By MICHAEL LETENDRE
After a tough three-game stretch, the Bristol Greeners of the Tri-State Baseball League got back to the pay window in three important victories over the Canton Crushers, Torrington Rebels, and Southington 66ers.
Each victory has led to something bigger for the Greeners who, at 11-5, were already nine games better than last season and easily the most improved team in the league in 2018.
Sure, the Greeners took its lumps in a back-to-back encounter against East Mountain and dropped a tough 15-run decision to always powerful Litchfield, but the locals have picked up wins along the way when the pressure has been on.
On the mound for Bristol, the trio of Brad Burney, Jerry LaPenta, and Ben Mazzone have been getting the job done while offensively, A.J. Lorenzetti, Zach Bartolome, Burney, and Mazzone – among others – are swinging the bats away.
Here’s a look at the team’s most recent action:
Saturday June 30
Litchfield Cowboys 16, Bristol Greeners 1
On a sweltering afternoon, the Litchfield Cowboys defeated the Bristol Greeners 16-1 from Litchfield high school.
The Cowboys got offensive contributions from Steve Harrison (3-for-4 3 RBI) and Drew Gauvain (2-for-5) as he drilled a two-run homer to pace the squad.
Also for Litchfield, Dan Hedden and Steve Consiglio were each 2-for-4 with two RBI apiece for the victors.
On the mound, Consiglio dominated for the Cowboys, going five strong innings – allowing a run off two hits.
For the Greeners, Lorenzetti and Bartolome led the squad with two hits apiece while Bartolome notched the run for the Greeners (7-5).
Sunday, July 8
Bristol Greeners 4, Canton Crushers 1
The Bristol Greeners broke a three game winless streak by defeating the Canton Crushers 4-1.
And once again on the mound, Burney and LaPenta proved to be the combination for success.
Burney went five innings and did not allow an earned run in picking up the win.
LaPenta then closed out the event, throwing the last four innings as he nabbed the save.
At the plate, Bartolome had four hits and – in a startling event at the dish – earned the first intentional walk of his career.
Mazzone added two hits while Devin Pitcher pieced together an important sacrifice fly to help secure the win for the Greeners.
Jake Bryant dropped in two hits for the Crushers.
Wednesday, July 11
Bristol Greeners 2, Torrington Rebels 1
Win number nine saw the Bristol Greeners defeat the Torrington Rebels 2-1 in a nip-and-tuck affair.
It was a come-from-behind effort by Bristol that saw Torrington nab the initial edge in the contest.
The Rebels took an early 1-0 lead in the first inning on an RBI triple by Jake Naruenson but in the sixth stanza, that edge melted away.
The Greeners zipped up two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning as a single by Mazzone made it a 2-1 game.
That deficit was too much for the Rebels to overcome.
For Torrington, Francis Rodriguez pitched five strong innings and gave up two runs on two hits.
And on the mound for the Greeners, the versatile Mazzone once again pitched his club to victory.
Mazzone threw six strong innings, giving up one earned run, three hits, while punching out seven.
In the seventh for the Greeners, Brad Burney came in to close it out – shutting down the Rebels with three strikeouts in earning another save.
The victory moved the Greeners to 9-5 on the campaign as the squad from Bristol won for the second straight time.
Friday, July 13
Bristol Greeners 3, Southington 66ers 2
The Bristol Greeners defeated some old friends as the squad won against the Southington 66ers by a 3-2 final.
In the end, a walk-off single by Burney in the bottom of the seventh inning proved to be the game-winning hit.
Bristol trailed 2-0 after one inning of work but from there, the Greeners did not give up another hit for the remainder of the game.
Stellar pitching by the locals saw Burney start the game on the mound for Bristol as he went five innings and gave up just one earned run on three hits with six strikeouts in his no-decision.
LaPenta eventually earned the win, pitching the final two innings.
At the plate, Burney, Jaeden Rasmus and Austin DiLeone had RBI tallies for Bristol.
For Southington, Pat Raymond pitched well while Joe Daigle smacked out a double to lead the Southington effort.
Friday, July 13
Bristol Greeners 9, Valley Thunder 4
The Bristol Greeners defeated Valley Thunder 9-4 on a pleasant Sunday afternoon, aided by a six-run fourth inning to break open the game.
Mazzone earned the win on the mound, pitching four strong innings while having one heck of a day from the plate.
The former St. Paul Catholic standout went 3-for-5 at the dish with five RBI in a dominating performance.
Bartolome added two hits and scored twice while Lorenzetti homered to get the Greeners within earshot of the top four teams of the Tri-State baseball standings.
For the Valley Thunder, Donny Eck had two hits and Tyler Pelletier tripled to pace the offense.
Here’s a quick rundown on the playoff format for the Tri-State League baseball this year. The Bristol Greeners will finish as one of the top 12 teams this season, earning its first postseason berth in quite some time.
Tri-State Baseball postseason dates
The regular season ends Saturday, July 21
- 12 teams make the Tri-State playoffs
- All games must complete nine innings of play in the postseason while players must have played in a minimum of five regular season games to be eligible for league playoffs.
- Any game that does not complete nine innings of play as scheduled will be a suspended game regardless of how many innings are played.
*All First Round Tri-State Playoff games are in the best of three format, taking place over
Thursday, July 26, Friday, July 27, and Saturday, July 28 (if necessary).
No. 12 seed at No. 5 seed
No. 11 seed at No. 6 seed
No. 10 seed at No. 7 seed
No. 9 seed at No. 8 seed
The top four teams in Tri-State baseball earn a bye into the second round.
*Second Round Tri-State playoff games, like first round action, are also the best of three series taking place over Saturday, Aug. 4, Sunday, Aug. 5, and Monday, Aug. 6 (if necessary).
No. 5/12 seed winner at No. 4 seed
No. 6/11 seed winner at No. 3 seed
No. 7/10 seed winner at No. 2
No. 8/9 seed winner at top seeded Tri-State team
*Semifinal Tri-State playoffs games are to be the best of three series taking place over Tuesday, Aug. 14, Wednesday, Aug. 15, and Thursday, Aug. 16 (if necessary).
No. 1 seeded group vs. No. 4 seeded group
No. 2 seeded group vs. No. 3 seeded group
*All games will be played at Fuessenich Park in Torrington and Municipal Stadium in Waterbury (7 p.m. start times)
*The Tri-State World Series is the best of three series taking place over Tuesday, Aug. 21, Wednesday, Aug. 22, and Thursday, Aug. 23 (if necessary)
*All games will be played at Fuessenich Park in Torrington (7 p.m. start times).