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Black Sox rally to force a championship game for the Tri-State title

POSTED August 23, 2018
BY Rick Wilson
Twitter: @scribewilson

                TORRINGTON -  This one was over and done.  A flawless execution of the first order. Simple fact of the matter was that the Tri-Town Trojans were having their way with the Terryville Black Sox in the Tri-State World Series.

                Trojan pitchers Charlie Benson (five-hit shutout Game 1)  and Mile Scribner had silenced the Terryville bats to the tune of 14 straight scoreless innings.  The Black Sox energy level was on tilt, the only noticeable pulse evident when coach Dave Alacon had a bit of a coronary after a called third strike against one of his players.

                Throw in the disdain Tri-Town had shown for former minor leaguer Kody Kerski by scoring three runs and banging out five hits in the first inning against the hard-throwing hurler and well, just give them the trophy Mr. Commish (Ed Gadomski).

                Ahh, Gadomski is smarter than the rest of us, though. Wait until the game is over.  The foregone conclusion became only a delusion as Terryville awoke from its slumber to score 10 runs in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings to rally for a 10-7 victory Wednesday night and take the season to one last winner-take-all game.

                Tri-Town won the opener, 3-0, and the two teams will settle it all tonight at Fuessenich Park at 7 p.m. 

                “We just finally broke through,” said Alacon. “You know you come in here with Kody thinking you are going to win and they come out and hit us hard, getting three runs. But we started hitting and hitting is contagious.”

                The Black Sox finally got a runner to home plate on wild pitch in the sixth inning to break its scoring drought but still trailed, 3-1. And Tri-Town came right back in the bottom of the frame to add three more to its total on the strength of a solo home run from Landon Gardella, an unearned run and Tom Troy’s RBI single for a 6-1 lead.

                But Terryville, the regular season champion, was finally out of its slumber. Ian Schmidt started things off in the seventh with a single. Two outs later, Scribner walked Bill Armstrong and Tony Patane drove in a run with a single.

                That was the end of Scribner’s day and Dan Livingstone came on in relief. He was not treated very nicely. Chris Callahan (4-for-5, 2 RBI) greeted him with a run-scoring single to cut the deficit to 6-3.

                Kerski followed with another RBI single and Kyle Skidmore tied the game with a two-run single, 6-6.

                Undeterred, Tri-Town regained the lead, 7-6, in the bottom of the seventh inning when Shane Bierfeldt (three hits) singled, stole second and scored on Casey McDonald’s single.

                The Black Sox fully awake now kept it up in the eighth inning. Ian Schmidt double and Kyle Tehan walked while Bill Armstrong was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Patane and Callahan offered up back-to-back RBI singles to put Terryville ahead, 8-7 for the first time all night.

                Two more runs scored on a ground out and Skidmore’s double for a 10-7 lead.

                “We were swinging the bats real well against Litchfield (semifinals) and it took us 15 innings to score here,” said Callahan. “We just kept telling ourselves as quick as it took us to go cold we could get hot. We just stuck with it and found some holes.  It took a while but we clicked.”

                The Black Sox could also not ignore a gritty effort from Kerski. He struggled at times and Tri-Town banged out 11 hits but he struck out 13 hitters and went the distance all the while keeping Terryville within striking distance.

                What the loss took out of Tri-Town remains to be seen. But there was no doubt that watching a big lead disappear with three innings to go was discouraging.

                “We came out hot and then were flat for six innings,” said coach Dan McCarty. “Terryville finally put some hits together and they took extra bases on us not covering some bags. Not our best night. But we always seem to play three games in the finals. We’re used to it. I don’t see this as hurting us mentally.”

                On the other side, the Black Sox were feeling justifiably good.

                “I think this is huge for us,” said Alacon. “In 10 years I don’t think we have ever beat Miles (Scribner) and I think we are like 3-10 against them.”  

                The only one that matters now is the next one which is also the last one for the season.

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