By MICHAEL LETENDRE
BRISTOL – The Bristol Little League city series is nearly upon us and once again, both the baseball and softball teams are primed and ready to make a run at the championship.
In baseball, Edgewood, Forestville and McCabe- Waters will all have teams represented in the annual tournament with the best club claiming the championship trophy.
In the McCabe-Waters Major League division, the Red Sox are back on top, winning the McCabe-Waters Little League 2012 Major League Championship in a tightly contested best of three playoff series against the pesky Pirates.
It was the first championship for the Red Sox since 2004 but both the Sox and Pirates squads had a chance to claim victory over the series.
The series featured two extra-inning games and all three contests were won in the later stages of the game.
In the first contest, the Pirates jumped out to an early 6-1 push and were in control early.
But the Red Sox battled back to go in front 7-6 in the top of the fifth.
However, the Pirates rallied to force extra innings against the Sox.
Steven Warkoski of the Red Sox drilled a two-run home run in the top of the seventh and the club added one more run on an RBI tally by Nate Sandstrom to take control of the game.
Austin Brown then drove in Jack Bator for the Pirates in the bottom of the stanza before the Sox finally pulled out the victory by a 10-8.
Anthony Lozier and Warkoski each collected triples for the Red Sox while Kenny Knox and Lozier smashed out doubles.
Alex Balfour tripled for the Pirates while Tommy Houle added a double in the high scoring showdown.
The second contest proved to be no less exciting and was another back and forth outing.
The Pirates scored four in the top of the fifth to break a 4-4 tie and held on for the win to 8-5 to force a third and deciding game.
Jagger Duquette’s two-run homerun in the bottom of the second sparked a four-run second for the Red Sox but Tommy Houle drilled consecutive round trippers in the third and the fifth frames to pull the Pirates even at 4-4.
Pitcher Mason Nozolillo held the Red Sox without a hit over the final four innings of play. Austin Brown and Jordan Champagne had RBI hits as the Pirates zapped out four runs in the top of the seventh to take a commanding edge in the showdown.
Kenny Knox had an inside-the-park homer in the bottom of the stanza for the Red Sox but the squad still dropped a three run decision.
After a nearly three week delay due to the onset of All-Star play, both the Pirates and Red Sox returned to play the final game of the McCabe Waters championship series.
And, like the other two games, the contest was in the balance into the late stages.
The teams were tied at 7-7 going into the sixth inning and the Red Sox sprung to life.
The difference maker was a two-run homer from Anthony Lozier in the top of the sixth – his second home run of the day – which broke the deadlock and lifted the Red Sox to the championship.
The Red Sox took a big, early lead but the Pirates scored five in the fifth to tie the game.
Mason Nozolillo’s bases-loaded triple was the biggest smash of the game for the Pirates to keep things close.
Joseph Acampora, Jagger Duquette, Noah Martineau, and Brandon Yashenko all had doubles for the Red Sox while Kenny Knox and Lozier combined on the mound for the win striking out a total of 11 batters.
The McCabe Waters Red Sox will get a chance to scoop up the city series championship against two worthy competitors.
Forestville Little League Major League champion Yankees will be in the championship mix while the Edgewood Pirates have its collective sights on the trophy as well.
By MICHAEL LETENDRE