2021 Tri-State Playoffs Round 2

2021 Post Season

  • All 13 teams make the playoffs
  • Top 3 teams get bye in Round 1  (#4/#13, #5/#12, #6/#11, #7/#10, #8/#9)
  • Each round in Tri-State Playoffs will be a “Best-of-Three” Series
  • Saturday playoff games to start between (10am – 3pm).
  • Sunday playoff games any time after 10am
  • NOTE: 15 minute grace period allowed only if team is short of 9 players available
  • NOTE: Rainout dates are to be expected to be the very next day for entire playoffs
  • NOTE: All games must complete 9 innings of play. Friday games finished Sat if needed
  • NOTE: Players must have played in 5 regular season games to be eligible for league playoffs
  • NOTE: Any game that does not complete 9 innings of play as scheduled will be a suspended game regardless of how many innings are played.
  • NOTE: No starting on second base for extra innings in playoffs.
  • NOTE: No 10 run mercy rule in playoffs

Friday July 23 – Sunday July 25: 1st Round Tri-State Playoffs

Friday July 30 – Sunday August 1: 2nd Round Tri-State Playoffs

Friday August 6 – Sunday August 8: Semi-Finals Tri-State Playoffs

Wednesday August 18 – Friday August 20: Tri-State World Series

NOTE: All games 9 innings

#1 Terryville Black Sox vs #8 Southington 66ers

Friday July 30: Terryville Black Sox 14 Southington 66ers 1

Saturday July 31: Terryville Black Sox 4 Southington 66ers 3

#2 Tri-Town Trojans vs #10 Twisters

Friday July 30: Tri-Town Trojans 12 Twisters 3

Saturday July 31: Tri-Town Trojans 7 Twisters 1

#3 Amenia Monarchs vs #6 Wolcott Scrappers

Friday July 30: Wolcott Scrappers 5 Amenia Monarchs 1

Saturday July 31: Amenia Monarchs 13 Wolcott Scrappers 9

Sunday August 1: 1pm Doc Bartlett Field

#4 Bethlehem Plowboys vs #5 Winsted Whalers

Friday July 30: Bethlehem Plowboys 6 Winsted Whalers 5

copyright Peter Wallace Register Citizen 7/30/21

In a game with lots of chances and even bigger misses, the No. 4 seeded Bethlehem Plowboys came from behind in the bottom of the ninth inning for a 6-5 win over the No. 5 Winsted Whalers in the first game of a best-of-three series in the Tri-State Baseball League’s second round.

Winsted starter Austin Brochu (8 innings, 7 hits, 4 runs, 7 strikeouts, 2 walks, 3 hit batters) seemed to have things under control when the Whalers went up 4-0 over the first five-and-a-half innings. Bethlehem’s Keegan Daigle (3 innings, 1 run, 2 hits, 3 strikeouts, 0 walks) relieved starter Ty Erikson to keep the tie. But Winsted found a way to take another lead in the top of the ninth on a hit batter, hit by Jay Torres and a throwing error.

Torres came on to try to close out the win, but couldn’t find his mark. Four walks and a throwing error had the Plowboys dancing with their 13th win in their last 14 games.
Then the Plowboys found their stride with four runs in the bottom of the sixth on two hits, a walk, hit batter and an error. “It was fun going in with a 4-4 tie because you have to perform,” said Daigle. “I never had a doubt about Keegan,” said Plowboy coach Rich Revere.

Ian Schmidth and Matt D’Amato were Bethlehem’s only multiple hitters with two apiece. Torres and Brochu had two each for Winsted, with another chance this morning at Walker Field.

Saturday July 31: Bethlehem Plowboys 10 Winsted Whalers 6

copyright Peter Wallace Register Citizen 7/31/21

A scratch-it-out come-from-behind win by the No. 4 seed Bethlehem Plowboys over the No. 5 Winsted Whalers Friday night in Bethlehem brought out the sluggers from both teams Saturday morning in the Tri-State Baseball League championship playoffs’ best-of-three Round 2 at Walker Field. The Plowboys sealed the series with a 10-7 win, but scoring on both sides came in bunches Saturday, leaving a trail of pitchers and scorekeepers miserable in their wake on a bright sunny day in Winsted. Each side had its own veritable parade marshal.

Winsted’s John Lippincott matched Campbell’s RBI total with a three-run double and a sacrifice fly while Lukas Gryniak went 4-for-5 with an RBI and run scored as the bandmaster. “A three-game, nine-inning series is really hard on pitching staffs,” said Winsted player/coach Chester Warner while Plowboy coach Rich Revere praised his relievers, Isaiah Johnson and Sam Williams, for keeping the Whalers’ bombers at bay after a six-run Winsted fifth inning.

“It’s all about depth,” said Campbell, who’s used to seeing well-rested aces on weekends for nine-inning league games while regular-season games during the week are limited to seven. In fact, the slugger was held to one hit (along with two walks) Friday night after earning enough hitting respect to lead the league in walks this season. Saturday, the pattern held true as both starters — Winsted’s Mitch Gryniuk and Bethlehem’s Justin Koutros — breezed through the first three innings unscathed before wearing down. Campbell blew open Gryniuk’s door in the top of the fourth.

Rick Descoteaux led off with just the second hit of the game for Bethlehem. With one out, Campbell’s two-run bomb soared to left center field like a missile, followed by a Matt D’Amatp single and three walks for a 3-0 total. Faced with the prospect of another nine-inning game on Sunday with a relatively thin staff, Coach Warner kept his cards on Gryniuk’s table, coming away a winner for the next two innings. Winsted batters cracked open Koutros’ door in the bottom of the fourth as leadoff batter Rick Langer reached first on a Plowboy error, third on a double by Austin Brochu and home on Lippinchott’s long sacrifice fly.

Gryniuk returned to form over the next two innings, with the help of a double play in the top of the sixth, but Whaler bats whaled in the bottom of the fifth. Koutros hit trouble with two hits, two walks and an error for three runs and a 4-3 Winsted lead. The difference was Revere had more arms in the bullpen. Isaiah Johnson came in for a walk, a hit by Lukas Gryniak and Lippincott’s three-run double, upping the ante to 7-3 Whalers. But Johnson’s offense rewarded him with another salvo and a final lead — five runs this time — in the top of the seventh. A Jon Wilson hit and three walks ended Gryniuk’s long day while the Plowboys took the lead on Campbell’s two-run double, two wild pitches and a hit batter.Sam Williams, another strong Bethlehem arm, came on to lock up the Whalers for the next three innings while Mark Cunningham pressed on for the Whalers.

The Plowboys racked up the final score in the top of the eighth on a single to Mike Mancini, a walk to Campbell and a two-run double by Mike Milius.“Our offense is on par with anyone’s in the league,” said Winsted’s Warner. “If we can get a few more pitchers next year, I think we’ll be near the top of the league.” Meanwhile, with their 14th win in their last 15 games, the Plowboys consider themselves the hottest team in the league, looking forward to a semifinal series next weekend against the No. 1 Terryville Black Sox or No. 2 Tri-Town Trojans. “We’re the last team in the league they want to face,” said Campbell. If only the arms hold out.

Good Ole Country Baseball – Amenia

Copyright Steve Barlow Republican-American 7/27/21

Baseball has been there since 1880s; it’s Tri-State League’s farthest outpost

Boasting a strong right arm on the mound and a sure glove in the infield, Watertown’s Mike Cipriano could have played almost anywhere in the Tri-State Baseball League this summer. But when his former prep school teammate, Nathan LaChaine of Salisbury, invited him to join the Amenia Monarchs’ roster, Cipriano jumped in his car for the hour’s drive north to the Tri-State’s farthest outpost. When the 20-year-old arrived in this hamlet due west of Sharon, Cipriano, who pitches collegiately for Bryant, found a young, talented ballclub, perhaps the best baseball setting in the league, undoubtedly the best fan support and a rich tradition unequaled on the other side of the state line. “Up here, you’re in the middle of nowhere playing ball,” Cipriano said. “It’s the best feeling in the world.”

According to lore, Abner Doubleday laid out the first baseball diamond in Cooperstown, N.Y., in 1839. Not long after, they started playing in Amenia. The game’s roots here go back at least to the 1880s, when a town team competed in the old Hudson Valley League. In 1934, the Monarchs (no one knows the origin of the nickname) were a charter member of the Interstate League.

First settled in 1704, Amenia, N.Y., is the first town over the border from Sharon, Conn. (Steve Barlow RA)

When the Interstate League crumbled in 1968 over the excessive use of ringers, out of the ashes arose the Tri-State League, which then included towns like Dover, Pine Plains and Millerton in New York; Lakeville, Sharon and Winsted in Connecticut, and Sheffield in Massachusetts. For more than 20 years, the Monarchs dominated, winning 10 Tri-State pennants. Hundreds of spectators ringed the local field at the Sunday games, which had to finish in time for the farm boys on the team to hustle home and milk their cows.

The Monarchs’ left field fan club, from left, Walt and Laurie Bates, Warren, Derek and Jackie Gordon, treats both teams to a meal after every game. (Steve Barlow RA)

In 1992, the Monarchs’ then manager, Tom Downey III, got a call from a realtor friend, who had a client interested in pitching for Amenia. It was former Yankees hurler Jim Bouton, the baseball iconoclast who authored “Ball Four.” Bouton showed up in a straw hat and cutoffs, Downey recalled, and threw batting practice. He liked it so much that he asked if he could pitch in a game. Downey, a devout Yankees fan, quickly consented. “He’d let me know which weekend he’d be up and then he’d pitch a few innings,” Downey said. Bouton was 52 at the time and throwing to a local legend, catcher Mike Kohut, who played until he was 57. “Bouton said they were the only battery in the country over 100 years old,” Downey noted.

Amenia manager Tom “Scooter” Downey IV, right, stands with player Russell Boyles in the dugout at Doc Bartlett Field. (Steve Barlow RA)

As the 1990s marched on, the core of the Amenia dynasty aged and retired. In 1995, the team was disbanded. In 2005, though, it was reborn with Downey again at the helm.

Five years ago, he turned over the reins to his son, Tom “Scooter” Downey IV, a former Monarchs bat boy, who this season managed the young club to a third-place finish. Several things have changed over the years. Amenia is the only New York state team left in the Tri-State League, whose center has shifted to the Naugatuck Valley. Games now include long rides to Wolcott, Waterbury and Southington. “We’re kind of in no-man’s land. We can drive into Connecticut or we could drive farther into New York state,” said Scooter Downey. “I think the caliber of baseball in this league is the best.”

The town has lost many, but not all, of its dairy farms. The growth industry is rich New Yorkers and celebrities buying weekend homes. NFL quarterback Tom Brady and former Yankee Mark Teixeira both reportedly own multimillion-dollar homes at the Silo Ridge Golf Club development south of the village.

“There’s a rumor Derek Jeter has one, too,” Downey said. “We don’t know that for sure, but the other guys have been seen in town.” The fans, though not as numerous as a century ago, are still as loyal. At a recent week night game, more than 60 people watched. On weekends, the number swells closer to a hundred – easily the best attendance in the league. The Monarchs play at Doc Bartlett Field, which was built with volunteer labor in 1984. Opponents swear the meticulously groomed infield gives the truest hops in the league.

Even though Amenia is the Tri-State’s second-smallest town, Bartlett is one of only three league diamonds with an electronic scoreboard. The others are Fuessenich Park and Municipal Stadium. Out behind the left-field fence at every game sits the Farkas-Boyles Fan Club, named for two deceased diehards, Gabby Farkas and Big Bob Boyles. The membership now consists of Walt and Laurie Bates and Warren and Jackie Gordon, four middle-aged fans who treat both teams to a yummy meal after every game. The most recent spreads featured steak sandwiches and tacos.

Four years ago, Jackie Gordon asked Downey if her son, Russell Boyles, who has cerebral palsy, could join the Monarchs. His gift that Christmas was an Amenia uniform, and the grandson of Big Bob has been on the roster ever since. This year, Boyles, 23, went to the plate three times, walked once, was hit by two pitches and drove in a run. The fan club stages a golf tournament each year to raise money for team expenses, and the town folk, unbidden, pitch in, too. “Come March, $50 checks start arriving in my mailbox,” said Downey.

At last week’s game against the Terryville Black Sox, a pair of octogenarians, Katharine Dunlop and Dan Brown, were perched behind the backstop. Dunlop’s grandsons, Colby and Mackenzie, anchor the Monarchs’ pitching staff. Brown, a retired municipal architect in New York City, has no kin on the team, but has been attending faithfully since he moved to Amenia in 1979. “These are my kids. I live vicariously through them,” he explained. Years ago, he used to sit and trade stories at games with the field’s namesake, William “Doc” Bartlett. Contrary to his nickname, Bartlett owned a hardware store. His true love was baseball.

The uncle of former major league pitcher John Lamb (and, by marriage, of Steve Blass), Bartlett was involved in baseball in Amenia for more than 60 years as a player, coach, manager, scorekeeper, groundskeeper and announcer. He even wrote the game stories for the local press. Thanks to their best record (14-3) since their rebirth, the Monarchs received a first-round bye in the Tri-State playoffs. They’ll be hosting when the second round begins Friday. Expect the house that Doc built to be full. “When we played here in the playoffs two years ago, it was packed,” said Terryville’s Tony Patane.

Up here, in the middle of nowhere, there’s no better place to be and no better feeling in the world.

Historic Tri-State league getting back to business

Copyright Peter Wallace Register Citizen July 3, 2021

 In a world still rumbling from the COVID-19 pandemic, a baseball game last Thursday evening at Litchfield’s Community Field between two teams at and near the top of the CT Tri-State Baseball League left the reassuring impression that all was back to normal.

But like the scene up the street of patrons back in Litchfield’s restaurants, normalcy in this age of COVID vaccination is relative for both a sports league billing itself as Northwest Connecticut’s Premier Amateur Wooden Bat League and the prize-winning restaurants and their surrounding businesses. Summer sports, it seems, have the same kind of lingering problems and new opportunities as businesses across town, across the state and across the nation. “COVID-19 took the entire 2020 season from the Tri-State Baseball League and has wreaked havoc on membership for the 2021 season,” says league commissioner Ed Gadomski.

We’re seated in the shelter of a nearby pavilion while the Amenia (N.Y.) Monarchs and Tri-Town Trojans battle it out in a drizzling rain with the same enthusiasm fans have come to expect from a league harboring outstanding players from high school through current and former college players and even a smattering of former pros. Amenia, 8-1 before Thursday’s game, is one of the original teams in the league, tracing its roots, along with the league, to 1934. Tri-Town, 11-0, is one of the newer teams, starting in 2005. That’s the normal part.

“Tri-State had 18 teams in the 2019 season. Only 13 teams returned for the 2021 season,” Gadomski says, as part of the lasting effects of a devastation that hit everyone last year. Tri-Town is back from a league championship as recently as 2018, but, among the missing are such other league stalwarts as the 2017 champion Naugatuck Dogs and the 2015 champion Litchfield Cowboys. Gadomski himself is responsible for much of the league’s success before COVID struck.

Elected chairman of the league’s board in 2003, the same year he won its MVP award as a bulldog player for the Thomaston Spoilers, Gadomski has applied the same tenacity to his role as chairman, then commissioner since 2006, hammering through such by-law provisions as team fines for unexcused forfeits and suspension for player misconduct, while earning the league’s full approval. In doing so, he and his board have turned a six-team beer league into a near-professional high of 19 teams in 2013 and the 18 from two years ago. “Everybody likes a big league that’s well organized,” he says, citing the 3-6 applications he still gets for new team membership every year. “If you win the Tri-State League, it means something.”

But now, in the drizzling rain, he mulls COVID’s effects and future possibilities “as we still grapple with a national pandemic.” “We shut down last year for two reasons,” Gadomski explains. “First, it was the right thing to do, in respect for all the hospital workers battling against the virus. Plus, we couldn’t get a solid answer from our insurance carrier about what would happen if we had an outbreak.”

Still, like restaurants innovating new ways to serve customers through takeout service and outdoor distance dining, some Tri-State teams explored new avenues, as Gadomski recites. “The Terryville Black Sox (2019 Tri-State champions) branched out to play in the (Harford based) Connecticut Twilight League. “When MLB canceled the minor leagues, Baltimore Orioles farmhand Willie Yahn formed another team (the Great Falls Gators) in the CTL which included several Tri-Town Trojans. “The Bristol Greeners played in the Nutmeg League.” The contacts led Gadomski to off-season discussions with these leagues as well as the Hartford Twlight League about the possibility of interleague play this year. “Just like playing a new golf course is exciting, we thought playing other leagues would bring the same enthusiasm,” he says. “Guys love facing new pitching and seeing talent the other leagues bring.”

As a result, 16 interleague games are on this summer’s schedule between Tri-State and CTL teams and a mid-August CT All-Star Classic will include the Hartford Twilight League and Nutmeg League as well. The new opportunities compete with COVID’s ravages for Gadomski and his league. Like the rest of the world, a year “off” presented two different directions for Tri-State players. For the veteran players on legacy teams like Naugatuck and Litchfield, Gadomski surmises “the year in between put them in their own paths, with things like jobs and kids.” In the other direction, younger athletes, hungrier than ever for quality summer baseball, have packed the 13 remaining teams with 15-20 players apiece. “How many road (travel team) leagues have started?” Gadomski wonders idly.

Sure, there are many problems left. A few of the interleague games have resulted in forfeits beyond Tri-State’s control. Umpire boards were also hit last year; four games have already been rescheduled this season because there were no umpires available on the original days. And, of course, Gadomski and his board want the league’s team membership to rebound back to where it was. “Several teams have said they’ll be back next year, along with potential new teams,” Gadomski says. “Naugatuck, for instance, is too rich a baseball town to be missing long.”

Even the fledgling interleague trial balloon has the same kind of new wave possibility that’s sprung up for many businesses and schools. “If any good came out of COVID baseball, it’s the fact it has us talking,” says Gadomski. For Tri-State, under Gadomski’s guidance, any such further development has to be made on firm ground. “If we’re going any further with interleague considerations, it has to be with a solid league and firm commitments,” he says. Meanwhile, the Monarchs and Trojans, in full uniforms as specified by Tri-State by-laws, wrap up another quality baseball game in Northwest Connecticut’s Premier Amateur Wooden Bat League.

For optimists at Community Field on both sides, along with a smattering of fans, a new normal, led by Ed Gadomski, might look even better than the old one somewhere down the road.

Remembering Joe Bunnell

Copyright By Rick Wilson

Litchfield County Sports Magazine

The hawk knows.  He was there in early spring, March of 2020. He was there the day tragedy invaded the Bunnell world. He is still there, a soothing balm over a wound that will never fully heal.

“(The hawk) is always there on the telephone wire, in a tree or near the house,” says Helen Bunnell with a teary smile. “He was around the house on the 23rd of this year. He is watching over us, making sure we do it right.” March 23rd. It has an enduring pain to it now for Rick and Helen Bunnell and so many others. The kind of pain that eats away at you and forces you to find a piece of yourself that you never wanted to have to go search for.

Joe Bunnell died that day. A son, brother, partner, friend. Animal lover, farm guy both with the family and with Arethusa, baseball player. At the age of 35. A give you the shirt off his back type of guy with a big smile. The guy who could coax a smile out of Scrooge and make liver and onions feel like a lobster feast.  It was a tragic accident, crushed by a piece of farm equipment called a skid steer.There is no rhyme or reason here, no sense of fairness. No justification. No, “well he had a nice long run.” He didn’t. He was 35 freakin’ years old. Too much of the road to go. More to live and more smiles to give. It takes a toll.

“We were all at the hospital and when he died, I stormed out,” said his brother Coleby. “I didn’t know what to do. My body shut down. It was disbelief.” “I got a call from Coleby and my wife was with me,” remembers teammate Dan McCarty. “I thought it was about baseball. I broke down and cried. I dropped down to the floor in the living room.”

Fifteen months later, time has erased the immediacy of the pain but there is no cure for a love lost.  The absence is always present, a palpable, immense sting. “It’s been hard, work keeps me going,” says Joe’s younger brother Coleby. “Joe was an incredible worker, he worked from 3 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day. The work keeps me with him. We were best friends; he was at all my sporting events, and we hung out together.”

It always weighs heavily on you,” said McCarty. “Opening day (Tri-State baseball season) is just not the same without him. He was always there.” But if reminders bring the inevitable tears, they are also a way to stay close. You can’t hold a memory in your arms, but you can always keep the connections in the head and heart.

Joe and a group of his friends were into archery and every Thursday they would shoot in the Bunnell barn. Helen told the guys to come back after Joe’s death. So, on most Thursday nights, friends like Landon Gardella, Scott Gelormino, McCarty, Robert Lee and Bill Bongolatti keep the tradition going. “I look forward to Thursday nights,” says Helen combining a smile with the mist.

Joe was a mainstay in the Tri-State with the Tri-Town Trojans.  He was original with the team, there at the beginning in 2005. A 2003 graduate of Litchfield High where he was a solid baseball player, the Trojans were a natural next step. A first baseman, Joe could play, but while you remember the baseball, it is the guy that sticks with you.

The guy that was the first to come and the last to leave. The guy who tried to dive through the latter ball and didn’t quite make it.  You could talk about Joe’s first base skills, but even more fun was hoisting a beer with him and just talking about life. Smiles and memories through the baseball life. Coleby will always have this. “In the championship game in 2018, Casey McDonald got hurt and I went out to third base,” he remembered. “The last out was hit to me. I threw to Joe for the last out. The brother-to-brother connection.”

Tri-State is often called affectionally, “Good Old Country Baseball.” But Tri-State and Ed Gadomski are as much about people as they are about baseball. After the game shares equal time with the game.  Gadomski and the league knew what was lost with Joe’s death. More than a good player but a good guy.

Opening day at Community Field in Litchfield on a warm Saturday in May was about Joe. Oh, they played baseball, but it was secondary. The Bunnell family was there with a passel of friends. Joe was inducted into the Tri-State Hall of Fame, 10 balloons (Joe’s number) were released, all the family threw out ceremonial pitches.  In one classy act, opposing team, Blasius Chevrolet all wore jerseys with Bunnell and his No. 10 on the back. When the Trojans ran out to the field, they left first base empty. It was a painfully great day.

“The outpouring of support has been unbelievable,” said mom Helen basking in what has been, struggling with what has transpired. “The continuing support shows how good people are.” “It’s been hard,” said dad Rick his voice breaking. “Friends and family have gotten us through this.” Covid-19 prevented any kind of celebration of Joe’s life last season. Many of the Trojans played in the Connecticut Twilight League instead. The camaraderie was helpful – “It was good to be together, most of our guys had never played without Joe,’ said McCarty.

But there was also the frustration of not being able to do something for Joe right away. The Tri-State ceremony with time having eased some of the right-away pain allowed for equal smiles with the tears. Tears and smiles. Tears for what has been lost and what won’t be. Smiles for what was and an enduring love.  Nobody can tell you that 35 years was a long run. But everybody will tell you this 35 years, Joe Bunnell’s 35 years was a great run. Indisputable.

 Gone but never forgotten. You made your mark Joe.   

2021 Tri-State Playoffs

2021 Post Season

  • All 13 teams make the playoffs
  • Top 3 teams get bye in Round 1  (#4/#13, #5/#12, #6/#11, #7/#10, #8/#9)
  • Each round in Tri-State Playoffs will be a “Best-of-Three” Series
  • Saturday playoff games to start between (10am – 3pm).
  • Sunday playoff games any time after 10am
  • NOTE: 15 minute grace period allowed only if team is short of 9 players available
  • NOTE: Rainout dates are to be expected to be the very next day for entire playoffs
  • NOTE: All games must complete 9 innings of play. Friday games finished Sat if needed
  • NOTE: Players must have played in 5 regular season games to be eligible for league playoffs
  • NOTE: Any game that does not complete 9 innings of play as scheduled will be a suspended game regardless of how many innings are played.
  • NOTE: No starting on second base for extra innings in playoffs.
  • NOTE: No 10 run mercy rule in playoffs

Friday July 23 – Sunday July 25: 1st Round Tri-State Playoffs

Friday July 30 – Sunday August 1: 2nd Round Tri-State Playoffs

Friday August 6 – Sunday August 8: Semi-Finals Tri-State Playoffs

Wednesday August 18 – Friday August 20: Tri-State World Series

Round 1 – Tri-State Playoffs

#4 Seed Bethlehem Plowboys  vs  #13 Seed Torrington Rebels

Game 1: Bethlehem Plowboys 8 Torrington Rebels 0

Plowboys win 8-0, George Bielizna threw 6 no hit innings striking out 8, Isaiah Johnson finished off the final 3 innings allowing 2 hits and striking out 5. Jon Wilson led the plowboy offense going 3-3 with 2 runs scored and 3 stolen bases while Greg Campbell smacked his first home run of the year to keep the plow bats hot. Matt Mancini and Andrew Luis added RBIs as well to aid the plow attack in the middle innings as the Plow stays hot winning its 11th of there last 12 games

Game 2: Bethlehem Plowboys 15 Torrington Rebels 1

***Bethlehem plays Winsted in round 2

#5 Seed Winsted Whalers    vs  #12 Seed  Canton Crushers

Game 1: Winsted Whalers 7 Canton Crushers 2

Game 2: Winsted Whalers 4 Canton Crushers 1

***Winsted plays Bethlehem in round 2

Copyright Gerry DeSimas Collinsville Press 7/25/21

There were new colorful uniforms in the dugout of the Winsted Whalers baseball team this summer and a larger sense of commitment, too.

The Whalers incorporated blue and bright neon yellow into the uniform to pay homage to The Gilbert School and some red to pay homage to Northwestern Regional along with the traditional logo made famous by the National Hockey League’s Hartford Whalers in their 18-year stay in Connecticut that ended in 1997.

There is a renewed sense of commitment on this Winsted squad that won their first Tri-State League playoff game since 2013 with a victory over the Canton Crushers on Friday night.

“Everybody shows up that has been the big thing this year,” Winsted catcher Chester Warner said. “We have 14-to-15 guys every game committed to playing baseball. It’s been fantastic. Guys can play different positions and they can play them well. Everyone hits.”

In previous years, the Whalers weren’t quite sure who would be on the field for the game. “That was our achilles heel in the past. We would have just nine guys show up,” he said. “But this year, everyone is here for every game and we have been able to put a quality team on the field over and over.”

Winsted swept the best-of-3 playoff series from Canton with a pair of victories this weekend. The Whalers beat Canton, 7-2 on Friday night at Walker Field and completed the sweep on Saturday morning with a 4-1 decision at Bowdoin Field.

Winsted, the No. 5 seed, advances to face either Bethlehem or the Torrington Rebels in round two next weekend.

Canton pitcher Taylor Riley went the distance in Saturday’s loss to Winsted, allowing nine hits. At the plate, he had a RBI double for the Crushers. More photos

The Tri-State League began using best-of-three series for each round of the playoffs in 2014. Until this weekend, Winsted had lost in their last four playoff appearances. The most recent appearance was in 2018.

This year, they got solid pitching from Austin Brochu on Friday night and Mitch Gryniuk on Saturday. Brochu allowed just four hits on Friday while Gryniuk allowed just three on Saturday.

“We were able to capitalize on some big hits in the middle of our order,” Warner said. “Our pitchers did a good job of keeping Canton off balance because they have some good hitters, especially among their top six. They did a good job of controlling them.”

Canton (4-15) was making their first-ever playoff appearance.

In game one, the Crushers took a 2-1 lead in the fourth inning. Jim Spirito and Sean Bahre reached base on back-to-back walks. Both scored after a single from Braedon Bean and two Winsted errors in the inning.

Winsted (11-8) tied the game at 2-2 with a run in the fifth inning and broke it open in the sixth inning with five runs thanks to three hits, two walks and two Crusher errors.

Winsted’s Jay Torres had a great opening game by going 3-for-4 with a double while teammate T.J. Kent was 2-for-4 with a double and a single. The Whalers had 10 hits in game one and nine hits in game two.

On Saturday, a pair of home runs in the fourth inning enabled Winsted to take a comfortable 4-0 lead. Brochu led off with a single and scored on John Lippincott’s two-run home run to right field. With one out in the inning, Torres blasted a solo home run to right field for a four-run advantage for the visitors.

Lippincott finished the day by going 3-for-3 at the plate with a single, double, home run and two RBI. Teammate Tim Smith was 2-for-3 with an RBI double in the second inning.

Winsted pitcher Mitch Gryniuk kept Canton’s offense in check. Canton had runners at second and third base in the top of the second inning but Gryniuk got James Michanczyk to ground out to third baseman Lukas Gryniuk, who fired home to throw out Sean Bahre from third base for the second out of the inning.

Canton’s Mike Sullivan beat out an infield single to load the bases but Mitch Gryniuk got Cam Gaudet to ground out to second base to end the threat.

Sullivan walked in the fifth inning and scored on Taylor Riley’s RBI double to cut the lead to 4-1.

Canton’s Mike Sullivan safely gets back to first base as Winsted first baseman Austin Brochu takes a throw from Whaler catcher Chester Warner. Sullivan eventually stole second base. M“We came in as a lower seed we hung with a team that beat us earlier in the year,” Bahre said. “We had our chances to win the (first) game and it came down to the last inning in the first game and we made (some) errors. “

Canton was the No. 12 seed in the 13-team playoff bracket.

“(On Saturday), we hit the ball hard we hung with them the whole time,” Bahre said. “They had an inning (three runs in the fourth). We hit the ball hard but we hit the ball right at people. The team is looking good and we’re recruiting for next year.”

Winsted 7, Canton 2
At Winsted (July 23)
Canton (4-14)                   000  200  0  — 2-4-4
Winsted (10-8)                100  015  x  — 7-10-3
Jim Michanczyk and Jeff Mulhall; Austin Brochu and Chester Warner; WP: Brochu; LP: J. Michancyzk (0-1); 2B: Jay Torres (W), T.J. Kent (W)RELATED TOPICSBASEBALLFEATUREDTRI-STATE BASEBALL

Gerry deSimas, Jr., Collinsville Press

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of The Collinsville Press. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 35 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

#6 Seed Wolcott Scrappers   vs   #11 Seed Burlington Hunters

Game 1: Wolcott Scrappers 2 Burlington Hunters 1

Game 2: Wolcott Scrappers 9 Burlington Hunters 4

***Wolcott plays #3 seed Amenia Monarchs in round 2

#7 Seed Blasius Chevrolet     vs  #10 Seed Twisters

Game 1: Twisters 5 Blasius Chevrolet 4

(5 unread) – [email protected] – AT&T Yahoo Mail – Twisters

The Twisters swept Blasius over the weekend to advance in their initial playoff appearance in the Tri St Baseball League. The Twisters featuring all Torrington residents won a hotly contested 5-4 contest in Prospect Friday night.Twister ace David DeGrom Strager went the distance throwing 110 pitches and striking out 8. The Twister lineup featured lots of contributors.  A three run 4th put the Twisters ahead with Rbis hits  by BCarr n Dj Reynolds giving the Twisters a lead. The Twisters later got big  hits from Kyle Matthews and Jake Reynolds to add to the lead.  Josh Rubino n Jim Lamanna also hit well. The infield defense of Matthews and Dj Reynolds and the speedy Lamanna in centerfield combined with Stragers 90mph fast ball proved  too tough for the veteran Blasius crew to battle back from. The leftfielder for Blasius Ravenik made a great catch and led his team at the plate.
On Saturday at Fuessenich the Twisters trailed early but led by a homerun by Marcus Blooom controlled the middle portion of the game adding to their lead in the 6th and 7th with hits from Matt Sokol .Bloom again and a ringing double from Carr. The pesky Jake Reynolds was in the middle of the rally. Fridays hero Strager added a huge 2 run single to open up the lead to 4 in the 7th. Stosh Rubino took over on the mound in the 5th and finessed his way threw a bases loaded no out jam to keep Blasius  at bay. Blasius was led by Ravenik who had 3 hits over the weekend and made a great catch and and Cogges who also swung a hot bat

Game 2: Twisters 7 Blasius Chevrolet 3

***Twisters play #2 seed Tri-Town Trojans in round 2

copyright Peter Wallace register citizen 7/25/21

Call it a change of the guard or call it the effects of a missing COVID-19 year, but this weekend, call a young Twisters team from Torrington the winners of a Round 1 best-of-three playoff series over veteran-filled Blasius Chevrolet in the 13-team Tri-State Baseball League’s four-week march to a championship.

The 10th-seeded Twisters, last seen as a high school Connie Mack team, beat No. 7 Blasius 5-4 Friday night, then came back for a 7-3 series clincher at Fuessenich Park Saturday afternoon. “We just wanted to find a way to keep playing baseball together,” said Marcus Bloom, explaining his team’s entrance into the league this year, after his solo home run in a 3-for-3 day Saturday. Turns out, two years without baseball can have positive effects along with the obvious negatives when it adds bulk and muscle to a former high school team. “I gained 20 pounds and learned to cook,” laughed Josh Rubino after closing out four strong innings Saturday.

On the other side, two more years may have cost a step or two for some of the veteran players in a league full of high school stars, college and ex-college players and retired pros “We weren’t worried; we’ve got talent,” Rubino says about the Twisters’ entrance into the venerable league this summer. It may be a different story when they face the No. 2 Tri-Town Trojans and 2018 league champions next weekend for Round 2, but this weekend, a youthful learning curve was the Twisters’ ace in the hole. “We learned how to have fun in the last couple of games,” said Brian Carr, a rising sophomore at Post University who went 3-for-4 with two doubles Saturday. “Now we just step up to the plate and try to hit the ball hard.” “We stopped being tense. We brought the energy today,” said Bloom.

“They want to be good,” said Coach John Reynolds. “We had 28 practices this summer. I doubt if most of the other Tri-State teams had more than five.” Nevertheless, it was far from a sure thing on Saturday. “We’re just happy to be playing baseball again,” said Blasius coach Dave Vardnais after his team took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning on a walk to Eric Rovinetti (2-for-3, 2 runs scored), a hit by Jon Conlon (2-for-5, RBI) and a Twister error.

Twister Kyle Mathews raced for two bases on a Blasius error in the bottom of the inning, moved to third on a sacrifice by starting pitcher Jake Reynolds (2-for-3, run scored) and an RBI single from David Strager (2-for-4, 3 RBI) for a 1-1 early tie.

Four innings later, Blasius starting pitcher Will Aldem seemed to be winning the duel with Reynolds. In the top of the fifth, veterans Paul Novakowski and Rovinetti scored on three hits, a walk and a hit batter for a 3-1 lead. But, in this game at least, youthful exuberance was a huge weapon. Bloom’s home run narrowed the lead to 3-2 in the bottom of the fifth. Relieer Rubino came on with a one-two-three debut in the top of the sixth. Reynolds, Jimmy Lamanna and Carr took over the lead, 4-3, with two hits and a double in the bottom of the inning. Rubino mastered the top of the Brosius lineup in the seventh.

Then Twister batters strutted their new selves. With one out, Bloom sent his third hit through the left side; Matt Sokol walked; Mathews batted Bloom home; Strager greeted reliever Fran Phalen with a two-run single, 7-3. Still, In the top of the eighth inning, nobody — maybe not even the Twisters — would have bet on the final score. Rubino gave up a single and double to Steve Hartson and Colby Levinson (2-for-3, RBI), then hit Ben Brown for a bases-loaded no-out bona fide jam on his way to facing a trio of giant Blasius veterans, each of them eminently capable of a game-tying grand slam home run.

“We’ve got talent,” one envisions Rubino saying to himself before proving it once again: pop-up to short; great catch by Lamanna in short center field; fielder’s choice to short. In Tri-State’s world of pitching, Rubino won the trifecta and the final inning as well. “It’s the mustaches,” he laughed, lining up with three other mustachioed Twisters for a fierce older look.

#8 Seed  Southington 66ers   vs   #9 Seed  Valley Thunder Ducks

Game 1: Southington 66ers 5 Valley Thunder Ducks 4

Game 2: Southington 66ers 6  Valley Thunder Ducks  4

***Southington plays #1 seed Terryville Black Sox in round 2