Tri-State Championship Schedule
Bethlehem Plowboys vs Brass City Brew
Game #1 Sunday August 16th 1:00pm Fuessenich Park
Game #2 Saturday August 22nd 1:00pm Fuessenich Park
Game #3 (if necessary) Sunday August 23rd 1:00pm Fuessenich Park
Sunday August 9th:
Brass City 6 Burlington 3
“It was too little too late,” said Burlington Hunters player/manager Pat Flynn of his team’s ninth-inning rally in Sunday’s Tri-State League loser’s bracket championship game with the Brass City Brew at Fuessenich Park. Flynn was right, but the real story of Brass City’s 6-3 win was “too much, too soon” by the Brew. Burlington knuckleballer Jay Pelletier beat No. 1 seed Brass City (18-3) a week ago as the Brew came off its harried Stan Musial state tournament schedule. But a second look at the Burlington starter brought a first-inning barrage by Brass City Sunday afternoon. “After seeing him a few times, you get your timing down,” said Justin McColloch (3-for-4, double, RBI, run scored), who slammed a single off the left field fence to drive in Brass City’s second run. “You have to treat (the knuckler) sort of like batting practice; just be patient and don’t try for a home run,” said Brass City player/manager Sam Sirica.
That formula worked to a tee in the first inning. The first five batters in the Brew’s order — Eric Gormley; Steve Carosella (2-for-4, double, RBI); McCulloch; Eric Rovinetti; and Paul Novakowski (2-for-3, RBI, 2 runs scored) hit safely and every one of them scored, with the help of all three of No. 4 seed Burlington’s (13-8) errors for the game. Pelletier recovered (just 2 Brass City hits in the next two innings), but the Hunters never did, facing Brass City’s own brand of knuckleballer in Marc DiDominzio (9 innings, 3 earned runs, 9 hits, 3 strikeouts, 1 walk). “Everything (knuckleball, curve and fastball) was working,” said DiDominzio, “and my defense was working great (1 error) behind me.” DiDominzio and his defense gave up a leadoff hit to Justin Campbell (2-for-5, run scored) in the first inning, then three more in the third, to Campbell, Steven Popp and Jay McIntyre (RBI), for Burlington’s first run. But, except for a lone double by Burlington’s Steve Dubois in the fifth, DiDominzio’s pitching mix and Brass City’s defense kept the Hunters hitless for the next five innings.
That was key, because Pelletier and his defense got it together after the gruesome first, complete with double plays in Pelletier’s next two innings — his last. John Mittica (1 earned run, 4 strikeouts, 2 walks) started the fourth in relief and held the Brew to just five more hits. A lead-off walk to Brass City’s Paul Novakowski, singles to DiDominzio and Gary Novakowski and an RBI fielder’s choice by Mike Verroneau cost Mittica a run in the sixth, but DiDominzio and the Brew defense were now the Hunters’ real problems, not Brass City’s offense.
DiDominzio tired in the top of the ninth, allowing three straight hits and an RBI fielder’s choice to Jimmy Spirito, Scott McIntyre, Jay McCluskey (RBI) and Jared Holtman (RBI), respectively, for two Burlington runs with just one out. Then one of the Brew fielder’s called the final play. “It’s yours to win,” he hollered at his sweat-soaked pitcher. DiDominzio gave up one more hit, a bloop single by Flynn, then conjured a double play ball to shortstop Steve Carosella for the final outs.
Brass City rides its first-inning wave into next weekend’s best-of-three championship series, against No. 2 seed Bethlehem. The Plowboys (18-3) are the survivor of the double elimination playoffs winner’s bracket (5-0). “It’s getting to be a rivalry,” said the Brew’s McCulloch. “I’m sure we’ll have two of the league’s best pitchers (Bethlehem’s Sam Iverson and Brass City’s Sean Kegan) facing off.” Bethlehem took a 5-2 win in the teams’ only regular-season meeting.
Saturday August 8th:
Burlington 13 Amenia 11
The Burlington Hunters were well on their way to a win and a berth in the losers bracket final of the Tri-State playoffs Saturday at Fuessenich Park. Leading 13-3 in the top of the ninth with two outs, the game seemed finished.
The Amenia Monarchs had other ideas and nearly spoiled the party.
Eight unearned runs (on one hit) later, the score was 13-11, and there were still two outs. John Mittica retired the final Amenia batter on a ground out to seal a wild 13-11 win and a trip to today’s final against Brass City at 11:30 at Fuessenich Park. “It was unreal,” Burlington manager Pat Flynn said. “Unbelievable.” A two-out error brought home the first run of the ninth for the Monarchs to make the score 13-4. A combination of two more errors, three walks, a hit batter and a bases-clearing double by Tom Moore off of two Hunter pitchers made it 13-11 with two outs. Flynn brought in Mittica, who picked up the final out.
Burlington jumped out to a 7-1 lead after the third inning. Amenia scored twice in the fourth to make it 7-3, but the Hunters—highlighted by an Adam Peters grand slam to deep left field—exploded for six runs to make it 13-3, where the score remained until the ninth. Burlington was led by Peters, who went 2-for-5 with the grand slam and two runs scored. He had plenty of help from Scott McIntyre (2-for-5, RBI, stolen base, 2 runs scored), Steve Dubois (2-for-3, RBI, run scored) and Steven Popp (1-for-3, 2 RBI, 2 walks). Jimmy Spirito picked up the win for the Hunters.
Amenia had three players with two hits. Tom Moore (who homered twice in the game vs Waterbury Tuesday night) went 2-for-5 with three runs batted in while Jeff Pomeisl and Matt Pomeisl each went 2-for-4 with a walk.
Brass City 12 Winsted 3
The Whalers took a 3-2 lead in the top of the sixth, but the Brew scored 10 unanswered runs to advance Saturday at Fuessenich Park.
Brass City put up two runs in the sixth to take a 4-3 lead, then exploded for eight in the bottom of the seventh for a commanding lead. Back-to-back RBI singles from Eric Gormley (2-for-4, 1 RBI, 3 runs scored, 2 stolen bases, 1 walk) and Steve Carosella (2-for-5, RBI, 2 runs scored, stolen base) started the Brew rally. After two walks ended Winsted starter Donny Crossman’s day, Paul Novakowski (4-for-4, 2 doubles, 3 RBI, 2 runs scored, 1 stolen base) cleared the bases with a double off reliever Charlie Putnam. Marc DiDominzio (2-for-4, double, 2 RBI, run scored) added an RBI double later in the inning. Sean Keegan (7 innings, 3 runs, 1 earned run, 3 hits, 6 strikeouts, 5 walks) picked up the win for Brass City.
The Brew face Burlington in the losers bracket final today at 11:30 a.m. at Fuessenich Park. Winsted was led by Brian Stumpf, who went 1-for-3 with a walk, run batted in and run scored. Charlie Putnam (2-for-4) and Ricky Langer (1-for-3, walk, run scored) also contributed to the Whaler offensive attack.
Tri-State Championship Schedule