Print this story

Seacoast gets first win of 2011 versus Titans, 1-0. Story by Gary Robinson.

POSTED July 29, 2011
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney

TORRINGTON- It had been a long time coming, but you got a sense it was bound to happen at some point.

The Seacoast Mavericks earn their first victory of the year against the Torrington Titans in a 1-0 pitching duel.

Coming into Thursday’s game, Seacoast had not won a single game versus the Titans. Their 0-12 record against Torrington did not do the Mavericks justice as the majority of the games the two teams have had against one another have been close contests.

“Our guys come to play every game,” said Seacoast’s head coach Chris Anderson. “We’ve had a lot of close games versus these guys.”

With a win the Titans could have kept their undefeated record against the Mavericks and regained sole position of first place in the FCBL because earlier Thursday night, the Martha‘s Sharks had beaten Nashua by a 7-6 score.

On the hill for Torrington was their hottest pitcher, Gavin McCullough, who has had nothing but success against the Mavericks. McCullough leads all FCBL pitchers with six wins and an ERA of 1.24 over 50.2 innings of work.

Seacoast’s Donald Hissa would be the man standing in the way of McCullough’s league leading seventh win of the year.

Hissa has had some bad luck on the season as he has posted a 0-5 record with a decent ERA of 2.82. Not to mention he leads the FCBL in strikeouts with 60 in only 44.2 innings.

It was simple to say that this game was not going to be a cake walk for the Titans.

Both starting pitchers looked untouchable throughout the game. Hissa, who stands an intimidating 6’7”, had the Titan’s hitters looking dumbfounded as he recorded 12 strikeouts in just six innings of score-less work.

“It’s been a long season. I was 0-5 coming into today,” said Hissa. “Still every game you come out and you try and throw a perfect game.”

While Hissa put forth a dominating performance, but McCullough was no slouch himself. He too kept a zero on the board for the six innings he pitched.

Once the starting pitchers were taken out, the action in the game started to pick up.

Torrington’s relief pitcher Spencer Kane entered the game in the seventh inning and could not seem to find his groove.

After a ground ball out to Torrington’s second baseman Josh Band, Seacoast’s Eric LaBatte reached base with a single. Kane struck out the next hitter.

A broken bat single by lead-off hitter Jerico Weitzel moved LaBatte over to third. Kane walked the following hitter, loading the bases for Casey Cotter.

With two outs Cotter slapped, what looked like a sure hit ball down the left field line. Torrington’s third baseman Kyle Murphy dove to his right and snagged the ball with an outstanding Sports Center Highlight moment, and just had enough time to get up and touch third for the force out to end the inning.

The Titans had escaped without giving up a run; however their luck would eventually run out.

In the ninth, Seacoast’s Keegan Pafford started the inning with a base hit. LaBatte attempted to sacrifice the potential go-ahead run over to second, but managed to pop up directly to Torrington’s relief pitcher Tyler Erikson. Pafford was nearly half-way to second before he realized the sacrifice had back fired. Erikson had the runner doubled up for sure, but his throw to first sailed over first baseman Matt O’Neill, allowing for Pafford to return to first safely.

This would come back to hurt Torrington as a wild pitch moved Pafford to second and a single by Toimil pushed the game-winning run across the plate.

“This was one of those games where it comes down to who makes the first mistake and we did,” said Torrington’s head coach Gregg Hunt.

With the season winding down and a playoff berth on the line the Titans need to quickly regroup and shake their current four-game losing streak. There only six games remaining on the Titan’s schedule, five of which are on the road. They take on Seacoast twice this weekend, and then finish off the season with four games against the hottest team in the FCBL the Martha’s Vineyard Sharks. Three of those games will be played on the Vineyard.



For more from Timothy W. Gaffney click here