WATERBURY –The Tri-Town Trojans won their third straight Tri-State League baseball title Sunday, closing out Bethlehem, 9-0, at Municipal Stadium in the deciding game of a three-game series. A darn impressive day for sure. The championship three-peat a trilogy of titles adding gusto to the day’s glory.
The story however hardly starts or ends with the last three seasons. When it comes to Tri-Town it is only partially about how good the team has been, sharing time with the recognition of how long they have been good.
The Trojans basked in the glow of another title Sunday. But the day wasn’t just about the day or even the last couple of championship seasons. It demanded that you appreciate that this has been going on a long time.
These guys are no one-hit wonders. They are not new to nor awed by championship dance and its vibe. They are not on a nice little run. This title was just a continuation of living on the Tri-State mountaintop. The Trojans don’t always win there but they are almost assured to be there.
Ten championship finals in 13 years. Five titles. Since 2010, only in 2012, 2016 and 2019 were the Trojans not around for the end and in those years they lost in the semifinals. Forgive people in those seasons if they wondered if they were at the wrong field without Tri-Town not in one of the dugouts.
Only Bethlehem who appeared in 12 titles in 15 seasons (1996-2010), winning six, is even in the same solar system as Tri-Town for domination over an extended period of time in the modern world.
The end as it always does will come sometime. Nobody, not the Celtics, Yankees, Patriots stays on top forever. There will be challengers, there always is. Bethlehem, Tri-Town’s victim the last two seasons, is knocking on the door, but there is no end in sight here. Check it out on you GPS, you will come up empty.
The Trojans have found a wonderful mix of youth and experience over an extended period of time that both show up to the field and show up on the field. Not easy to pull off for any adult recreation team that has college players, family men and plain old job commitments. They have found combinations that work.
Coach Dan McCarty has been with the team since 2005 and is 36 while Casey McDonald came a year later. They are not guys standing in the back of the dugout. They love coming and still perform. McCarty ended up getting the game winning hit a year ago in the first title win over Bethlehem. McDonald, also 35, anchored left field in this season’s series.
“We’re both starters,” McCarty said when talking about the team’s veteran experience.
“This all started with the older guys, they gave us the winning mentality,” said McDonald. “The younger guys follow suit. A lot of us grew up together, it’s not just some summer baseball for us. Danny and I were the best man at each other’s wedding. “
But there is more. Rubber-armed pitcher Miles Scribner came aboard in 2010 and shut the Plowboys down in Game 1 is 35. Former Torrington High star Mike Fabiaschi, a young colt at 35 joined in 2008. He spent four seasons in the Oakland A’s chain and was 8-for-12 in this series and 12-for-18 in the last two championship series. Not to mention still plays shortstop with the smoothness of a granite counter top. Former major league pitcher Evan Scribner is 38 and went 5-for-12 in this series.
Pitcher Bobby Chatfield is 34 and still humming along. This is the core of the Trojans success.
Throw in the `youngsters’ like first baseman Coleby Bunnell and former Orioles farmhand Willy Yahn along with the Troy boys, Tom and Matt, Austin Patenaude, Jon McNelis and Joe Grantmeyer and you have a championship blend of old and new.
And how about Connor Gannon who was flawless in the final game, allowing Bethlehem just three hits and three baserunners through eight innings. Another one of those essential contributing pieces.
“It’s just a mixture of veterans and we bring in young guys,” McCarty says with pride. “Today that was obvious. It’s Trojan baseball. I have to turn a lot of kids away who want to play for us because they don’t fit our mold. “
It’s a championship mold and you don’t break the mold. The Trojans have a chance to tie Torrington’s record of four straight Tri-State League titles next season. Nobody is going anywhere. Whatever happens the title will go through Tri-Town.
It has for the better part of 15 years. Nothing is a sure thing and the Trojans will be the first to tell you that. Will they be there? Will they win there? Who knows.
What is known is the mold is one of proven success and has been for a very long time. This title was a great day, one of the many in a long run of great days.