Titans walk-off on wild pitch, beat Rox, 8-7 in 11.
TORRINGTON: Conventional wisdom would have dictated walking the leagues RBI leaders with a base open.
When the Brockton Rox decided to pitch to Torrington Titans cleanup hitter, Michael Odenwaelder (40 RBI’s) with runners on second and third with just one out in the bottom of the eleventh, the Amherst junior was as surprised as anyone in the stands.
“I thought they would just throw me ball they thought I would chase.” Odenwaelder said. “When I saw the first one right down the middle I was really surprised.”
The point of pitching to the former Wamogo star proved mute when a wild pitch scored Chris Scura from third, resulting in a come from behind, 8-7 win in 11 innings by a team that on this night, simply refused to give in.
Their four run bottom of the eleventh came with heroics to spare, including a pinch hit double by Kyle Decker that began the comeback after the Rox had plated three runs in the top of the frame, two on a long home run by Drew Lugbauer.
Chris Scura plated the second run with a single past short before Langston Calhoun launched a long double to left to tie things at seven and set up the sequence.
“I’ve said it all year.” Titan’s manager Dan McNamara said. “This team just doesn’t quit. They find a way.”
Sunday nights way was important as the 2014 Futures Collegiate Baseball League’s regular season makes a turn for home.
Just 17 games remain for Torrington. They find themselves in the best race in the two-division league with just two games separating four teams.
At 21-18, the Titans are tied with North Shore, a game and a half behind Pittsfield (22-16) and two full back of Worcester (23-16).
If they are to be one of the six teams to make the playoffs this summer, the road is where they are going to have to get it done from.
11 road games remain with just six left at the friendly confines of Fuessenich Park where Torrington has posted a 14-6 mark while the road has been less kind at 7-12.
On Sunday night, Jose Rondon made his second start of the year since joining the team last Saturday against these same Rox.
In his first outing, Rondon went five and a third, allowing no runs on just 2 hits.
The second time around the Rox got to the Limestone College junior for two runs in the top of the second the first on a long home run by Cale Giddings who came into the game batting under .190.
Brockton’s bottom four did most of the damage on Sunday night, going 8 for 16 with five runs scored, five driven in and a pair of long balls.
Rondon settled down after the shaky second and should have gotten out of the fifth unscathed but a two-run error on a dropped fly ball by left fielder Joe Paparelli gave the Rox a 4-3 lead at the time.
Torrington had rallied with three in their half of the fourth on RBI’s by R.J. Going and Paparelli to go up 3-2.
The score would remain a one run contest at 4-3 until the bottom of the eighth when Odenwaelder scorched a double into the left field corner and scored from third on an RBI single by Matt Batten.
Glenn Marrus recovered nicely from a rough outing his last time out to shut down the visitors for two innings until Sam Warren retired the side in order in his inning of work.
Justin Robarge came in to pitch the ninth worked around base runners in the ninth and tenth, a neatly turned double play started by Going at second ended the ninth inning threat.
Robarge would run into trouble in the eleventh when he gave up a leadoff infield single to Jacob Marotta and while trying to field a hard bunt by Zach Short, misplayed it into a fielder’s choice, putting runners on first and second with no outs.
Marotta was erased on a force out for the first out but Short stole both second and third before scoring on a perfectly executed squeeze bunt by Bryce Myers for the 5-4 lead.
Lugbauer would go deep to right for the 7-4 lead and it looked as if the home team might have run out of bite on “Bark in the Park” night when fans could bring their four legged friends to Fuessenich Park.
Robarge worked out of trouble after the long ball, setting his team up for their bottom the frame heroics.
The last of the eleventh started innocently enough as Batten rolled to third but the throw to first was wild and Batten was on second and the home team in business.
After a day off on Monday, the Titans head to Martha’s Vineyard for a key game on Tuesday. The last time Torrington visited the fine Island, they were handed their worse loss of the season in a 22-1 seven inning game called because of fog.
With the games winding down and the standings continuing to clog up, each game takes on that more importance.
Torrington missed the playoff for the first time in FCBL history a year ago, can they rectify that situation in 2014?