By MICHAEL LETENDRE
BRISTOL — The McCabe-Waters Astros refused to be denied on Friday, Aug. 23 as the squad — bouncing back from a tough 7-4 loss to the Forestville Dodgers in the first game of the City Series — defeated the Edgewood A’s by a 15-2 final from Breen Field to even its record to 1-1 in the double elimination fray.
It was just a 2-0 game through three innings as the A’s were hanging tough. But the Astros smashed out a string of seven consecutive hits to post a five-run fourth, blasting open the game.
“The kids came to play today,” said Astros manager Matt Pirog. “That’s how we’ve been playing all year. That’s what I’ve been expecting from them the whole time.”
The Astros’ Lincoln Bashaw was an absolute terror from the plate, going 3-for-5 with a double, triple and an inside-the-park home run — collecting seven RBI in the process.
“I was scared at the plate because I sprained my finger on Monday but I just got that [first] hit and I was feeling good,” said Bashaw.
Tom Pirog also scooped in three hits, generating two RBI and three runs.
Winning pitcher Chase Dauphinee was sensational, allowing just one run on four hits and posting seven strikeouts to seize the victory for the visitors.
“I tried to throw strikes so I didn’t have to give them any runs because it really hurts in the end if you give up runs early,” said Dauphinee.
Connor Murtaugh has a day for Edgewood, going 3-for-4 with a run scored.
Randy DeNoto and Owen Myers also had hits for the A’s; but the program stranded eight runners on base over the first three innings of the game, stalling out the offense.
“We challenged these guys to come out with intensity and to use their bats and do what they did at the end of our postseason,” said Edgewood coach Chris Murtaugh. “And, unfortunately, we did leave eight runners on base and just couldn’t capitalize at that point. We had some signs of light and then the door was shut that quickly after that.”
The Astros had a run on the scoreboard in the top of the first, seeing just three pitches, as Mason Allen blasted a double to left field. When Dauphinee singled to right, the lead runner made it home safely. McCabe-Waters led 1-0 off the bat.
And when Lincoln Bashaw grounded out to second, Dauphinee scooted home to make it a 2-0 game.
For the A’s, Murtaugh slipped a single in center to start the at-bats for the home team and advanced to second on a groundout by Alex Kuzniarz.
Owen Myers struck out. However, when DeNoto walked, two runners were on with two outs.
A catcher’s interference advanced both runners into scoring position. Jack Hartley was awarded first base — loading things up.
Dauphinee generated his second strikeout of the frame to get the Astros out of the inning as McCabe-Waters still led it by two.
In the second, the Astros’ Kaden Dragon reached base via an error with one out.
A passed ball got Dragon to second. Off Mike Demers’s infield hit to shortstop, runners were on the corners and the top of the order was due up for McCabe-Waters.
But Allen flew out to strand the runners and Edgewood was back up to bat.
Alex Corvo walked to open the bottom of the second. He got to second base on a passed ball with one gone.
Ryan Corvo also drew a base on balls. But Alex Corvo was tagged out at third attempting to advance on a passed ball for out number two.
Murtaugh then singled to right to put runners on first and third but Dauphinee collected his fourth K of the game to close out second with the Astros still in front, 2-0.
Pirog got on base with one out in the third. Billy Zabawa dropped an infield hit to shortstop that took a nasty hop and struck Hartley in the face, forcing the fielder to leave the game while the Astros had men on first and second with two outs.
A passed ball advanced the runners to second and third. But Kuziarz generated his sixth strikeout of the game to hold the Astros’ offense at bay.
“Alex Kuziarz pitched a great game,” said Pirog. “[He] struck out a lot of guys. He did his job.”
DeNoto raced out an infield hit to shortstop with one out for the A’s in the bottom of the third — going to second on a passed ball.
And when Aaron Burke walked, the tying runner was batting at home plate.
A wild pitch put both runners into scoring position. On a full count to Anthony Paulauskas, he also drew a walk and the bases were juiced with one out.
Dauphinee fanned Alex Corvo and Jason Barker in a big time stop. The Astros were still leading by two through three completed stanzas as the A’s stranded eight runners to start the game.
“He came up big, clutch pitching,” said Pirog of Dauphinee.
In the top of the fourth, Ben Bergoin drew the Astros’ first walk of the day. When Demers smoked a single to left, two runners were on.
And Allen scored Bergoin as he smoked a ball up the middle to make it a 3-0 game.
Then, back-to-back RBI hits by Dauphinee (double) and Pirog made it a 5-0 contest, foreshadowing the hit of the game.
Bashaw then connected on a huge blast to the gap in right and the runner was off to the races.
Pirog easily scored with Bashaw on his cleats the whole way.
Bashaw ended up sliding home safely as the two-run, inside-the-park homer made it a 7-0 game and the Astros were in the pole position halfway through the fourth.
“Big hits by Bashaw,” said Pirog of his slugger. “Those have just been outstanding.”
Dauphinee threw an eight-pitch 1-2-3 fourth inning and as the top of the fifth approached, McCabe-Waters held a firm 7-0 push.
Two errors and a walk loaded the bases for Dauphinee who grounded out to shortstop but a runner scored to make it 8-0.
And then an RBI single from Pirog scored Demers as the Astros’ edge reached 9-0.
Bashaw was up again with a runner in scoring position. He unleashed a triple to that pesky gap in right. Once Pirog scored, it was a 10-0 game.
But the A’s showed life in the fifth as Myers dropped in his first hit of the game. Three passed balls later, he came around to score — chopping the deficit to 10-1.
“They didn’t give up, either. They were still fighting near the end,” said Pirog of the A’s. “We just got timely hits. That was the difference in the game.”
When Dauphinee picked up his seventh and final strikeout, he had reached the pitch-limit. Pirog (5 K’s) was on to throw in the fifth.
Paulauskas walked on four balls with two gone in the frame. Alex Corvo followed up with his own base-on-balls to put men on the corners.
But Pirog struck out Jason Bunker to end the fifth.
Still ahead by nine in the sixth, Sisson walked to start another rally. When Landon Levesque drew a base-on-balls, runners were on the corners with one gone.
Off Meyers’s second K, to preserve his pitching eligibility for the following day, Murtaugh took the hill with two outs and runners on second and third.
A passed balls scored two additional runs as McCabe-Waters led big, 12-1.
Allen, Dauphinee, and Pirog racked up consecutive walks to keep the inning alive as Bashaw was up at the plate.
And he absolutely crushed a two-base hit to deep center, clearing the bases, and making it a 15-1 game.
Murtaugh dropped a sweet single into left with one out in the bottom of the sixth — eventually scoring on a passed ball — to make it a 15-2 game.
But off one final strikeout, the Astros’ won by 13, moving to 1-1 in tournament play.
“Every single one of those kids contributed tonight,” said Pirog.
On the flip side, the A’s expect to come back the following night when they battle the Dodgers to stay afloat in tournament play.
“We’re fired up,” said Murtaugh. “We’re on our home field. We don’t want lose. We’re ready to come out tomorrow and play our baseball.”