By MICHAEL LETENDRE
BRISTOL – Facing elimination, the Forestville Yankees would not be denied in its City Series showdown with the powerful Edgewood Pirates.
And just when things looked its bleakest for Forestville, the squad willed its way to victory.
Down 5-4 going into the final inning of play, two consecutive errors doomed Edgewood as the Pirates scratched across two late runs and Forestville snared a 6-5 victory from Breen Field in Bristol on Sunday, August 26.
The win tied the series at 1-1 and the squads were forced to play a third and deciding game two days later to crown a City Series champion.
Edgewood led 3-0 out the gate after one frame of play and led by a single run going into the final stanza of play.
And the final play of the game proved costly.
Off a misplayed ball hit by the Yankees, Chris Cavanaugh, it was thrown away at home base, plating both Zach Bartolome and Bryce Beebe as Forestville won the game by a run and knotted the series up.
Because of the victory, the teams were forced into a winner-take-all one game challenge that took place on Tuesday, Aug. 28.
And the Yankees’ coach promised as much after losing the first game of the three games series 8-1 back on Friday, Aug. 24.
“I promised you a Tuesday game and we did it,” said Yankees coach Marcel Dionne, “Again, we came from behind to win (but) like I said the other day, we’ve been doing it all season. We had a couple good hits. Our pitchers came out to play tonight.”
When the Yankees needed a little hitting, the team produced a couple big hits as Richie Santana collected two while Jordan Cyr, Ellis Carmelich and Anthony Marrotti all had important tallies in the game.
“As far as the bats go, they were hitting,” said Marcel. “They came alive again.”
But in the fateful sixth inning of play, Forestville didn’t manufacture a hit as the Yankees simply put the ball into play and made Edgewood make some tough decisions in the field.
With Pirates closer James Dauphinee on the mound, Edgewood was in good hands.
But two costly gaffes turned the ultimate tide of the game.
Forestville’s Zach Bartolome drew a walk to start the frame while Cyr struck out as Edgewood was two putouts away from the championship.
But Beebe reached base via error and off a stolen base, Forestville had runners on second and third with one out.
Off a 1-2 count, Kavanaugh bounced a ball to Dauphinee on the mound as Bartolome was streaking home.
The play at the plate would had been close, but the ball was misplayed, bounced past the catcher to the backstop as Kavanaugh was safe with the game knotted at 6-6.
But Beebe – coming from second – rounded third and headed for home.
Beebe beat the relay throw to the plate and the Yankees came away with an impressive 6-5 come-from-behind victory.
“We got another good pitching performance,” said Pirates coach Jay Denote. “Our defense wasn’t solid tonight, that’s for sure. We gave them four runs…we had outs we should have gotten but you can’t do that in this championship game for the city series.”
Edgewood’s Mac Goulet pitched well, going 4.2 innings before yielding to the mandatory 85-pitch count.
Goulet gave up just five hits, struck out three and picked up a no-decision.
Dauphinee picked up a tough loss in 0.2 innings but struck out two.
“Mac was solid and James Dauphinee has been our closer, he’s been coming in and, realistically, he walked one kid and (then got) two little dribblers,” said Denote. “Those dribblers probably could have been outs but tonight, they weren’t.”
On the other side, Nate Dionne was very good for the Yankees but also picked up a no-decision, yielding just five hits.
“He’s been solid for us all year long,” said Dionne of starting pitcher Nate Dionne. “He’s got the most wins on the team. He normally doesn’t start off that shaky. He normally gives us five innings but tonight he was probably a little nervous…it is the city series.”
Most of Edgewood’s hitting occurred over the first stanza of play.
With one out in the first, Edgewood’s Gary Gagnier reached second base via error and scored off an RBI single by Goulet to make it a 1-0 affair.
From there, Sean Arasimowicz smashed an RBI double to the gap in right and later scored off an RBI triple by Jaylen Dias to make it a 3-0 contest.
The Pirates lead held into the second before Yankees made it a one-run game.
Off the power of a two-out rally, Bartolome sent a grounder to third base that was misplayed as Anthony Marrotti crossed the plate to make it a 3-1 affair.
Cyr followed through with an RBI single to right as Forestville trailed just 3-2 after two frames.
Each team netted runs in the third as an RBI fielder’s choice from Dauphinee and made it 4-2 but two miscues by Edgewood in the bottom of the stanza tied the score.
Santana singled and Dionne walked to put two on but off consecutive errors – as both runners advanced bases – the duo scored and a 4-4 tie was the result.
In the fourth, Forestville looked to have control of the tilt with two outs but a grounder that was hit to third base was misplayed – allowing Alex DeNote to score – as Edgewood crept back in charge at 5-4.
That would be the last time the Pirates scored as Anthony Marrotti came in relief for the Yankees and shut the door down on Edgewood.
“The second kid (Marrotti) we had on the mound was a 10-year old. We just wanted him to throw to a couple batters (and he) did phenomenal,” said Dionne.
Coupled with some spectaculars play from Santana at shortstop, the Pirates were forced to take its one-run edge into the final stanza of play.
“Our shortstop, Richie Santana, made some awesome plays,” said Marcel. “I couldn’t ask for anything better.”
But the Yankees remained poised and took its best shot late in the game.
“I tip my hat to them,” said DeNote of the Yankees. “They were aggressive on the bases and when you’re aggressive on the bases, kids make decisions and sometimes, kids don’t make the right decision.”
In the end, Forestville added two runs to the board and battled a tough Edgewood squad to a 6-5 final.
“I just told them we’re got to come back and play better defense and hit the ball on Tuesday,” said DeNote to his players. “And we’ll have a good shot to win this thing.”
Having to win two straight games to capture the city series championship, the Forestville squad is on a quest to win the program’s first title since the 1992 Dodgers won the city series finals.
“The Pirates are a great team,” said Dionne. “We’re lucky that we came out on top of this one.”
Comments? Email mletendre@BristolObserver. com.
By MICHAEL LETENDRE