Shepaug's seventh inning surge topples Thomaston
THOMASTON – Maybe we need a few more Sunday afternoons like this. Two of the best teams in the Berkshire League with two of the top pitchers in the area facing one another on a warm if mighty gray afternoon. Why not.
With rainouts and field conditions backing up schedules, Shepaug Valley and Thomaston squared off with a rare weekend matinee and proved that there was indeed something else going on in the world besides Tiger’s electrifying win at the Master’s.
And the show lived up to the billing if not quite artistically certainly in the drama department as Shepaug came up with four runs in the top of the seventh inning to topple the Bears, 7-3, as the mist began to descend.
“This was cool,” said Shepaug coach Scott Werkhoven. “It was nice to play well-enough to win against a good team. Thomaston is a good solid team that will be there all year.”
It took some doing but the Spartans walked away reaffirmed themselves the team to beat in the BL with a 6-0 record (6-1 overall) along with Northwestern Regional who also hasn’t lost a BL game.
“We’re just taking it one game at a time,” added Werkhoven not wanting to get caught up in that type of talk at this point in the season.
Thomaston offered up Drew Colavecchio on the mound while Shepaug countered with Dominic Perachi, a quality matchup in anybody’s league. Neither was at their best but both showed all-star grit. Colavecchio went one batter into the seventh inning and gave up four runs on six hits with five strikeouts and two walks. Perachi went 52/3 scattering six hits while striking out 10, walking five and hitting a batter.
Between the two there were only two clean innings, Colavecchio setting down the Spartans in order in the second and Perachi striking out the side in the third inning. However damaged was minimized and eventually the game ended up in the hands of relievers as the two hurlers hit the mandatory pitch count and had to come out.
While Shepaug’s Chance Dutcher only allowed one baserunner due to an error, the Spartans had better luck against Thomaston’s Jason Johnson. Owen Hibbard singled up the middle to start the seventh and was Colaveccho’s last batter.
Johnson then walked Dutcher and Ethan Hibbard was walked intentionally to load the bases. Joe Brunelli who had stuck out his first two times up, atoned nicely when roped a bases-clearing to the right center field gap for a 6-3 lead. Brunelli would eventually score on an error.
“I just stepped in, knew the bases were loaded and I had to put the ball in play,” said Brunelli who drove in four runs with a couple of a triples and a double in a 15-0 win over Wamogo Friday. “I adjusted after the first two strikeouts and wanted to hit it hard. He threw me a fastball on the outside corner and I put it in the gap.”
Werkhoven was more than ready to take the win and move on.
“Drew is one of the better pitchers we’ll see and we had some good at-bats against him,” said Werkhoven. “He battled hard and made some great pitches. And they had some good at-bats against Dom. Both teams made some mistakes and answered each other’s mistakes. It was a good high school game.”
Colavecchio was a pain to the Spartans in more than one way. He put the Bears ahead, 1-0, in the second inning with an RBI double and was 3-for-3 with an intentional walk on the day. In the sixth inning he blistered a shot off Perachi’s foot-ankle, that forced a brief stop in the game.
Shepaug plated two runs in the third inning when Ethan Hibbard fly ball dropped near the right field line for two runs. Cole Donaghey added an RBI single in the fourth for a 3-1 lead.
Thomaston (5-2) evened matters in the bottom of the fourth when Isaiah Johnson ‘s single to right scored a pair after three walks. The Bears managed just one hit the rest of the way.
“Shepaug is loaded with upper classmen with experience and has two of the best pitchers in the league (Perachi and Dutcher),” said Thomaston coach Craig Prasauckas. “This was like a state tournament game and a good barometer to see where we are at. I told the kids that people will see the final score but it was closer than that. We went toe-to-toe with them. Andrew kept us in the game. We need to tighten up a few things.”