Tri-Town to meet Wolcott in semi-finals

Saturday August 20:  Semi-Finals    1:00pm  Fuessenich Park (winner advances to championship)
Sunday August 21:     Game #1 Championship   1:00pm  Fuessenich Park
Monday August 22:     (rain-date)
Tuesday August 23:     Game #2 Championship   7:00pm  Fuessenich Park
Wednesday August 24:  (rain-date)
Thursday August 25:    Game #3 Championship  7:00pm  Fuessenich Park  (if necessary)
Friday  August 26:        (rain-date)
Tri-Town Trojans  6    Watertown Blaze  4
copyright Peter Wallace   register-citizen  8/18/2011
It’s hard to play quality baseball every night when you come from a full time day job to do it.
The Tri-State League’s No. 5 seed Watertown Blaze and No. 2 Tri-Town Trojans made a strong run at doing just that, but managed to offer flipside views from one day to the next in the fourth and fifth rounds of the league’s double elimination playoffs Tuesday and Wednesday. Tuesday, the Trojans out-hit Litchfield’s Cowboys in the final pairing of the winner’s bracket, but lost out to Litchfield’s timely hitting and the Trojans’ own miscues. Watertown won a thriller over Bristol in the nightcap, storming back from a four-run deficit in the bottom of the ninth to win by a run in the 10th.
Wednesday, the tables turned. Tri-Town, out-hit 8-4, jumped on opportunities early, then held on for a 6-4 win. “It was going to be a hitter’s game,” said Tri-Town catcher Landon Gardella, citing the two innings of work complete-game winner Connor Murray did the previous night and Watertown’s lack of aces thanks to extended use and injury. “It’s typical Tri-Town,” laughed Trojan player/coach Ryan McDonald after Murray’s 11 straight innings. “We get on our pitchers and we ride them.” The Blaze tried a different tack with complete-game pitcher Justin Froese.
“We haven’t used him that much, but he came through beautifully for us (8 innings, 4 earned runs, 4 hits, 2 strikeouts, 4 walks),” said Watertown player/coach Ben Germain. “It’s a good thing, because he’s all we had.” One huge inning at the end of Tuesday’s game was the key to Watertown’s amazing comeback. One big Tri-Town inning at the beginning of Wednesday’s outing was the key to Watertown’s demise.
Casey McDonald began the bottom of the first with a walk. Then Murray (2-for-3), Dan McCarty, and Steve Price loaded the bases, one out, on a hit, fielder’s choice and another walk. A grounder to first by Kyle Osolin drove in one run. One night before, against the Cowboys, Tri-Town might have settled for a single run. Wednesday, with two outs, Gardella sent a screaming double down the third base lane for two more first-inning runs, 3-0.
Wednesday, Watertown settled for a single run in the top of the second in a promising situation. Johnny LoVetere (2 runs scored) hit a one-out single up the middle; Jay Spear drove him in with a double, made it to third and died there. “(Murray) has a heavy fast ball,” said Tri-Town catcher Gardella. “He’s our most efficient pitcher. Neither pitcher mowed people down, but neither had to throw many pitches for his outs. Murray (9 innings, 1 earned run, 8 hits, 4 strikeouts, 0 walks) delivered 15 ground balls to his fielders.
Better yet, instead of helping the other side, Tri-Town’s defense came up with most of the plays they needed, while Watertown provided some early, devastating charity. “When they made an error, we scored,” said Gardella. Almost. Down 3-1, the Blaze had two throwing errors and a dropped ball in the bottom of the second inning. Tri-Town scored twice, the second time with a final push from a sacrifice fly from Murray. “It wasn’t our night in the field,” said Watertown’s Germain.
Watertown did the same thing in the top of the fourth. LoVetere reached on a throwing error, then scored on a ground-out and single by Vic DeSimone, 5-2. The Trojans were right back with another run in the bottom of the inning. Jon Smart (2 runs scored) led off with a double, reached third on a wild pitch and scored on a double play. The Blaze, with history on their side from the night before, gave serious thought to another comeback, this time in the eighth inning.
Matt Consiglio reached on a lead-off blast past third base. Chris Comeau (2-for-4) and Mike Mastrocola (RBI) followed with singles.
“I was getting tired,” Tri-Town’s Murray grinned following a conference on the mound. Nevertheless, a strikeout by Murray sat one Watertown player down. A fielder’s choice got another. A second run scored, 6-2, on a passed ball, but Murray got the final out of the inning on another strikeout. In the ninth, Murray was still churning. The Blaze went down in order, with one more K for the final out. Sometimes, quality baseball shows up in sheer determination.
The Trojans will meet Wolcott’s Scrappers Saturday afternoon for the right to meet Litchfield in the best-of-three championship series beginning at Fuessenich Park on Sunday.
Wolcott Scrappers 2, Naugatuck Dogs 0

Wolcott will battle Tri-Town for a berth in the Tri-State League championship series Saturday after a win over Wolcott at the BAW Complex in Wolcott. Sam Iverson fired a complete game. He gave up just two hits and struck out 10. Iverson also hit a batter.
On offense, the Scrappers got single runs in the fifth and eighth innings. In the fifth, Eric Soucy led off with a double. After two ground outs, Soucy scored when Ryan Andrade’s slow chopper to shortstop resulted in an error. In the eighth with Andrade on first and Ryan Soucy on third, Wolcott pulled off a double steal, scoring Soucy.
Lance Stevens threw all eight innings in the loss for the Dogs. He gave up two runs on six hits and struck out eight while walking three.