Bassler, Raiders fight hard but fall to St Paul, 5-4 on Wednesday.
TORRINGTON: For six innings on Wednesday, Torrington senior Brian Bassler was having his way with the defending Class S state baseball champions from St Paul.
His breaking ball and curve had the Falcons off balance all afternoon, leading to easy pop ups or balls hit to the right side.
Bassler is not going to overpower you, he’s going to make you believe that a fat juicy pitch is coming when actually something that is going to fall off the table just before the plate is arriving.
The Falcons did eventually break through with a four-run top of the seventh to beat the Raiders in a 5-4 final but once again, Bassler had shown the kind of guts we have gotten used to from this fighter.
Torrington had gotten their starter a three run lead the first time they came to the plate, thanks to a booming, three-run double by Jake Nilsson that cleared the bases with two outs.
Bassler meanwhile, was getting through the heart of the St Paul lineup with the help of solid defense and a few timely strikeouts, four over the first five innings.
Against a team that can score runs in bunches, the lefty upperclassmen had allowed just an infield hit in the third inning over the first four frames.
Torrington would tack on another run in their half of the fourth on a sacrifice fly off the bat of CJ Root which scored Ryan Ahlman who had singled with one out and went to third on a single by Aaron Bainer that got by the Falcons left fielder.
Bainer, a name coming up game after game, had another stellar day at the plate from the leadoff spot, going 2-4 with a double in the first inning.
He would also make a diving catch in the seventh inning with a runner on first and no outs.
In the seventh, Bassler ran into some back luck when he got the leadoff hitter to hit a soft fly ball towards right, but it fell into no-mans land for a single.
After the Bainer catch accounted for the first out, the Falcons saw the next five batters reach safely via three hits a walk and a Torrington error to go up 5-4 which was the final.
Still, let’s reflect. Five months after being cleared to start training for the spring baseball season after beating Burkitt’s Leukemia, Bassler has taken the hill against two of the four state champions from last year.
His first start was against Holy Cross in a game he allowed just three runs in three plus inning before shutting down the Falcons for one run over the first six innings.
Bassler will get that win at some point this year but the one on the diamond will never match the one he won off the field.
The Raiders travel to take on rival Naugatuck today under the lights against the Greyhounds at 6:30.