By MICHAEL LETENDRE
TORRINGTON – When your baseball squad is out of pitching against the top team in the playoffs, prayer could be an option to turn to.
Or, another method would be to simply dig down deep into the vault of “pitchers from days past” and you’re bound to find a chucker or two, ready for action.
That’s what the Bristol Greeners of the Tri-State League did on Saturday, Aug. 17 in game two of its three-game series against Tri-Town to determine a North Division Champion.
The Greeners turned to former Bristol Eastern and Trinity College ace David Casanova and for 6.1 innings, he was nearly untouchable.
But the Trojans were one pitcher better as Jordie Scheiner threw a four-hit, complete game gem to help tie up the series at 1-1 with a 2-0 shutout victory over Bristol from Fuessenich Park in Torrington.
In over six innings of work, Casanova – in his first and only appearance on the mound this season – he gave up just one run off five hits but absorbed a tough loss as he was nearly flawless into the middle of the fray.
“Casanova did more than we expected tonight,” said Bristol coach Shawn Mirmina. “He kept us in the game. It’s what we wanted him to do.”
Scheiner was tough and while he racked up only one strikeout over nine innings of work, Bristol did him many favors by launching 13 fly-balls to the outfield – all of which were caught by the Trojans’ stellar defense.
“We had a lot of fly-outs,” said Mirmina. “Too many fly-outs. We didn’t give them any opportunities to make mistakes out there on defense. Lazy fly-balls aren’t going to do anything for you when they’re (hit) right at people.”
Bristol’s Marco Ross led the Bristol attack with a 2-of-3 showing from the plate while Casanova and relief pitcher Tyler McIntyre added the other hits at the plate.
But Scheiner made Bristol put the ball in play and Tri-Town did not make many gaffes in the field to give the Greeners any additional base runners.
“We just didn’t have the bats today,” said Mirmina. “(Scheiner) kept us off-balanced. We didn’t take many good swings. We had a lot of fly-outs. He’s a good pitcher. It’s the second time he’s beaten us this year.”
Defense was the key to the game and both teams put their respective best foot forward in that regard.
Bristol’s Tyler Bush hit into a 6-4-3 double play to end the first frame while Greeners’ catcher T.J. Wyrebek threw out a runner at second base to end the stanza as the battle quickly heated up.
Over the first six tilts, Tri-Town had the lead runner reach base safely in three frames but no runner was allowed access to cross the plate and the score remained 0-0.
In the fifth, Nick Palmisano made a stellar throw to first for a inning-ending putout while in the bottom of the inning, Jimmy Hahn slammed a ball to left but it was caught on the warning track as the game remained a scoreless stalemate.
And again in the sixth, the game’s first run remained elusive going into the fateful seventh frame.
Tri-Town’s Mike Fabiaschi doubled to left-center and with one out, Casey McDonald walked and that ended Casanova’s outstanding day.
McIntyre came in to take over for Casanova on the mound and with two outs – and runners on second and third – Landon Gardella sent a grounder right in between shortstop and third base.
Bush couldn’t get his mitt on the ball but Palmisano did.
His throw to first was just a second too late as Kyle Savo notched a run and Tri-Town led 1-0.
“Casanova did all he could out there,” said Mirmina. “McIntyre came in and did his job too. A couple of base hits squeaked through. It was a 2-0 game where we had plenty of chances to score and we couldn’t make the adjustment at the plate today.”
After the Trojans went down in order in the eighth, Bristol appeared to get its first batter of the frame onboard.
Hahn looked like he beat out a tag made by the first basemen off his grounder to shortstop and was initially called safe at first.
But the home plate umpire overruled the call and in controversial fashion, Tri-Town recorded the first out of the stanza.
Stephen Clout followed up with a walk. But two outs later, the inning was over and the Trojans still led 1-0.
In the ninth, McIntyre loaded up the bases off two consecutive walks and an infield hit by Dan McCarthy.
From there, McDonald unleashed an RBI single to left as Savo’s insurance tally made it a 2-0 game.
But as Savo tagged home plate, his mates on the base-paths made three critical outs on one of the most bizarre triple plays ever.
Off a great throw into home, Wyrebek tagged out Fabiaschi for the first out as McDonald was attempting to get to an already occupied second base after rounding first.
McCarthy attempted to go to third as the ball eventually made it to the base before the runner did for the second out.
And as McDonald was sliding into second, he was tagged out and Tri-Town’s lead remained at 2-0.
In the bottom of the ninth, Ross slammed a two-out single to left. But he was stranded there to end the game as the Trojans won it by two runs and forced a third and deciding game, a position the Greeners did not want to be in.
Comments? Email mletendre@BristolObserver.com.
By MICHAEL LETENDRE