Watertown Blaze Tri-State League Champions

Game 3:
Watertown Blaze 3 Naugatuck Dogs 1
Copyright Tim Gaffney 8/17/16

It was just fitting that the two best teams in the Tri-State Baseball League, the Watertown Blaze and the Naugatuck Dogs would battle through a three game series before deciding a champion. Heck, the two teams combined to post a 33-3 record during the regular season with the Dogs handing the Blaze their only loss during the long summer of 2016. The season capped a marvelous year for the Blaze who had the top regular season record, won the state tourney, finished second in the AABC Northeast World Series, and advanced to the Tri-State World Series. Naugy also had one of the greatest seasons ever, fnished 16-2 on the regular season, finished as the runner-up in the state tourney, advanced to the AABC World Series, and earned a trip to the Tri-State World Series showdown against Watertown.

On Wednesday night, the Blaze got some stellar pitching from starter Charlie Benson and Matt Quintano and just enough timely hitting to be the last team standing in a 3-1 win at Fuessenich Park. “We have played an awful lot of baseball over the last month,” Blaze manager Jay Spear said. “Our guys kept battling. They beat a really good team over there.” After splitting the first two games with Watertown taking the first game by a 4-2 score and the Dogs coming away with a 5-2 win in game two, it came down to what is usually does in this terrific league, one chocked full of tremendous players, a one game take all contest.

The Dogs would strike first when catcher Jeff Rustico lined a home run to left leading off the second inning against Benson who went six innings, allowing just that one run on two hits. Watertown would get that run back quickly in their half of the same frame thanks to a lined RBI double down the right field line by Garrett DeLotto that plated Chris Comeau who led off the inning with the team’s first hit. Naugatuck kept pressure on Benson but paid for leaving the bases loaded twice, once in the third inning, the next in the fifth. Benson would maneuver his way out of trouble in those innings and in the sixth, he got a stellar defensive play from left fielder Chris Ayer who dove for a foul ball that he ran a country mile to get to. The Blaze would take the lead in the bottom of the fourth off Naugy starter Adam Neveski who went the distance for the Dogs, when the number nine hitter, Matt Paola lined a two-out single into no-man’s land between short and left field that scored Nick DeLotto who had single with one out. Watertown got a terrific sacrifice bunt from catcher Matt Calzone that set up the run scoring opportunity that Paola delivered on.

Neither team seemed like this was going to be the night that they came up with a clutch hit when it counted.

Naugy left those two bases loaded shots go by the wayside, as did the Blaze in their half of the seventh when they failed to score with the sacs full and just one out. Champions keep on fighting and in the bottom of the eighth, the Blaze got that all important insurance run. Nick DeLotto singled to left to start the frame and moved to second on a walk to Paola. With two outs, leadoff hitter Ayer came through with a single to left that plated DeLotto and handed reliever Matt Quintano a two run. Kyle Murphy led off the eighth inning for the Dogs with a shot off the left field wall for a double but was left stranded on third. Quintana, a Sienna University graduate who touched 93 on the gun in college, played for the Torrington Titans in 2013 and was the Futures Collegiate Baseball League Pitcher of the Year in 2014 as a member of the Martha’s Vineyard Sharks, lit up the ninth inning by striking out the side. “I was so pumped in that ninth inning,” Quintano said. “I really wanted that last strike out.”

It was another tremendous job by Ed Gadomski and the Tri-State Baseball League once again this year. The league, the best organized league we have here in Torrington, put on another great show in 2016 that ends with the World Series trophy belonging to the Watertown Blaze.

Naugatuck Dogs 5 Watertown Blaze 2

A complete game 144 pitch effort by Lance Stevens and the bat of Ryan Plourde sparked the Naugatuck Dogs to a game 2 victory over the Watertown Blaze 5-2 and forces a deciding game 3 in the Tri-State Baseball League World Series on Wednesday night 7pm at Fuessenich Park. Plourde’s RBI single in the first inning plated Sean Miller Jones and his laser-beam line drive Home Run into the Naugatuck River capped the scoring for Naugy who stay alive in the series. Three runs sandwiched in between, in the third inning, with the help of three Watertown errors provided all the scoring Naugy needed with Stevens on the mound in his 9 inning performance who finished with five strikeouts, five walks and one hit batsman and battled out of jam after jam. Matt Paolo scored a run, and had an RBI single (following a double by Chris Comeau) for the Blaze. Kyle Kennedy was the hard luck loser pitching extremely well and finishing with ten strikeouts.

The Torrington Board of Umpires handed out its annual scholarship and sportsmanship awards before the game started.

Watertown Blaze 4 Naugatuck Dogs 2
Copyright Peter Wallace Register-Citizen 8/15/16

The Watertown Blaze came from behind for a 4-2 win over the Naugatuck Dogs Monday night in the Tri-State Baseball League’s first game in a best-of-three Championship series filled with heroics, talent and a little bit of luck. Heroics began with Naugatuck complete-game pitcher Jeff Sturm, starting on two days’ rest after nine innings against semi-final opponent Tri-Town Friday night while Watertown starter Dom Severino struggled early, with the assurance that he’s part of a wealth of pitching talent leading the Blaze all season (just one regular season loss, to Naugatuck).

Naugatuck, one of the league’s best hitting teams, struck first while Severino was finding his zone. Ryan Plourde led off the top of the second with a walk. Jeff Rustico doubled to the left center field fence for one run. Mack Cianciolo singled in Rustico for a 2-0 lead. Naugatuck had one more hit in the inning, by Ryan Russell, but Severino found his legs, giving up just one more hit in the next three. Charlie Benson (two innings) and Matt Quintana (ninth inning) kept the Dogs’ hit total at four.

The Blaze clawed for a run in the bottom of the second on a one-out walk to Nick Delotto, single by Chris Comeau (2-for-3) and sacrifice bunt by Matt Calzone (RBI). Player/coach Chris Ayer led off with a single in the bottom of the eighth. Conor McEvoy bunted to Sturm on the mound. With a chance to catch Ayer, Sturm threw to second, missing the out by a millisecond. Tony Patane lay down another bunt, sacrificing the runners to second and third. Garrett Delotto dropped an RBI single into no-man’s land behind short for the tie. Brian Fay followed with a solid single for the go-ahead run. Nick Delotto capped it with an RBI sac fly to deep center field. Before that, Sturm had kept the Blaze to four hits.

Watertown’s Quintana came in to close the top of the ninth, with two strikeouts and one more piece of Blaze luck/magic/talent. Naugatuck’s Rustico screamed a one-out liner to the left side of Watertown’s infield. Tony Patane stabbed at it, redirecting it three yards behind to Ayer’s glove in left field while still in the air.
Blaze fans can also hope for a little more luck and more heroics to go with them.

The Tri-State Baseball League inducted six new members — Chris Beach, T.J. Campion, Donny Crossman, Dan Hamel, Jim Isaacson and Tony Santoro — into its Hall of Fame Monday evening just before Game #1 of the World Series. Write-ups and a photo from the induction can be found at:

Albany NY eliminates Watertown to win AABC World Series

I sat in the Press Box at Municipal Stadium like “a proud papa watching his kids play” in the AABC World Series championship and couldn’t be anymore grateful for what Watertown has done for the Tri-State Baseball League and the Stan Musial level, making an amazing run in their first ever appearance in a showcase tournament against the best teams from the Northeast of America. I had so many teams, players, and fans texting me non-stop asking how Watertown and Naugy are doing -during the games!!

Stan Musial was always the forgotten level and Watertown (and Naugatuck) brought publicity and notoriety back to the public with incredible write-ups in the newspapers and truly has given a rebirth to this level of baseball. For those that attended the games; they all left stating this is the best baseball they have ever seen in the area. And every team in the tourney thanked us tremendously, loved the fields they played at, and have already committed to returning next year – if its held in Waterbury, CT again. As for Watertown, an amazing run in the tournament against teams that are built “tournament” teams from the states across the Northeast. To Watertown and Naugatuck – thank you both for such an exciting weekend of play and representing the Tri-State League with class, sportsmanship, and talent.

Results of all games and updated bracket can be found at:

Sunday August 7
Albany Athletics NY 6 Watertown Blaze 2
Garrett DeLotto had an RBI double scoring Tony Patane and Brian Faye’s sac fly scored DeLotto for the only two runs Watertown was able to push across the plate.

Albany Athletics NY 6 Watertown Blaze 5
Brian had a two-run double in the first inning and doubled again and scored in the sixth inning on a Chris Callahan single. Conor McEvoy tripled and scored on a Tony Patane sac fly in the third inning. Matt Calzone doubled and scored on a sac bunt by Chris Ayer in the fifth inning. A four run sixth inning for Albany put them ahead 6-4 and they held on for the 6-5 final.

Saturday August 6
Watertown Blaze 1 vs Bourne Mariners MA 0
Chris Ayer single drove in Chris Callahan in the 13 inning for the only run of the game. Draft pick (Fedells) Mike DeLellis gave an iron man performance on the mound for Watertown going all 13 innings (he had a perfect game through 7 innings) and settled for a three-hitter with 16 strikeouts and only one walk, an intentional walk, in the 1-0 win over Bourne MA. After a lead off single by Bourne in the 8th inning and sacrifice to second base, Watertown catcher Matt Calzone promptly picked off the runner at second base to end the threat. Watertown remains as the lone undefeated in the tournament.

Friday August 5
North Haladon NJ 7 Naugatuck Dogs 0

Watertown Blaze 2 Nassau Yankees LI 0
Draft pick and Derby native Ray Krieger worked out of a 1st inning bases loaded jam and finished with five strikeouts allowing just three hits over six innings to pick up the victory over Long Island Nassau Yankees 2-0.
Krieger at one point retired 13 batters in a row until a Nassau player reached on an error in the sixth inning.
Brian Faye’s two-run inside the park home run at Deland Field in Watertown was all the scoring on the board as the Blaze remained undefeated in World Series play. Defensively Conor McEvoy took away and extra base hit in center field and first baseman Garrett DeLotto made a backhanded scoop of Tony Patane’s throw from the hole at shortstop.
Closer Matt Quintana arrived from work in the sixth inning, stretched out with a resistance band attached to the parking lot fence and threw five warm-up pitches and headed to the mound. The flame throwing closer struck out the side to seal the victory.

Watertown Blaze 1 Albany Athletics NY 0
Conor McEvoy belted a first inning double scoring lead off batter Chris Ayer from first base for the only run of the game as Watertown knocked off Albany NY 1-0 to remain undefeated in the tournament. McEvoy also made a diving catch in center field for the first out of the game. Dom Severino tossed the first 4 innings of the game giving way to Rob Anderson in the fifth inning, who after allowing two walks got out of the jam when shortstop Tony Patene grabbed a hard smash up the middle and stepped on second base for the force out. Third baseman Brian Faye tagged out a runner between third base and home plate in the fourth inning to end an Albany threat (following a double steal attempt).
Closer Matt Quintana pitched the final two innings striking out 4 of the 6 batters he faced. It was Quintana’s third straight relief appearance. He has recorded eight strikeouts in three inning of work and has not allowed a run in 28 innings of relief on the season. Albany’s Greg Musk allowed only two hits: the first inning double by McEvoy and a double by Tony Patene on the sixth inning.

Thursday August 4
Albany Athletics NY 2 Naugatuck Dogs 0
Chris Salamida tossed a three-hitter, Lance Stevens threw a six-hitter for Naugatuck.

Watertown Blaze 5 Bourne Mariners MA 1
Maxx Catipino allowed four hits and struck out seven in six innings for Watertown. Matt Quintana fanned the side in the seventh. Garrett DeLotto doubled, tripled and drove in a run. Mike Fabiaschi doubled and scored, Tony Patene doubled and scored and Chris Ayer added a sacrifice fly.

Watertown Blaze win Stan Musial State Championship; Naugatuck Dogs also qualify for AABC World Series

The Watertown Blaze defeated the Naugatuck Dogs on Saturday July 30 to become the 2016 Stan Musial State Champions – Congratulations!!
Recap: The Watertown Blaze won the Stan Musial State Championship game with an 8-0 victory over the Naugatuck Dogs in 6 innings at Pat Wall Field in Wallingford. The Blaze pitching staff remained on fire as Kyle Kennedy and Matt Quintana combined to allow 2 hits while striking out 8. The Blaze, who went undefeated through the tourney, staff allowed only 4 runs over the 5 game state tournament. Chris Comeau led the offense with 3 hits including a 2 run home run while Conor McEvoy added 3 hits including an RBI double.

On Friday July 29: The two teams from the Tri-State Baseball League secured their entry into the AABC World Series that begins Thursday August 4th. The Watertown Blaze eliminated the Stradford Storm 2-0 and the Naugy Dogs exploded against the Downtown Merchants 16-2 to remain as the only 2 teams standing in the Stan Musial State Tournament.

Recap: Jake Kawiecki, Charlie Benson and Kyle Kennedy allowed only one hit while striking out 6 to lead the Blaze to a 2-0 victory over the Stratford Storm. Garrett De Lotto had 2 hits while Conor McEvoy added an RBI triple. Lance Stevens picked up the win allowing four hits and one walk while striking out 5 to lead Naugy to a 16-2 victory over the Downtown Merchants at Naugatuck High School. The Dogs offense was led by Ryan Plourde who hit two home runs. Kyle Murphy and Devin Murphy each homered for Naugy.

The Tri-State Baseball League has now had the Stan Musial State Tournament winner for each of the last 6 seasons with the Naugatuck Dogs winning in 2011, 2012, 2015, Tri-Town Trojans 2013, 2014, and Watertown Blaze in 2016

Tri-State Prevails; Ryan Plourde wins HR Derby

Ryan Plourde (Naugy) and Jon Conlan (Bethlehem) put on a show during the final round of the Home Run Derby at Fuessenich Park on Monday July 4th. Plourde took the trophy on his final swing of the Championship round edging Jon Conlan, 7 home runs to 6 home runs, with the vast majority of the bombs between the two hitters reaching the Naugatuck River. Izzy Lugo (Wolcott), Mike Fabiaschi (Tri-Town), Paul Novakowski (Brass City), and Mike DeMartino (Titans) were the other players who qualified for the championship round as well.

The Tri-State Baseball League All-Stars defeated the Torrington Titans 14-1. Mike Fabiaschi doubled and hit a 3-run home-run, Izzy Lugo doubled and homered, Chet Warner (Winsted) had a bases loaded clearing double, Paul Novakowski an RBI double and Chris Callahan (Bethlehem) doubled in the Tri-State offensive explosion. Charlie Benson (Watertown), Pat O’Niell (Bethlehem), Cody Lemieux (Torrington), Jimmy Spirito (Canton), and Kevin Murray (Litchfield) combined to allow 1 run to the Titans. Tri-State also had several web gems in the field as Chris Callahan and Jake Martel (Bristol) made several eye popping catches in the outfield while Mike Fabiaschi and Johnny Lippincott (Winsted) took away hits in the infield.