Playoffs: Sunday August 8

Bethlehem Plowboys 5, Bristol Greeners 0: Playing at their home Gallop Field, the No. 1 seed Plowboys went from good to amazing on occasion, while No. 8 Bristol, convincing winners over Amenia Saturday (7-2), came to Bethlehem down, then got worse. Four Bristol players, including its entire starting outfield, were either hurt or unavailable for Sunday’s game. While the Greeners have athletic replacements, Gallop Field’s outfield tends to be testy for veterans, downright scary for newcomers. “We definitely have a home field advantage,” laughed Plowboy player/coach Tony Geraci.
“Our defense let us down today,” said Bristol player/coach Shawn Mirmina, aware that just two of the team’s five errors came outside the infield. Bristol errors led to three unearned runs; Bethlehem got its one harmless error out of the way in the first inning, then moved on through error-free play to miraculous behind winning pitcher Tyler Erickson. Erickson is a senior right-handed side-armer whose success has helped D-III Castleton State College (Castleton, Vt.) reach the Division III regionals and semifinals. Sunday, he was in control all game (0 runs, 5 hits, 6 strikeouts, 3 walks) before Dave Fredlund closed out the final inning.
Two spectacular double plays helped Erickson stay on top. The best was his own. In the only inning in which Erickson and his defense allowed more than one hit, Bristol’s Matt Beaudoin started with a one-out single in the top of the sixth. Then Steve Ziogas hit a ground rule double out of play in right field. Mirmina, up next, hit a low drive back to Erickson’s right. Erickson stuck out his right hand, making the catch falling backwards. Then, while sitting on the side of the mound, he turned and threw to second for the inning-ending double play. Plowboy first baseman Kevin Pettit speared a line drive rocket in the eighth inning for another double play inning-ender that would have drawn raves in any other game. In this one, Pettit’s play took second billing to Erickson’s.
It was that kind of day for both teams: worse and worser for Bristol; amazing and amazing-er for the Plowboys. Arrows pointed that way in the bottom of the first after Erickson started with two strikeouts in the top of the inning. Plowboy leadoff hitter Eric O’Toole (2 runs scored) reached on an infield error and stole second. Then Aaron Granahan (2-for-5, 2 RBI, run scored) hit a one-out RBI single through the left side. A wicked hop in the outfield gave him another base. With two outs, Matt Parlato (2-for-4) drove Granahan in with another single.
On most other days, Bristol’s complete-game pitcher, Brian Archibald, has a shot at winning with the numbers he put up on Sunday: 8 innings, 2 earned runs, 11 hits, 6 strikeouts, 0 walks, 1 hit batter. The way things worked this time, he didn’t have a shot. Still leading just 2-0 in the bottom of the fifth, O’Toole led off with a single, then made it around the bases on a hit by Nick Chiovitti (4-for-5, double), a fly to right by Granahan and an infield error. Bethlehem worked its fielding miracles in the sixth and eighth to keep the door closed for the Greeners. Three more timely hits and an error got the last two Plowboy runs across in the bottom of the sixth. With one out, Rob Geraci singled; Dan Goscinski reached on an infield error; Chiovitti and and Granahan (RBI) hit back-to-back singles, scoring Geraci. Goscinski got home on an error in the outfield.
“Erickson pitched well,” said Bristol’s Mirmina. “We had good pitching and hits when we needed them,” said Plowboy Tony Geraci. That’s how Bethlehem earned its No. 1 playoff seed. Sunday, the Plowboys took it up a notch: defensive miracles on demand as well. Bristol now faces Tribury Wednesday evening at Muzzy Field.
Tri-Town Trojans 2, Wolcott Scrappers 1: Miles Scribner and Omar Tavares hooked up in a classic pitchers dual, both pitchers going the distance of 9 innings with Tri-Town coming up on top 2-1. Steve Price walked to open the second inning and eventually scored on a basehit by Troy Kobylarz. Wolcott’s Adam LaCapra singled in the 3rd inning, stole second base and then scored on an error to tie the ballgame at 1. With Scribner and Tavares putting up zero’s on the scoreboard, Connor Murray led off the top of the eighth inning with a walk, stole second and came around to score the eventual winning run on back to back singles by Casey McDonald and Danny McCarty. Wolcott outhit Tri-Town 6-5 in the game. The Trojans travel to Gallop Field on Wednesday to take on the Plowboys in the semi-finals of the winners bracket. Wolcott will host Amenia also on Wednesday.
Monday August 9 Schedule:
Naugatuck    at    Brass City     5:30pm   Bucks Hill Park – Waterbury
Winsted      at    Watertown      5:30pm   Deland Field – Watertown