Bristol Greeners 9 Litchfield Cowboys 0
The Litchfield Cowboys entered Wednesday evening’s Tri-State League game against the Bristol Greeners at Muzzy Field knowing that a win would clinch the regular season championship. Bristol needed a win to keep its playoff hopes alive. A six-run outburst in the fifth inning, plus solid pitching from complete game winner Justin Tacinelli, led the Greeners to an 9-0 win. Bristol improved to 8-8 with another game scheduled for later in the night against the Watertown Blaze. Litchfield (14-3) will have to wait until Sunday for another shot to clinch the regular season title. The Cowboys host the Brass City Brew at Litchfield High School at 11 a.m.
“They got a lot of bleeders,” Litchfield coach/designated hitter Dylan Stiles said. “And they just put the bat on the ball. They were putting the bat on the ball and there was nothing we could do.” “We caught some breaks, finally,” Bristol manager/catcher Shawn Mirmina said. In the six-run fifth, the Greeners nearly ran themselves out of a big inning. With Bristol leading 2-0, Mirmina led off with a single and was followed by a double by Jimmy Hahn that skipped off of third baseman Mike Odenwaelder’s glove into foul territory. Litchfield brought the infield in, and Bobby Hay grounded out to shortstop. Mirmina broke for the plate, but Cowboy first baseman Chris Beach threw home to catcher Karl Quist in time for a double play.
Litchfield appeared to be out of the inning, but then the wheels came off. A Dave Casanova single to center brought home Hahn for a 3-0 advantage. With Nick Palmisano at the plate, Casanova broke for second. The right-hand hitting Palmisano smacked a single right in the spot where second baseman Ben Murphy was prior to Casanova taking off. The perfectly executed hit and run put runners on first and third. A bloop single to right by Dan Rosa made it 4-0. After a walk to cleanup batter Steve Julius, Matt Godbout singled to center on a tough pitch for a 5-0 lead. Geoff Pierce, who already had an RBI single in the contest, cleared the bases with a booming double to right center to make it 8-0. When the throw from the cutoff man to home plate sailed high, Pierce took third. Pierce was stranded to end the inning, but the Greeners led 8-0.
Tacinelli had done a pretty good job of making a 2-0 lead look like it was enough over the first five innings. Now staked to an 8-0 advantage, Tacinelli got the Cowboys in order in the final two innings to seal the win. The right-hander struck out the last four he faced. “We knew that [if] we score some runs with Justin on the mound, we’ll be OK,” Mirmina said. Bristol tacked on one more run in the sixth. Mirmina led off with a single and later scored from third on a throwing error. Stiles figuratively tipped his cap to Tacinelli. “Their pitcher threw well tonight,” Stiles said. “He threw strikes, and he got us out.”
Litchfield’s lone rally came in the fourth. Karl Quist led off with a long double to the right center field wall. Quist later took third on a wild pitch and Odenwaelder walked, putting runners on first and third with two outs. Tacinelli got out of the jam with a fly ball to Casanova in center field. Litchfield starting pitcher Quinn McKenna threw two scoreless innings in his first outing with the Cowboys. Reliever Kyle Robinson stranded a leadoff single in the third, but Bristol got the bats going in the fourth.
Casanova led off with a single, then stole second. Palmisano followed with a single to center, making it first and third with no outs. Murphy caught a sinking liner at second for the first out of the inning, but Casanova scored on a passed ball later in the inning to make it 1-0. With two outs, Pierce drove home Palmisano with a single, 2-0. In the fifth, the Greeners pounded out seven hits against Robinson and Murphy to blow the game open. “A lot of close-game losses [during the season],” Mirmina said. “Caught some bad breaks. Good time to come around.” On Litchfield’s side of the field, Stiles said the Cowboys will come out ready to play Sunday against Brass City.
Bristol Greeners 4 Watertown Blaze 0
Bristol threw out the tying run at the plate from center field with two outs in the bottom of the last inning to preserve the win. Earlier in the inning, the Greeners threw out a previous runner attempting to score from 3rd base on a ground ball to shortstop.
Wednesday July 20
Bristol Greeners 9 Litchfield Cowboys 0