Friday July 22

Torrington picks up key win over Terryville
Torrington’s Rebels beat Terryville’s Black Sox 2-1 at Fuessenich Park Friday evening in another demonstration of why it’s a good thing the Tri-State League allows 12 of its 18 teams into the league playoffs beginning August 6. With just one or two games remaining for each team in the regular season finale this weekend, Torrington (8-9) and Terryville (7-9) are among nine quality teams ranked sixth through 14th clustered around records from No. 6 Naugatuck’s 9-7 to No. 14 Winsted’s 6-10, all with good shots left at making the final 12.
“I told my guys, if we win our last two games (including Friday’s), we’re guaranteed a spot,” said Torrington player/coach Curtis Anthony, who led a sixth-inning charge by the Rebels to get past the Black Sox. Sunday, in its final regular-season game, Torrington hosts 2-15 Burlington, one of just three teams in the league out of the running. The Black Sox face Tri-Town, tied with Litchfield for the league lead, Sunday, and Naugatuck in the league’s only game to spill over to Monday.
“We’ll be okay,” said Terryville pitcher Joe Deming, who, along with Torrington’s Austin Poucher, explained through actions why no team is safe in the playoffs and why any team that qualifies is well qualified indeed. Deming (6 innings, 2 earned runs, 6 strikeouts, 2 walks) threw a six-hitter; Poucher (7 innings, 1 unearned run, 4 strikeouts, 2 walks) gave up just two hits. Both teams had solid chances to break the game open early.
Leadoff hitter Kevin Larose dropped a bloop single into short left field in the top of the first, moved to second on a ground-out, then stole third before Mike Morrison drew a walk. Deming hit sharply to third; Nick Ross caught Larose off base for a fielder’s choice. Then Poucher got the third Black Sox out on a pop-up to third. In the bottom of the inning, Cody Santore and Jerry Colon hit back-to-back one-out singles. Then, with two outs, a Terryville error turned into an out, as Black Sock left fielder Dan Vaccaro picked up the miscue and threw out Cody Santore at home.
In the second, Torrington’s Miguel Gonzalez led off with a walk, stole second and reached third on Jay Lovato’s single to short center. Then, with one out already down, Deming struck out the final two Rebels of the inning. Poucher sailed through an easy second inning and a strikeout for the third inning’s first out. Andrew Trembley singled to left, stole second, then crossed home plate on two Torrington throwing errors. That unearned run ruled as both pitchers stiffened.
“Austin had a better change-up than I’ve seen before,” said Anthony. “I thought I had enough velocity to win,” said Deming, 32, who’s pitched in the league since he was 15. Anthony got Torrington’s only hit between the third and sixth innings. After Terryville scored in the third, Poucher didn’t give up another hit all game. In the bottom of the sixth, Dave Alexander reached on a one-out throwing error. Then Anthony stepped into the box. “He’s going to hit a triple to right center field,” said Tom Santore, a veteran hitting coach standing by the third base fence. Babe Ruth couldn’t have pointed it better. On a 2-1 count, Anthony parked a line drive over Larose’s head in right center field. Alexander scored easily; Anthony ended up on third. Gonzalez, up next, got the RBI for Anthony’s go-ahead run from third on a ground-out to short.
The “guarantee” game for Torrington’s playoff qualification Sunday night comes with a special impetus. Along with the baseball comes hope for a cure for lung cancer. The Rebels will hold a raffle at the game to benefit a “Lungs for Jenny Kim” fund. Kim, a 15-year-old Torrington resident, died of lung disease early this month.