End of the line for Titans after playoff loss to Blues
The Torrington Titans had their chances and even had a brief early lead but couldn’t come up with the timely hits they needed in a 3-1 loss to the Bristol Blues in the first round of the FCBL playoffs on Wednesday night at Muzzy Field.
The second seeded Blues advance to the FCBL semifinals and will host the Nashua Silver Knights on Thursday night. The Martha’s Vineyard Sharks and Worcester Bravehearts will meet in the other semifinal with the winners moving on to the best-of-three championship series.
The Titans entered the playoffs as the seventh seed and got the start they were looking for with a run in the top of the first inning. Nick Lamberti worked a one-out walk, advanced to third on a single by Dean Lockery and scored on a sacrifice fly by Zach Wood.
That would be Torrington’s only run of the game as Bristol starter George Lund settled in and delivered seven strong innings. Lund yielded just the one run and two hits with four strikeouts and three walks. He gave way to Dom LoBrutto who worked the eighth and Robert Paccione who got out of a jam in the ninth for the save.
Torrington starter Frank Valentino was solid but was undone by the lack of offense from the Titans and took the loss. Valentino allowed to runs and five hits on 5 1/3 innings.
“We pitched well, Frank did a good job, all our guys did.” Titans manager Kyle Decker said. “We had some chances, we just didn’t breakthrough.”
Former Housatonic Regional star and current UConn Husky standout Willy Yahn doubled, walked and scored a run for Bristol, which got three hits and an RBI from Gerrad Rohan and two hits a run scored and an RBI from Davis Strong.
Bristol tied the game at 1-1 in the third. Strong had a one-out double and Yahn moved him to third with a ground out to second. Rohan plated Strong with a single to tie the game.
The Blues went ahead for good with a run in the sixth as Yahn doubled on the first pitch of the inning and came home two batters later on a sacrifice fly by Ryan Costello. Bristol added an insurance run in the seventh on an RBI single by strong.
The Titans didn’t go quietly and had chances to rally in both the eighth and ninth innings. Torrington had two runners on and no outs in the eighth but a pair of unsuccessful bunt attempts and a runner picked off second held squash any rally.
In the ninth Torrington got a one-out single by Wood and Mike Conti drew a walk to bring the go-ahead run to the plate but Dan Schock struck out and the titans were down to their last out.
Cody Doyle was hit by a pitch to load the bases for Mac Crispino, who hit into a fielders choice to end the game.
“This team had a lot of fight in them, a lot of blue-collar work ethic and you saw that tonight,” Decker said. “It would have been easy to give up but they fought to the end. They were like that all season. They always did everything I asked of them.”