After finishing the regular season 18-1, the best record in the 75 year history of the Tri-State League, Brass City Brew advanced to the AABC Northeast Regionals in Albany, NY after advancing to the championship game of the CT Stan Musial state tournament. Brass City earned the CT two seed (after falling to All-Star Batting of New Milford 1-0 in the state tourney) and earned the right to play the regional tournament favorites out of the Cranberry League in Massachusetts, the Eastern Cowboys. It was very clear from the first official managers/coaches meeting that most of the teams were experienced and were quite familiar with each other. Tensions were high, even before any games were played, as team rosters were submitted and rules were discussed. Once on the field, it was very clear the teams had come to put on a baseball clinic to prove who was the best. Every game Brass City had the privilege to play in was a battle to the last out. Every game we watched felt like game seven of the World Series.
The Brew’s biggest accomplishment of the tourney was that first game versus Easton Cowboys, who entered the game with a 35-0 record. As Brass City walked onto the field they were mocked by an Easton fan “they’re wearing T-Shirts, they can’t be that good.” The Brew were actually amused at the comment. Winsted Whalers draftee Donny Crossman took the mound for the Brew and was in complete control from the first pitch of the game. Crossman threw a complete game 1-hitter, needing only 65 pitches to complete the gem as Brass City handed Easton its only loss of the season. Unfortunately for the Brew, two games later they would be eliminated. The Brew dropped games to host Albany (stranded 11 runners and allowed 3 runs on two costly errors) and Binghamton , New Jersey after both teams put on an offensive display.
One lesson reinforced for Brass City player/manager was hitting is nice, but pitching and defense carry a team in the playoffs. “I believe a majority of the teams in the Tri-State league could compete with the teams we saw in Albany . These teams play longer seasons, carry full pitching staffs, and fill out their roster with all-star talent. I saw one thing that wouldn’t allow them to fit in the Tri-State league; we have fun. Win or lose, a close game or blowout; I can’t think of too many moments when our players forget baseballs competitive, but it’s also fun.” The accomplishments of the Brew in 2008 (and shortcomings in the Tri-State league playoffs, state tourney, and regional tourney) has left the team hungry and with more drive for the 2009 season.