Sunday August 21 – rained out
Tri-State Championship Schedule:
Monday August 22: 7pm Fuessenich Park (Game #1)
Tuesday August 23: 7pm Fuessenich Park (Game #2)
Thursday August 25: 7pm Fuessenich Park (Game #3) if necessary
copyright Peter Wallace Register-Citizen 8/21/2011
“There’s some good baseball in Litchfield,” grinned Tri-Town player/coach Andrew Osolin after his Trojans completed an 8-5 win over the Wolcott Scrappers Saturday. It was Tri-Town’s final step toward meeting the Litchfield Cowboys in today’s first installment of an all-Litchfield best-of-three Tri-State Baseball League Championship series. The two Litchfield-area teams have been proving their point all summer, finishing the regular season as the one and two seeds in the 12-team double elimination tournament that culminates with the 17-team league’s championship this week after three weeks of testing the seedings.
Saturday, the semi-finals at Fuessenich Park were right on the mark, with No. 2 Tri-Town (18-5, 4-1 playoffs) hosting No. 3 Wolcott (17-6, 3-2 playoffs) for the chance to play No. 1 seed Litchfield (18-3, 3-0 playoffs) in the championship series. The Cowboy organization hasn’t been to the finals since 1990; its only championship was in 1978. The Trojans, who joined the league six years ago, made it last year, only to lose to long-standing league member Bethlehem. “It was a mission to get back this year,” said shortstop Dan McCarty, a key part of the unchanged team.
The Scrappers, even younger in the league (2007) than Tri-Town, were just as determined. “We don’t want to just get to the championship; we want to try to win it,” said player/coach Ryan Soucy describing his pitching rotation Friday night. Part of the Trojans’ Friday night drama was an attempt to push Saturday’s starting time back from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m., so their ace, Miles Scribner (12-0 in the league), could make it back from vacation for the start. That didn’t happen. The Trojans started the game in a funk. “We came out and looked a little soft,” said player/coach Ryan McDonald. Osolin, with blisters on his fingers from a game last week had little choice but to take the mound. Another Trojan starter was back at college for a four-day pre-season soccer session. “I was hoping to go five innings,” said Osolin.
The Scrappers, living up to the work ethic suggested by their sponsor, Continental Scrap Metal LLC, got on the board in the first inning by hustling through two soft hits, a ground-out and a wild pitch, while the Trojans’ field attitude bespoke the possibility of a legal appeal by their sponsors, Torrington’s Conti and Levy Law firm. Player/coach McDonald made the appeal for them. “Andrew’s out there by himself,” he said to his team. “Let’s go.” Still, it took another Wolcott run in the top of the second inning and Tri-Town’s first solid hit off Scrapper starter Zach Sehnal in the bottom of the inning to get the Tri-Town engine revving. Wolcott’s Ismael Bolorin (2-for-4, double) hustled for the Scrapper’s first-inning run. Ryan Andrade (2-for-5, RBI) led off the second with another soft hit to short left field, then scrambled all the way to third on a wild Trojan pick-off attempt. Rob Silas blooped another single, into short right field, to drive him in, 2-0.
Despite “an underlying pull toward a return to the finals this year,” according to Tri-Town’s Troy Kobylarz, things looked dim for the Trojans. Then, one out, bottom of the second, Tri-Town’s Landon Gardella (2 runs scored) took a soft pitch in the back and made it all the way home from first on a blast to right center by Kobylarz (2-for-3, double, 2 runs scored). The Trojan bats woke up, along with their opportunism. In the top of the third inning, Wolcott left runners on second and third, one out, after a single and double by Ryan Soucy (2-for-2, 3 walks) and Erik Sehnal (2-for-5). Tri-Town tied it up in the bottom of the inning on three straight singles by Casey McDonald, McCarty (2-for-5) and Steve Price, plus a sacrifice fly by Kyle Osolin. In the fourth, the Trojans charged ahead with three more runs on a walk and hits by Jon Smart (2-for-4, double, RBI, 2 runs scored), Nick Lahoud (2-for-4, RBI, run scored) and McCarty (2-run double).
Meanwhile, Wolcott stranded six men in those first three innings, rapping out seven of their 14 hits for the game, with just two runs to show for it. Tri-Town (10 hits) left just 7 men on base for the whole game. It took the Trojans four innings to draw even with Wolcott’s seven hits, but they jumped on a hit batter and a walk for two of their five runs in that time, then took advantage of three more walks and an error in the fifth inning to score three more runs on just two more hits, by Kobylarz and Smart (RBI double). “It was the same old story. We had no timely hitting. That was our weakness all year,” said Wolcott’s Soucy. “In this league, if you don’t score more than five runs, you’re probably not going to win,” said McCarty.
Wolcott scored another run in the top of the fifth, on a single by Jason Miller, a walk and an RBI by Andrade, but the score after five innings was 8-3, Trojans. Osolin’s fingertips split open after the sixth inning; he kept going. Wolcott used two more pitchers, including Adam LaCapra, who held the Trojans to just one hit over their final three innings. The Scrappers made a stand in the eighth for two more runs on a single by Soucy, double by Mike Perugini and a balk by Osolin.
Nobody was blaming Osolin. By then, he had established his place as the backbone for the Trojans’ win. Anyone else deviating from that path might owe him fingertips.
The Trojans will start Scribner today at 1 p.m. in Game One of the championship series at Fuesenich Park. “We probably have the edge in pitching; they have it in hitting,” said McDonald.
Those are details waiting to be seen today, Tuesday evening and Thursday if necessary. Anyone who wants to argue about the town of Litchfield’s overall baseball status will have to wait another year.
Litchfield vs Tri-Town
Sunday August 21 – rained out