By MICHAEL LETENDRE
BRISTOL – The last time Forestville Little League claimed the city series baseball championship, none of its current players were even born yet.
So history meant little to the Reds from Forestville who were looking to win the title, not only for themselves but for their team, which is something the coaching staff has preached all season long.
And this squad of nine strong proved to be one of the most dominant Forestville squads in recent history – sweeping the Pirates of McCabe-Waters 13-1 in a mercy-ruled five innings of work on Monday, Aug. 24 to claim the city series championship.
The Reds went 3-0 in city series play and were the first team from Forestville to claim the championship since 1992.
In 1992, the Forestville Dodgers seized the city’s top prize and it took 23 years for the program to finally get there again.
The Reds swept the Pirates, 2-0, and did it behind two mercy-ruled finishes.
The long-ball was the weapon of choice for the Reds in the championship final and Wes Pierce and Joe Crowley were in the thick of things.
Pierce, again, was one hit away from the cycle for the second consecutive game.
He went 4-of-4 with a single, two doubles, and a home run to pace the Reds.
Crowley was sensational as well – nailing his first home run – and collected five RBI.
Connor Wilson went 1-of-3 with two runs and a sacrifice fly, Spencer Lindroth was 2-of-4 with an RBI and two runs scored, Nate Ouellette had an RBI double, Ryan Krompegal added three hits and an RBI, while Jake Beaulieu zipped up an RBI base hit to pace the Reds’ attack.
In all, Forestville tacked on those 13 runs on 15 hits and once the Reds snared a 4-0 push after just a half inning of work, McCabe-Waters simply couldn’t keep pace.
Then there was a nearly flawless pitching exhibition from the Reds’ Spencer Lindroth.
Lindroth had his curve going early on and earned the city series clinching victory behind the power of a flawless defense and 11 strikeouts – four straight to close out the contest.
He gave up a home run to the Pirates’ Drew Fries but that was his only mistake over the three hit, complete game outing.
“He was pretty spot-on today,” said Reds coach Harry Lindroth of Spencer. “Coach Elliot [Pierce] calls the pitches and that one little flaw there, he left the goose hanging and the kid took care of it, which is expected of these kids.”
Andrew Lozier battled on the hill for the Pirates and never gave in.
He gave up 10 runs on nine hits with a slate of those runs unearned due to miscues and errors in the field.
“This was the team to beat all year, for sure,” said Pirates coach Gary Houle. “We did play them one time earlier this year [in a 7-7 tie].”
Pierce started the fun in the top of the first after Lindroth got onboard via a base hit to right.
The slugger took a 1-2 pitch over the fence in right-center field and when the crafty Pierce tagged home plate, Forestville was quickly on top 2-0.
Crowley then reached via an error, scooting all the way to second, but Lozier battled back, striking out Ouellette but Krompegal and Beaulieu each smacked out RBI singles and after just half an inning, it was a 4-0 contest.
But the Pirates were hardly finished and went on the attack.
Lozier raced out on infield hit to open the first and when Duhaime walked, the tying run was in the on-deck circle.
Then the Reds’ Greg Brewer made the defensive play of the showdown – making a driving catch in foul territory at third base to get the first out and setting the tone of the inning.
“He’s another 12-year-old with the biggest heart in the world,” said Lindroth of Brewer. “It put the fire in the boys. He just had a ground out at bat and he comes out here and does that. That’s the summary of our season.”
“That’s an unbelievable play,” said assistant coach Elliot Pierce to Brewer after the completion of the inning.
Scott Houle struck out but the duo each advanced a base to get into scoring position with two gone in the stanza but Drew Fried struck out to end the inning.
Wilson opened the second with a one-out single up the middle, Lindroth reached base off an error at shortstop, and when Pierce lofted a single over the second basemen’s outreached glove, the bases were all loaded up.
Crowley then grounded into a fielder’s choice but Wilson slipped home to make it a 5-0 game.
The Pirates attempted to respond but Lindroth was striking down batters left and right – compiling four straight at one point – before Nick Bator zipped up a base hit up the middle as McCabe-Waters started another rally.
“Hats off to Nick Bator,” said coach Gary Houle. “He had a good swing on a ball tonight.”
But Lindroth finished it up with another K as the Reds were in cruise control, leading by five.
Lozier settled down nicely on the mound, getting a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the third as the Pirates moved to the bottom of the third tilt looking to get on the scoreboard.
However, Lindroth truly was in the groove, retiring nine of 10 batters going into the fourth inning, as the Reds’ 5-0 push was holding firm.
Forestville’s Ommie Mack drew a base-on-balls to open the fourth and quickly, the top of the order was due up for the Reds.
Wilson reached on a bobbled ball at first and Lindroth dropped in a chopper to right for a base hit – scoring Malick – to make it a 6-0 game.
With runners on first and third, Pierce flipped a double off one of the sings on the centerfield fence and when Wilson sprinted home, Forestville nabbed an imposing 7-0 edge with just one out in the inning.
Then Nate Ouellette hit a line drive double that nearly hit the flagpole in center and with the three-run homer by Crowley, the Reds surged in front by a 10-0 push.
Krompegal slammed a double to deep center to keep the inning alive off reliever Shane Ouellette but nothing would come of it and through three-and-a-half, the Pirates were trailing 10-0 and it was up to McCabe-Waters to at least tally one run to keep the game going due to the mercy rule.
Drew Fries gave the Pirates something to cheer about when he drained a line-drive solo home run in left to cut the deficit to 10-1.
In the fifth, the Reds put the contest away.
Ommie Malick opened the first by dropping a single into left, which was misplayed, and the speedster made it all the way to third base to get into range of the plate.
Wilson then sent a sac fly to right and off the RBI tally, the Reds were in front by an 11-1 margin.
Then, one hit away from the cycle, Pierce only came away with a two-base hit – bouncing the ball off the sign in center again – and Crowley sent him home with a double down to left field line as Forestville zipped up a 12-1 lead.
Then, Nate Ouellette nailed an RBI double to left-centerfield and the game quickly became a 13-1 affair.
Trailing by 12 going into the bottom of the fifth, McCabe-Waters had to scoop up at least three runs to keep things going.
Lindroth closed the door in the bottom of the stanza with three strikeouts and the program from Forestville was city series champs for the first time since 1992.
Comments? Email mletendre@BristolObserver. com.
By MICHAEL LETENDRE