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No. 33 Tolland upsets No. 1 Torrington by a 7-4 score. Story by Gary Robinson.

POSTED June 01, 2011
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney

TORRINGTON- On Tuesday, the Tolland Eagles faced off against the Torrington Red Raiders in a first round matchup of the CIAC Class L State Tournament.

The Eagles, who defeated New Fairfield in a play-in game on Saturday, stunned the Red Raiders by coming out on top of a 7-4 contest.

Tolland was aggressive from the get-go. Lead-off hitter Chris Byam started the game by lining a single through the right side of the infield. He advanced to second and would later score the first run of the game--a wild pitch.

The Red Raider’s bats were quiet to start. Tolland’s starting pitcher, Alex Clifford, had a no-hitter going through three innings until Torrington’s Eric Rinaldi roped a single. Welinton Sosa put the Red Raiders on the board as he advanced from second to home on a ground ball hit by Nate Katz.

In the fifth inning, Torrington took their first lead of the game. Garret Perusse started the inning off with a double to right field. He was knocked home on a double by pinch hitter Dustyn Marfyak. The Red Raiders were in control as they had a 2-1 lead heading into sixth.

Despite being down, the Eagles refused to yield. Byam began the sixth by getting on base due to a throwing error. The next three batters rose to the occasion by hitting three consecutive singles. With two outs and the bases loaded, Ethan Sikoski roped a three-run single that put the Eagles ahead 5-2.

“They were slapping at it and finding holes,” said Torrington’s starter Pat Austin. “They would hit me when I left my fastball up in the zone.”

With a potential upset looking them dead in the eyes, the Red Raiders needed to respond quickly. Sosa lead the charge as he beat out an infield hit and advanced to second on an erratic throw. Joe Mateo advanced Sosa to third on a fielder’s choice. Perusse stepped to the dish with two outs and runners on first and third in the bottom of the sixth. After running the count to one and two, he popped a high fly ball to right field that ended the sixth inning rally.

“I was on him all game,” said Perusse. “I just dipped my shoulder a little too much.”

The Eagles tacked on two more runs in the seventh inning, pushing the Red Raiders hopes of coming back further and further away.

Facing a five-run deficit Austin started off the inning with a single. Teammate Austin Patenaude knocked home a run with a double. Shortstop Bryan Failla drove in Patenaude with a single. On the next play, Failla attempted advance from first-to-third on Rinaldi’s single to right, but was gunned out by Tolland’s right fielder Jamison Boucher. The Eagles ended the Raiders’ rally by getting Sosa to ground back to the pitcher for the final out.

“We caught a hot team,” said Torrington coach Jerry Carbone. “We haven’t been swinging the bats like we have been.”

Torrington closes the season with a 16-5 record, a disappointing finish for a team with nine seniors. Tolland will face-off against Farmington Wednesday at 3:30 pm in Farmington.





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