Litchfield Cowboys 3 Tri-Town Trojans 2
The Litchfield Cowboys stayed unbeaten in the Tri-State League with a hard-fought 3-2 win over the crosstown rival Tri-Town Trojans Tuesday evening at Litchfield High School. Litchfield improves to 10-0 with the win. Tri-Town is 6-3. The game between two of the league’s best teams lived up to its billing. Cowboy starting pitcher Kevin Murray worked his way through six innings, then handed the ball over to hard-throwing left-hander Chris Blazek. Blazek slammed the door on the Trojans, striking out the side in the seventh.
Tri-Town starting pitcher Andrew Osolin was solid in his own right, and the crafty right-hander kept his team in the game until the offense finally came through and cut into the Litchfield lead. Two runs in the bottom of the fifth from the Trojans made the score 3-2 Cowboys, but Murray fired a 1-2-3 sixth, then handed the ball off to Blazek to finish the game.
“It’s been a team effort all season,” Murray said. “It’s how we’ve been able to putting this win streak together.” Murray had been touched up by the Trojans for two runs on four hits in the fifth, but he responded by getting a pop out, fly out and ground out in the sixth. “[Murray] going out and getting the 1-2-3. That sealed the deal,” Blazek said. “I just had to rely on my defense,” Murray said.
Blazek spent the first five innings of the game playing right field. In the top of the sixth, Blazek went to the bullpen and threw after becoming the second out of the inning on the bases. After a quick third out, Blazek ran out to right field and made long tosses before playing the field in the bottom of the sixth. In the bottom of the seventh, he was on the mound. “I’m still getting used to the whole play the field, then pitch thing,” Blazek said with a laugh. Blazek was the in the minor league system of the Houston Astros in 2010, where he was exclusively a pitcher.
The pitching was solid for Litchfield Tuesday, but timely hitting was also key. In the top of the third, Leland McKenna dropped a single the other way down the right field line to lead off. After Dylan Stiles was robbed on a great diving catch by third baseman Steve Price, Ben Murphy singled the other way to right field. On a throw to third from right field, the ball got away from Price, allowing McKenna to score the game’s first run. Murphy advanced to third on the error.
When Ed Peguinot singled to left, the score was 2-0 Litchfield.
The lead increased to 3-0 in the fourth when first baseman Chris Beach blasted a long double to left center field. Blazek, who was on first on a leadoff walk, took off on the pitch and scored on Beach’s hit. Osolin got an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play to escape further damage. Tri-Town put runners on in each of the first four innings, but couldn’t make a dent. The first inning ended on a caught stealing when catcher Karl Quist threw out Casey McDonald trying to steal third base. In the second, shortstop Adam Claire made a running catch behind second base, wheeled around, and doubled up Jon Smart for another inning-ending double play. In the third, McDonald (single) and Danny McCarty (walk) reached with two outs, but Murray struck out Price looking to end the threat.
Kyle Osolin led off the bottom of the fourth with a single, then reached second with two outs when Joe Bunnell was hit by a pitch. Bunnell, however, got picked off first by Quist on a snap throw. On the play, Beach caught the low throw and dove back toward first to get Bunnell before he touched the bag. “I wasn’t really expecting the throw, but he had him dead to rights,” Beach said. “[Quist] gets one or two outs a game like that,” Blazek said.
In the bottom of the fifth, Tri-Town finally got to Murray. Connor Murray led off with a single. Nick Lahoud replaced Connor Murray at first after he hit into a force out. The next batter, McDonald, grounded back to Murray. Murray fired to Claire for an out, but Claire’s throw to first was wide, allowing McDonald to both reach safely, and take second base. McCarty took advantage of the extra opportunity and singled to right to drive home McDonald and cut the deficit to 3-1. A booming double to left center by Price brought Tri-Town even closer at 3-2. Kyle Osolin singled to right, but Trojans manager Ryan McDonald had to hold Price at third when Blazek fired a one hop strike to the plate from right field. Smart grounded into a force a short to end the inning.
From there, Murray and Blazek combined to finally shut the door on a 10-0 start. “We picked up a couple young kids,” Beach said, referring to the additions of Claire and Collin Dickinson to the roster. “And obviously, Blazek’s nice to have in a close game to close the door.” Litchfield tries to keep its great start going Thursday against Torrington (6-4) under the lights at Fuessenich Park. Game time is 7 p.m.
Brass City Brew 12 Amenia Monarchs 2
Paul Novakowski drove in the first and last of the Brass City Brew’s runs on a solo pair of homeruns as the Brew defeated the Amenia Monarchs 12-2 in a 8:15pm night game at Waterville Park Tuesday. Novakowski 4-4, 4 runs, 2 RBI made the game 1-0 with a drive into the left field trees in the bottom of the second. Sam Sirica drove in 2 runs on a single, for the eventual game winning runs, in the bottom of the fourth and a 3-0 lead. Amenia got on the board in the top of the fifth with a RBI fielder’s choice by Chris Barros that scored Jim Robertson to make it 3-1 Brew. The bottom of the fifth ended any previous battle between the two teams, as Brass City went on a tear scoring 8 runs. Justin McCulloch got the inning started with an RBI single. After 3 runs scored on an error and wild pitch, Mike Veronneau added a 2 run single. One more run scored on an error before Steve Carosella closed out the inning with an RBI double. Paul Novakowski would end the Brew scoring as he drove the ball into the right center field trees in the bottom of the sixth for the second of his solo homeruns and a 12-2 score. Eric Gormley earned the win going 6 innings allowing 3 hits, 2 runs, 2 earned. Jim Robertson of Amenia tacked on a run for the Monarchs in the top of the sixth on a RBI single.
Tuesday June 28
Litchfield Cowboys 3 Tri-Town Trojans 2