 tie with two runs in the eighth inning on a sacrifice fly and huge RBI single from Dan McCarty. Like McCarty said, “I’ve still got it.” Who could argue with that?

The game was more than baseball as a lot of the league camaraderie was on display too. In a scary incident, Tri-Town’s Casey McDonald crashed into the left field fence at full speed after nearly tracking down a long shot off the bat of Patane. The ball popped out of McDonald’s glove as he crashed into the fence but that was secondary. Clearly shaken and injured, McDonald somehow had the presence of mind to pick up the ball and throw it back in, but then needed help off the field. Over on the sidelines surrounded by teammates and family and a concerned Terryville squad and woozy McDonald sat on a chair as teammate Landon massaged his back. McDonald’s elbow was clearly victimized and the ambulance eventually took him for tests. These are guys that come from work and get up and go to work the next day. They play the game for the love of the game not for the love of money. It was pretty evident the priorities here were spot on. While the mood sombered for a while, there was a positive impact. “It gave us a reason to play,” said McCarty.

Terryville had its own highlights beyond the disappointment with the final result. Billy Armstrong was the hard luck loser in the final game. Here’s the thing about Armstrong though. Just several weeks early he was nearly decapitated when a vicious, bone-crunching line drive off the bat of Bethlehem’s Will Gerski punished his cheek bone nearly knocking him unconscious. After significant time on the ground, Armstrong was helped off the field and went to the hospital. Plastic surgery may be in the future. But he was on the field and ready to go. On the field former Terryville star and Endicott College player Ian Schmidt had four hits in his last six trips of the series. Patane had four hits in his last seven at-bats.

In the end the two teams took it to the last inning and what more could you ask for. A lot of players were in the Fuessenich Park parking lot late into the crisp evening. They didn’t want it to end either. But again Tri-State sent the summer out in style.

Tuesday August 21
Game 1: Tri-Town Trojans 3 Terryville Black Sox 0
copyright Peter Wallace Register Citizen 8/21/2018
The Tri-Town Trojans took a 3-0 win over the Terryville Black Sox in the first game of the Tri-State Baseball League’s best-of-3 championship series Tuesday night at Fuessenich Park.
In front of a crowd of nearly 300 people in attendance to witness the hall of fame inductions of 5 former players in the Tri-State League: Darren Gould, Marc DiDominzio, Kyle Weaver, Ryan McDonald, and James Mischke; Two left-handed aces — Tri-Town’s Charlie Benson and Terryville’s Kenny Kerski — went at it in a game tailor-made for baseball purists.

“It was fun,” said Benson, whose 10 strikeouts offset five Terryville hits. “I’ve faced (Kerski – nine strikeouts, eight hits allowed) a million times. They have a lot of good hitters.” Some of them, like Benson himself, are part of a redistribution of the Watertown Blaze after that dominant team broke up last year. “It felt like I was facing half my teammates,” Benson said.

“Both pitchers threw well,” Terryville player/coach Dave Alarcon said. “We booted it around a little (one key error), but, at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if you can’t score any runs.” It’s the game purists love: a showdown to see who blinks first.
Terryville’s blink happened in the fourth inning when Tri-Town player/coach Danny McCarthy drew a leadoff walk, coming around to score on hits by Sam Sherberg and Connor Murray.
The 1-0 Tri-Town lead remained for three more innings as both pitchers pounded the strike zone for one futile at-bat after another.

The Trojans’ Matt Troy showed the hitters’ frustration with a leadoff bunt in the top of the eighth. Kerski turned Shane Bierfeldt’s try at a sacrifice bunt into an out at third. McCarty then drew another walk. Then Andrew Prince put the game away with a shot past first base, scoring Bierfeldt and bringing McCarty in on the only error of the game for a bonus. “(Kerski) was throwing a lot of fastballs, so I gambled that I’d get one,” said Prince, who teaches and coaches at the Taft School after playing for Harvard University.
“It’s good to get that first win,” McCarty said. “There was a lot of pressure coming from behind against (defending league champion) Naugatuck in the semifinals.” Play-by-play/game-by-game pressure is the stuff baseball purists love.

The series (and pressure) continues tonight at 7 at Fuessenich Park.

Wednesday August 22
Game 2: Terryville Black Sox 10 Tri-Town Trojans 7
Copyright Peter Wallace Register Citizen 8/22/2018
The Terryville Black Sox came back from a five-run deficit to even the Tri-State Baseball League’s best-of-three championship series with a 10-7 win over the Tri-Town Trojans Wednesday night at Fuessenich Park.

Following a 3-0 Tri-Town win in a pitchers’ gem Tuesday night, Wednesday’s game looked like another duel on the mound on paper, with two of the league’s best pitchers — Terryville’s Kody Kerski and Tri-Town’s Miles Scribner — facing off. Instead, the Trojans jumped on Kerski for three runs in the first inning and another three in the sixth. “I was missing my spots early,” said Kerski, who rarely gave up more than two runs in the regular season. “I didn’t start finding it until around the seventh.”

That’s when Sribner started to fade, after giving up the first Black Sox run in the top of the sixth. Down 6-1, the Black Sox, one of the best hitting teams in the league during the regular season, put together five hits with two outs in the top of the seventh for five runs against Scribner and reliever Dan Livingston, then hammered out another four in the eighth to cement the lead after Kerski, with new life, struck out three of the seven Trojans he faced in the eighth and ninth innings. Black Sox Chris Callahan led the Terryville charge with a 4-for-5 night and two RBI. “I was as cold as I’ve ever been during the (Stan Musial) state tournament,” Callahan said. “In this game, you can warm up as fast as you can go cold. You just have to stick with it.”

That was the Black Sox theme of the night. Now, the teams play one more game, tonight at 7 p.m. at Fuessenich Park, for the championship.

Thursday August 23
Game 3: Tri-Town Trojans 4 Terryville Black Sox 2
Copyright Peter Wallace Register-Citizen 8/23/2018

The Tri-Town Trojans took their third Tri-State Baseball League championship with a 4-2 win over the Terryville Black Sox Thursday evening at Fuessenich Park.

After giving up a 6-1 lead in game two of the best-of-three series Wednesday night to tie up the set, the Trojans found themselves looking at another Black Sox come-from-behind effort when Terryville jumped to a 2-1 lead in the fourth inning after Tri-Town began with a one-run lead. This time, though, Tri-Town pitching held up, with veteran pitcher Bobby Chatfield allowing just two hits through seven innings and Miles Scribner allowing just one more in his two innings. That gave the Trojans time to rally — first with a tying run in the sixth inning on a pair of Terryville errors, then with two more in the eighth when Shane Bierfeldt led off with a walk, followed by two straight hits from Coleby Bunnell and Danny McCarty and a sacrifice fly by Sam Shurberg. The Black Sox tried to rally in the bottom of the ninth but second baseman Matt Troy made the defensive play of the game with a diving catch on a line drive shot by Kody Kerski.
“That changed the game,” Terryville player/coach Dave Alarcon said. So did Tri-Town player/coach McCarty’s decision to go with Scribner to close out the game. “I didn’t want them to see (Chatfield) for the fourth time. Scribby’s my guy,” said McCarty, who batted in the winning run in the eighth. “I just try to get my pitch,” said McCarty. This time, it got another Tri-State cup.

Copyright Rick Wilson Rep-American 8/23/2018
The Tri-Town Trojans came up with two runs in the eighth inning to break a 2-2 tie and held on for a 4-2 victory over regular season champion Terryville Black Sox to win the best-of-three championship series, two games to one, at Fuessenich Park. Tri-Town was making its seventh World Series appearance in the finals in the last nine years and won its first title since 2013.

The Trojans had seemingly lost momentum when Terryville erased a big lead in Game 2 the previous night and went on to victory. Then in the championship game there was a scary incident in the fourth inning when Trojan left fielder Casey McDonald went crashing into the left field fence at full speed after seemingly catching up with Tony Patane’s fly ball. The crash jarred the ball loose from McDonalds glove and he had enough presence of mind to pick it up and make a weak throw to a teammate. But more importantly, he needed to be assisted from the field with a severe elbow injury that silenced the ballpark. An Ambulance was called and the game was delayed for 25 minutes as teammates gathered around McDonald behind the dugout until the ambulance came. Full conscious, he was taken to a nearby hospital.

The Trojans were neither impacted by the previous night or McDonalds injury. In fact it proved to be a rallying point. “Casey gave us reason to play” said Tri-Town coach Dan McCarty.

Stan Musial State Tournament

ANNOUNCEMENT: Terryville and Blasius headed to AABC Northeast World Series

Terryville Black Sox are undefeated winning out ‘winners bracket’ and automatically qualify for the World Series.

Sunday August 5:
Blasius Chevrolet 6 Naugatuck Dogs 4
**Blasius advances to AABC NorthEast World Series

NOTE: Due to Tri-State Baseball League playoffs – the Stan Musial State Championship has been awarded as Co-Champions to the Terryville Black Sox and Blasius Chevrolet.

Thursday August 2
Blasius Chevrolet vs Terryville Black Sox Rained out
Naugatuck Dogs 9 Milford Hunters 5
Milford jumped out to a 2-0 lead at Brinley Field in Orange as Joe Polesky hit a 2 run home run. Trailing 5-2 heading into the bottom of he 7th, Brendan Slattery led off with a solo home run for the Dogs. Naugy tied the game on an RBI single by Ryan Plourde. With bases loaded an no outs Devin Murphy hit a grand slam to win the game. Lance Stevens pitched 6 innings for Naugy and Joe Rivera picked up the win throwing a scoreless 7th. Max Catapano pitches a compete game for Milford.

Tuesday July 31 results
Terryville Black Sox 5 Milford Hunters 4 — (11 innings)
Blasius Chevrolet 6 Danbury Pirates 1
**Dan Hedden got the win throwing 5 1/3 innings only giving up 1 run. Ty Morin finished the 1 2/3 innings of no hit ball. Brian Parzyc started off the game in the top of the first with a 2 run double. Steve Carosella and Brooks Belter both had 2 hits.
Naugatuck Dogs 7 Fedells Mechanics 3

Monday July 30 results:
Terryville Black Sox 4 Fedells Mechanics 1
**Kody Kerski lost a no-hitter in the 7th innings striking out 9. Connor McEvoy had 2 RBI’s while Kyle Tehan and Kyle Skidmore added
hits. Grabowski singled and had an RBI for Fedells.
Milford Hunters 9 Danbury Pirates 0
**Brian Gouin complete game shutout. Joe Poletsky 2-4 with a grand slam 5 RBI. Ryan Nelson 2-3 with 2 run home run.
Naugatuck Dogs 7 All-Star Batting 1
Blasius Chevrolet 5 Diamondzone 0
**Dave Sacco threw 6 shutout innings with 12 strikeouts. Connor Goggins led off game with home run.
Dan Hedden closed out game in 7th with 2 strikeouts.

Sunday July 29 results:
Fedell’s Mechanics 2 Blasius Chevrolet 0
**Rob Anderson threw 6.1 innings of shutout ball allowing 5 singles. Ryan Testani closed out the game – caught by Mike Delellis. Daren Grabowski had 2 hits. Joey Drpich had an RBI single. Gary Novakowski allowed 5 hits for Blasius, 2 runs (1 earned).
Terryville Black Sox 13 Diamondzone 2
**Kenny Kerski 3 shutout innings and struck out 5. Tony Patane 3-4 with 2 doubles and home run to left centerfield.
Conor McEvoy two hits, Kyle Skidmore, Kody Kerski, and Chris Ayer all with RBI hits. Christian Callahan 2 doubles.
Milford Hunters 8 All-Star Batting 0
**Max Catapano complete game no-hitter – 5 innings. Ryan Nelson 3-3 2B 5 RBI
Danbury Pirates 5 Naugatuck Dogs 1

The Braintree White Sox defeated the Terryville Black Sox, by a score of 11-3, in the championship game of the 2018 Northeast World Series on Saturday August 11 to win their third title since 2014 (and 2017). Terryville handed Braintree their only loss of the tournament in Round 2 of the series, but the defending champs’ Braintree swept the rest of their games to take home the championship.

Terryville won their first 3 games (Blasius, Braintree, Bourne) but then lost to 2016 champion Albany Athletics yet still earned a bye into the championship game. Braintree eliminated Albany in the semi-final game setting up the championship game showdown with Terryville. The other CT representative Blasius Chevrolet went 1-2 in the AABC World Series.

Thursday August 9
The Terryville Black Sox and Blasius Chevrolet, both teams from the Tri-State Baseball League and the final two teams standing in last weeks Stan Musial State Tournament, began play in the 8-team double-elimination AABC Northeast World Series on Thursday August 9th in Braintree Massachusetts. Ironically,
Terryville and Blasius drew each other in the opening round of play and Terryville jumping out quickly and walked away with a 15-2 victory. Kyle Skidmore 4-4 3RBI and Connor MacEvoy 2-3 4RBI led the Black Sox attack at the plate. Justin McCulloch and Louis Serrano had hits for Blasius.

Terryville then drew the defending World Series champion Braintree White Sox in Round 2 later in the day, Up against the defending champs and down 3-0 early and looking for a spark, Alex Rauso sent a solo shot to CF to light a flame under the Black Sox in the fourth inning. Still trailing 3-1 in the top of the fifth and with the bases loaded with two outs, Black Sox hitter Tony Patane was facing an 0-2 count and delivered a Grand Slam over the left field fence giving Terryville a 5-3 lead. Braintree would rally back to tie the game in the bottom of the fifth inning. After exchanging a scoreless 6th inning, the Black Sox with two outs and runners on first and second base, Alex Rauso (2 doubles and a homer) again delivered with a bases clearing double. Cody Kerski picked up the win in relief including ending a Braintree rally with runners on first and third in the bottom of the last inning – putting them at 2-0 for the day. Final Score Terryville 7 Braintree 5. Terryville plays the Bourne Mariners from the Cranberry League in MA on Friday 12pm at Bentley University in Round 3.

Blasius Chevrolet rebounded in game 2 eliminating Manchester by a final score of 9-4. Blasius advances to Friday play and will take on the 2016 World Series champion Albany Athletics at 12pm at Libby Field.

Soucy brothers say good bye

copyright Kevin Roberts Sports on CT-69 August 12,2018

The name Soucy has been synonymous with the Connecticut Tri-State Baseball League’s Wolcott Scrappers since the team’s inception in 2006.

Wolcott started off as an exhibition team that year, then was voted into the league as a new member in 2007. Player/coach Ryan Soucy has seen everything in his time with the Scrappers, from the first steps all the way up to the end of the 2018 season. Wolcott was eliminated by the Naugatuck Dogs in a second round playoff series.

The 2018 season was Ryan Soucy’s last with the Wolcott Scrappers. The same goes for his older brother Eric, who is also stepping away.

“I have no regrets and I’m thankful for everyone and everything along the way,” Ryan Soucy wrote in an email. “My daughter is almost turning two and I’m at a different phase in my life that’s more important than a game that I’ve loved for over 20 years. I never thought I would say that but when it’s time, you just know it.” One obviously fun aspect of Ryan’s time with the Scrappers was playing with Eric. Eric was a talented ballplayer who wound up being chosen for the Connecticut-Massachusetts high school senior all-star game in 2001. That game was played at Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox.

“He’s a year and a half older than me and I always looked up to him growing up,” Ryan Soucy wrote. “He played at Fenway his senior year and had some pro tryouts and I always pushed to try to be better than him and that’s what made me succeed. He’s just as dedicated as I was and that’s what I love about him.” That dedication was important, because the Scrappers had very humble beginnings in 2006.

“We started with me driving up Route 69 in Wolcott and asking for donations to be able to start a team,” Ryan Soucy wrote. “To having a full sponsor in Continental Scrap Metal in Wolcott with Rob Silas being a big reason we were as successful as we were.” Rob Silas, the son of Continental Scrap Metal CEO and president Paul Silas, was a player/coach for the team. Wolcott was no pushover in the league, and finally captured its first championship in 2014. “We qualified for the state tournament every one of our first nine seasons,” Ryan Soucy wrote. “That was a big accomplishment and we were able to win a championship back in 2014 as well.”

Wolcott’s 2014 team was loaded and included players like the Soucy brothers, Adam LaCapra, Mike Vaccarelli, Ryan Andrade, Justin Koutros, Zach Sehnal, Kyle Dean, Mike Perugini, Manny Cruz, Mike Meier, Elvis Martinez, Israel Lugo and Matt Finkenzeller (my apologies to anyone who I may have missed). LaCapra, usually the first baseman, pitched the first seven innings of the championship-clinching victory. Meier smacked two home runs in the game. Cruz, a fireballer who is currently playing minor league baseball, closed the game out in the ninth.

The Scrappers have been one of the more veteran-laden teams in Tri-State in recent years, but they kept playing the game and playing it well. For Ryan Soucy, it was a pleasure to keep taking to the diamond with his friends. “It’s not easy to compete in this league when you get in your 30’s but we were dedicated and passionate and loved the competition,” Ryan Soucy wrote. “I made a lot of new friends and built stronger friendships with my guys and I’ll never forget it.”

It’s time for Ryan Soucy and his brother Eric to move on, but they had a great run with the Wolcott Scrappers.