Tri-State World Series

Tri-Town Trojans vs Bethlehem Plowboys

Game 1: Sunday August 14 at 6pm Fuessenich Park

Game 2: Monday August 15 at 7pm Municipal Stadium

Game 3: Tuesday August 16 at 7pm Municipal Stadium (if necessary)

Copyright Kevin Roberts Republican-American 8/7/22

The second games of both Tri-State best-of-three semifinal series were contested on a hot and sticky Saturday. Each team that won the first game wanted to end their respective matchups without resorting to a third game today in the same brutal weather.

The defending champion and top-seeded Tri-Town Trojans and third-seeded Bethlehem Plowboys both took care of business. Tri-Town pulled away for a 16-4 win over fourth-seeded Blasius Chevrolet at Prospect’s Hotchkiss Field while Bethlehem blew away the second-seeded Amenia Monarchs, 15-0, at Bethlehem’s Gallop Field.

Tri-Town and Bethlehem will meet in the best-of-three World Series, which starts next Sunday. The Trojans took care of a short-handed Blasius pitching staff with the entire lineup getting involved. “Our hitting came along today, and we were able to string things together,” said Tri-Town player/coach Danny McCarty, who was part of the hitting barrage. “Our bottom of the order has been very good for us, so it’s nice to know we don’t have any holes in the lineup one to 10.”

The Trojans led, 7-3, after seven innings, but erupted for nine runs over the final two frames to put away Blasius. A day after Miles Scribner won Game 1, fellow veteran Bobby Chatfield did the same in Game 2. Tri-Town also played terrific defense behind Chatfield, turning several double plays, including a 5-2-3 twin killing with the bases loaded in the bottom of the fifth inning to wipe out a possible comeback attempt. In the bottom of the seventh inning, Chatfield leaped and stabbed a comebacker to start a 1-6-3, inning-ending double play. “Our defense is what separates us when we’re playing well,” McCarty said. Tri-Town used that stingy defense to clinch its second straight World Series appearance and fourth in five seasons. There was no season in 2020 due to COVID.

Bethlehem stunned Amenia on its home field Friday in Game 1 with six runs in the top of the first inning. Kyle Banche took the early lead and ran with it in a complete-game effort as the Plowboys rolled to a 10-5 victory. “Going up 6-0, you can’t ask for more as a starting pitcher,” said Bethlehem coach Rich Revere. “My guy got a nice big lead, and it was comfortable to cruise the rest of the game.”

It was much the same in Game 2 Saturday as a six-run third inning turned a 1-0 game into a 7-0 rout. In a three-batter sequence in the third, Jesse Swartout homered, Chase Belisle doubled, and Isaiah Johnson followed with a two-run homer. “We are just so focused on just getting good at bats this year, and it’s paying off for us,” Revere said. “We’re hitting our gaps. We’re doing what we need to do.” Jay Johnson (four innings, eight strikeouts) and Keegan Daigle (five innings, six strikeouts) combined on a two-hitter as Bethlehem clinched its first World Series appearance since 2010. Ironically, the Plowboys swept Tri-Town in that series.

Revere said he was getting messages of support from former Bethlehem legends like Dan Goscinski, Tony Geraci, Pat McGee and Aaron Granahan. The Plowboys broke through after losing in the semifinals for four straight years. “We’re going to hit, our pitchers are going to keep us in the game and we’re going to get to where we deserve to be, the World Series,” Revere said of the message conveyed before the game.

The message was received, and the World Series matchup is set.

Musial Series ready to fill Mantle void

copyright Mark Jaffee Republican-American 8/5/22

With the Mickey Mantle Tournament not returning to the area his summer after a five-year stint, Tri-State League commissioner Ed Gadomski wanted to bring back an event featuring some elite amateur baseball talent.

The Stan Musial East Coast World Series will feature four teams next weekend at Municipal Stadium in Waterbury and Fuessenich Park in Torrington. The wood-bat event will feature the Terryville Black Sox, who are playing in the Connecticut Twilight League this season. “Without the Mantle tournament being here, this is the next best thing,” said Gadomski, who noted there is no admission to the games.
Gadomski had hoped to add teams from the New England region and tri-state area, but wasn’t able to lock in teams. The other three teams set are the Milford Hunters of the West Haven League, the Albany (N.Y.) Athletics and the Braintree (Mass.) White Sox.

Each team will participate pool play, which will feature seven-inning games. On Friday, Braintree will meet Albany at 3 p.m. at Municipal Stadium. A home run derby will follow at 6 p.m. with two players per team participating and be allowed to use aluminum bats. In the nightcap, Terryville will meet Milford at 7:30 p.m. Free hotdogs and chips will offered to fans Friday.

A week from today, the two losing teams from Friday will play at 10 a.m. followed by the two winning teams at 1 p.m. Both games are at Municipal. Teams that had not played each other will play at 4 p.m. at Municipal and at Fuessenich. On Sunday, Aug.14, the championship game is set for 11 a.m. at Municipal with a 2 p.m. matchup, if necessary.

Tri-Town on top of “wide-open” Tri-State

Copyright Kevin Roberts Rep-American 6/26/22

The defending Connecticut Tri-State Baseball League champion Tri-Town Trojans are off to a good start again this season.

Tri-Town (8-1) grabbed a 6-1 comeback victory over the Valley Thunder Ducks on Thursday evening at Wolcott High School. The Trojans had to piece together a lineup to an extent, but those young pieces fit well. Joey Grantmeyer, 21, who was a catcher at Northwestern High, was in right field while Max Quinn, 21, who played at The Hotchkiss School, was behind the plate. Connor Gannon, 20, normally a pitcher at Western Connecticut State University, was inserted at second base. “I stuck him out there because I was missing my starting second baseman and starting center fielder,” Tri-Town player/manager Danny McCarty said. “He’s an athlete, and he had one hell of a game. Two hits, two stolen bases, and he had something like six assists.” Who plays for each team could very well depend on whether the game is during the week or on the weekend. “For weekend games, you might see more guys that can show up,” McCarty said.

Things have changed for McCarty, 34, and Tri-Town since it celebrated a championship on the diamond at Municipal Stadium. Longtime catcher Landon Gardella moved to Vermont. “I’m missing Landon because of his leadership, but skill-wise we have great people behind the plate,” McCarty said. “We’re always going to miss Landon because of his leadership and his experience. His presence was unmatched for sure for anybody in the league.” The league itself has also changed since last year. There are just 13 teams in a league that once had as many as 19. The Torrington Rebels folded, and the Terryville Black Sox left for the Connecticut Twilight League. Less teams mean more games against top competition, McCarty said. “Now with the shorter league, we play some of the top teams twice, so hopefully we can split against people and maybe take a series against people, and that will help,” McCarty said.

One of those top teams is the Winsted Whalers (8-2). Winsted is young but has some solid players, McCarty said. Player/manager Chester Warner is happy with the team he has put together, according to McCarty, who knows him well. “He’s pretty proud of this team that’s been put together, and they’re no joke,” McCarty said.

Tri-Town’s loss was to the Bethlehem Plowboys (6-3) by a score of 1-0 on Tuesday. McCarty said Bethlehem has strong hitters and is a fundamentally sound ballclub. The Amenia Monarchs (5-3) are just a win behind the Plowboys. “There’s still a good top eight teams that are still pretty good in this league, and it’s anybody’s ballgame, I think,” McCarty said. “It’s about finishing in the top six this year for the playoffs so you can get a bye, then you go to best-of-three series.”

Tri-Town will be in the mix because of the starting pitching it gets from Miles Scribner, Bobby Chatfield and Dan Livingston. There’s also veterans in the lineup like McCarty, Austin Patenaude and Casey McDonald who will help keep the Trojans going in the right direction.

Plowboys, Whalers see similarities in young teams

copyright Kevin Roberts Re-American 7/2/22

The Bethlehem Plowboys and Winsted Whalers have taken similar paths over the past five years or so in the Connecticut Tri-State Baseball League.
Those paths met on Thursday evening at Gallop Field in a battle for second place in the league. Bethlehem rode the strong pitching of George Bielizna (six innings, four hits, five strikeouts) and a two-run homer from Matt Mancini to a 6-0 victory over Winsted. The Plowboys improved to 9-3 while “The Whale” fell to 8-4.
“George pitched very well. I was very happy with how he pitched today, then Kyle (Banche) came in and shut the door (in the seventh),” Bethlehem coach Rich Revere said.
Revere and Jon Wilson have rebuilt the Plowboys behind a strong youth movement. Revere sees similarities with the Whalers.
“It’s a younger generation for us, a younger generation for them, but both teams have stayed competitive throughout it, so it’s been good for both teams,” Revere said.
“Whaler ball three years ago was sparse and few in between. Now we’ve got a bunch of players,” added Winsted player/co-coach Mitch Gryniuk. “Johnny (Lippincott), our centerfielder, said last year was the most fun he’s ever had because it’s a great group of guys. And we started playing much better.”
Bielizna is one of several pitchers Revere can turn to. Jason Johnson went 6-1 with a 1.05 ERA, 43 strikeouts, 16 walks and a .191 batting average against in 11 appearances (eight starts) as a freshman at Saint Joseph’s College of Maine. Johnson earned All-GNAC first team and all-rookie team honors for his efforts.
Kyle Banche, who formerly pitched for the Torrington Rebels, was added during the season. Revere believes his team is primed for a run at the championship, but there’s plenty of competition around.
“With Terryville leaving, there’s a lot more teams that are in it,” Revere said. “I’ve been watching the standings all year. Winsted, Tri-Town, Amenia’s always tough. Blasius added a couple guys, so they’re going to be tough this year. I think overall it’s more
Gryniuk feels Winsted can be up there as well. At times, the Whalers are the best-hitting team in the league, according to Gryniuk.
“We have some hitting, it’s just how consistent do we stay,” Gryniuk said.
Justin Morhardt is on the roster. He was a major power hitter in his time at The Gilbert School and was drafted by the Los Angeles Angels (2012) and later the Atlanta Braves (2017). Lukas Gryniuk, younger brother of Mitch, hit two home runs into the tennis courts in right field at Walker Field in his first game of the season.

The brotherhood of The Whale
Winsted has four sets of brothers involved with its team in some capacity this season. Three sets went to Northwestern High while one pair attended The Gilbert School.
There’s Mitch (Northwestern, 2016) and Lukas Gryniuk (Northwestern, 2017). T.J. Kent (Northwestern, 2013) played third base Thursday while younger brother Tyler (Northwestern, 2019) kept stats as a college intern. Robert Weiss (Gilbert, 2012) and Ryley Weiss (Gilbert, 2019) both pitch. Tony Pucino (Northwestern, 2016) and young brother Peter Greenwood (Northwestern, 2022) joined Winsted this season. Greenwood came on in relief of starter Austin Brochu on Thursday. Pucino can play both third base and shortstop.
Mitch and Lukas Gryniuk are competitive with each other.
“Lucas is definitely the power hitter. I don’t hit for power, I hit for mostly contact, sometimes they’re power shots,” Mitch Gryniuk said. “I like to say I have a stronger arm than him. I pitch.”
One thing the four sets of Winsted brothers share is camaraderie.
“It’s very supportive. Not all brothers get along, but our four pairs do. It’s kind of nice,” Mitch Gryniuk said.

Baseball an Old Passion for Tri-State players and commissioner Eddie Gadomski

Copyright Register Citizen Peter Wallace 6/25/22

TORRINGTON — Summer baseball.

For many in the Northwest Corner and across the country, the words are still synonymous. It’s as if summer and baseball were made for each other, with summer’s long languid days interspersed by occasional wild excitement and a game that can sometimes play out the same way. C’mon, we’ve got time, right?

So what better way to approach this weekend’s official start of summer than back-to-back long languid lunches with two of the pillars of baseball in the area: Tri-State Baseball commissioner Eddie Gadomski and Torrington American Legion Baseball general manager R.J. Poniatoski.

Gadomski came first, last Tuesday. Nobody represents baseball better than Eddie. “I let baseball take over my life,” he says at one point in our conversation at Torrington’s 99 Restaurant, praising his wife Lori for being the kind of woman willing to give and take the opportunities to “live our own lives” amidst the challenges and pleasures of a growing family and careers.

The fact is, despite ruing a few missed family opportunities as a result, Gadomski fell in love with baseball long before he fell in love with Lori, growing up playing baseball with sticks and tennis balls with friends on a Naugatuck funeral home parking lot. “The amazing thing is, people would actually come to watch us play,” he laughs.

For Gadomski, the crowds kept growing as he grew up to co-captain a three-year league championship run at Kaynor Tech after his parents, John and Donna, immigrants from Poland, relented in his sophomore year, allowing him to play for the Panthers if he kept up his grades. Learning to hit with a stick and throw a 12-6 curve with a tennis ball (too many broken windows with a baseball)? Training tools not many kids or their parents would go for today, but they served Gadomski well enough, along with old-school parental academic discipline, to earn an offer from Princeton. But Gadomski chose Mattatuck Community College (now Naugatuck Community College), where he again led his school to a championship in his first year.

From there, the love affair went to the Tri-State League and several other area adult leagues where he led Tri-State’s Thomaston Spoilers to a league championship along with his own MVP for hitting and pitching. “I played five games a week between the leagues,” Gadomski says. “I was the guy who held on. I played Tri-State until I was 41, then in the over-40 league until I was 49 — until my knees finally gave out.”

In the midst of that span, 2003, the same year he won the league MVP as a player, his peers elected him commissioner, where he led Tri-State from a six-team beer-league to a well-organized, disciplined high of 19 teams across the Northwest Corner and back to its current 13 after five of them dropped out in the COVID years. “All our teams are filled up and we’re still the biggest adult league in the state,” he says. “I get calls all the time from people wanting to play and we have one team, maybe two, ready to enter the league.”

Despite Gadomski’s longevity as a player, make no mistake. Tri-State has no bearing whatsoever to your dad’s recreational softball league. “It’s gotten younger lately — high teens to mid-20s,” Gadomski says while stipulating that newer teams and players are in it to learn from the veterans who still rule the league’s win/loss columns. “Some of our players — college veterans, ex-minor leaguers and even some ex-major leaguers are reliving the glory days. Some of the younger ones are using it as a stepping stone. Scouts have told others (like recently-released former Oriole prospect Willy Yahn) to stick around so they can keep an eye on them. “I played with (ex-major league Watertown star) Rico Brogna. His dad always told him, ‘You gotta play with the older kids.’ He was drafted in the first round by Detroit.”

And still, amidst all the league’s talent and hard-driven play, there’s the essence of summer baseball for most of them to consider. “As you get older, life changes,” Gadomski, the veteran baseball lifer says. “Marriage…children…work…Baseball is a chance to get away from life and its problems and just be a kid again, having a good time and enjoying the camaraderie. When I played, knowing I had a game that night made work much, much easier for me.” The joy and talent is on display most Tuesdays, Thursdays and weekends across the area.

Tuesday, Gadomski texted a recap of a game between league leaders in which the Bethlehem Plowboys (7-3) delivered the defending champion Tri-Town Trojans (7-1) their first loss in a long regular season that runs until the playoffs begin in mid-August. The 1-0 Plowboy win at Bethlehem’s Gallup Field (seven innings on weeknights, nine on weekends) featured six no-hit innings by Bethlehem’s Matt Sibilia, then a gut-it-out Plowboy run in the bottom of the sixth on a pitch-to-the-shin for Jarrett Michaels, bunt single by Joe Rupe and RBI ground-out by Ricky Descoteaux. Yahn led off the final inning with a double for the Trojans, then got caught in a rundown before two more outs ended the game.

Thursday night under the Fuessenich Park lights, Torrington’s Matt Sokol and Blasius Chevrolet’s Brooks Belter, a former minor leaguer, traded no-hit first innings before the veteran Waterbury team (5-4) schooled the Twisters (3-6), one of the league’s youngest teams, 10-0. One of the joys of playing in the highly-competitive Tri-State League is getting back together with old friends in the dugout every summer.

Regardless of the final score, a cool breeze at Fuessenich Park in twilight, the smack of the ball on catchers’ mitts and wooden bats, the calls of the umpires..It was hard to think of a better place to be.

Some call that the essence of summer, at any age.