Saturday August 14

Litchfield tops Waterbury to face Tri-Town in winners bracket showdown
copyright Peter Wallace   Register-Citizen  8/14/2011
The top-seeded Litchfield Cowboys beat No. 4 Waterbury Wild 4-1 in a third-round Tri-State Baseball League playoff game Saturday morning at Litchfield High School that was perfect for a motivational speaker.
“(Ken) Kerski is the best pitcher in the league,” said Waterbury coach Larry DeVito. “He’s given up two earned runs in 58 innings before today.” Kerski looked the part. A lefty with pop, he fanned 10 Cowboys in the first five innings Saturday, 14 in the game, while walking none. Litchfield starter Kevin Murray is quieter. A Cowboy workhorse this summer, Murray closed out the last four innings of Litchfield’s win over Terryville last week, giving up just one hit. He had six strikeouts against last week’s Black Sox, four more in Saturday’s nine innings against the Wild.
“The heat motivates me to make it a fast inning,” Murray grinned. “My grandparents are here from Southington; this is the first time they’ve seen me pitch this summer.” For the first five innings, the grandparents had cause to worry about the team, not Murray. Murray didn’t give up his first hit until the fifth inning. But before that, the Cowboy defense sputtered. A Cowboy throwing error in the second inning opened the door for John Digiovanni to get all the way to third before Litchfield catcher Karl Quist threw out a Waterbury base-stealer for the final out. Next inning Kyle Kerski got to third on two more Litchfield throwing errors. The Cowboys turned a double play for the first two outs. Kerski scored on the play, 1-0.
Meanwhile, Ken Kerski ruled the mound. Litchfield’s Ed Pequignot (2-for-4, run scored) squeezed out a lead-off hit to start the bottom of the first inning; Ben Murphy lined a clean single in the second. Otherwise, the breeze came from swinging Litchfield bats. “He had our number until the seventh inning,” said Litchfield’s Adam Claire, who joined all but one other Cowboy starter in at least one strikeout in the early innings. “Kenny threw a lot of pitches,” said Litchfield player/coach Chris Beach. “I was over-aggressive my first two at-bats (both strikeouts),” said Lee McKenna.
Meanwhile, Murray trudged on from the Litchfield mound. Trailing by a run before he gave up a hit, the right hander gave in briefly to Julian Cruz for a lead-off single up the middle in the fifth inning. Two fielder’s choices and a fly to right ended the inning. Still down 1-0 in the bottom of the sixth, Litchfield’s Mike Odenwaelder led off with a hit to left in the bottom of the sixth. Kyle Weaver sacrificed him to second. Claire (2-for-4, 2 RBI) tied the score on a hit up the middle.
After that, Waterbury got solid wood on the ball, but nothing but frustration for their efforts. Litchfield’s McKenna slowed down and hit up the middle in the seventh, but got only as far as third base. “We’re a big-inning team,” said Beach. The big inning Saturday was the eighth. Weaver began with a single down the third base line. Pequignot followed with a line drive to right. Claire singled to right center; Weaver scored, 2-1. Chris Blazek grounded out to second; Pequignot scored, 3-1. McKenna blasted a double to center field; Claire scored from second, 4-1. “I knew he didn’t want to walk me,” said McKenna, looking at a full count from Kersi. “I thought he would throw me the fastball.”
Murray finished out the ninth inning with as little spectacle as the rest of his work Saturday: fly to left, fly to center, ground to short. Still, when you add up all the columns, it was a one-hitter. Litchfield out-hit the Wild 9-1. Kevin Murray has given up two hits in his last 13 playoff innings. If you can’t make a motivational speech out of that, you’re not trying.
Bristol Greeners   8    Torrington Rebels  3
The Greeners defeated the Rebels Saturday afternoon at Bristol Central High School behind another strong pitching performance by Geoff Pierce, who picked up his second complete game victory of the 2011 playoffs. Bristol scored 3 runs in the first inning on just two hits, capitalizing on some miscues by the Torrington defense. Bristol’s offense was led by Nick Palmisano (3-3), Doug Beaudoin (2-4, RBI), and Matt Godbout (1-3, 2 RBI). Torrington’s starter Dan Livingston pitched seven strong innings for the Rebels, allowing just one earned run and scattering seven hits. Torrington’s offense was led by Dave Alexander (3-3, RBI) and Curtis Anthony (2-4).
Terryville Black Sox  6   Thomaston Threshers  5
Black Sox starter Billy Armstrong struck out nine over eight innings in a playoff win over the Threshers. Terryville ended the game with a triple-play to thwart a Thomaston rally to begin the ninth inning. With men on first and second base, a soft liner up the middle over the second base bag was caught by the Terryville shortstop who stepped on second and threw to first base to complete the 3-out gadget.
Kevin Larose, Mike Morrison and Dave Baldega each had a pair of RBIs for Terryville.
Scott Bellemare had a double and four RBIs to lead Thomaston, while Andy Romano had a pair of base hits. Dave Alocon picked up the save with a scoreless ninth for the Black Sox.
Naugatuck Dogs  7   Amenia Monarchs  6
Ryan Russell’s bases-clearing double capped a four run ninth inning which gave the Dogs a walk-off win over the Monarchs. Down 6-3 entering the bottom of the ninth, Kyle Faucher, George Harlamon and Bill Fedeli all singled to load the bases with one out. After Matt Cane hit an RBI single, Russell came through with his second double of the game, and it was huge. Jamie Kimberley went the distance for Naugy, surviving a tough stretch from the third through fifth innings, in which he gave up all six Amenia runs. Kimberley struck out seven Monarchs on the evening. Tom Downey doubled and singled for Amenia.