By MICHAEL LETENDRE
BRISTOL — Of course, the final game of the City Series between the baseball squads from McCabe-Waters and Forestville went to extra innings on Thursday, Aug. 29.
Tied at 10-10 in the top of the eighth inning, an RBI single from Donnie Rodriguez proved to be the winning tally as the Dodgers from Forestville defeated the McCabe-Waters Astros, 11-10 from Breen Field in Bristol.
“What a feeling. You know, I’m so proud of each and every one of these kids,” said Forestville manager Clay Roberts. “They battled and they battled and they battled. We went ahead, then [the Astros] came back.
It was just a seesaw.”
The Astros (19-4) deserved credit for a remarkable comeback, scoring five runs in the bottom of the fifth inning, and forcing a 10-10 tie which eventually led to extra innings.
“They never give up,” said McCabe-Waters manager Matt Pirog. “I’m very proud of them. We were one or two pitches away opening up and winning the game ourselves. We just needed a couple key hits and we just, again, every day it’s something new. I keep saying the same thing. They didn’t give up. They could have folded when they were down five runs in the fourth inning but they came back and tied it up.”
“But this is the way to go out, in eight innings, 11-10.”
The game took 3:12 to complete and the action was fast and furious from the onset.
With one out in the top of the first, Hector Rivera-Martinez (3-for-4, two doubles, three runs, RBI) slammed a double to the warning track in center and quickly, the Dodgers were on the move.
The runner got to third on a passed ball and eventually scored on another as Forestville nabbed a 1-0 push.
On a 1-0 count to Allen (2-for-3, RBI, two runs) — the Astros leadoff hitter — he was plunked by a pitch and quickly, the home team had a runner on.
Chase Dauphinee (single, three walks) was also hit-by-pitch to put two on and both runners advanced via a wild pitch.
And Allen quickly scored on a passed ball — tying the event at 1-1.
Lincoln Bashaw (2-for-5, 4 RBI) cleared the bases as his double carried deep into right and when the runner got caught in no man’s land between second and third base, he was eventually chopped down at third but the Astros nabbed a 3-1 cushion through one.
In the second inning, the Dodgers’ Xavier Kalaquin (double, two BB) reached first base on an error and two wild pitches put the runner in scoring position at third.
And then, Aiden Lopez (2-for-5, triple, HR) went yard with one out.
He sent a meatball so far over the fence in left that there wasn’t any doubt and off the two-run shot, it was a brand new game at 3-3.
From there, Rivera-Martinez unleashed a single to the gap in right and when the ball was bobbled, the runner made it safely to third base.
Rivera-Martinez later scored on a passed ball as Forestville went ahead in the game, 4-3.
A wild pitch — that ended up hitting the umpire in the foot — advanced DePass, who walked to get onboard, and when the first baseman threw the ball to third, no one was on the bag as the runner scored to make it 5-3.
The Astros Kaden Dragon walked to open the second stanza and took second via a passed ball.
Landon Levesque earned a base-on-balls as well while a combined wild pitch/error scored Dragon and the deficit was chopped to 5-4.
One more wild pitch saw Levesque just make it home safely and a 5-5 score ensued.
Dauphinee took care of the bottom of the Dodgers order, 1-2-3, in the third inning and saved himself for another frame due to the looming pitch count limit.
In the top of the fourth, Lopez dropped in a shot to left, sliding safely into third base, as the triple started off the fourth for the Dodgers.
He scored when Rivera-Martinez roped a double nearly down the line in right, propelling the Dodgers to a 6-5 lead.
Rivera-Martinez went to third on a wild pitch, DePass — the pitcher on the mound for the Dodgers — walked and eventually, two runners were in scoring position.
A wild pitch plated Rivera-Martinez as Forestville led 7-5 and when Dauphinee walked Kaden Paghense, the chucker reached his pitch limit and Tom Pirog came into throw.
In was second and third when a passed ball strikeout allowed Nick Zygiel to take first base and DePass scored — making it 8-5.
And then Zack Colannino cracked a two-RBI single to the gap in short, giving the visiting team an imposing 10-5 edge with just on out on the scoreboard.
In the bottom of the fourth, Mike Demmers got on base when his grounder to first was booted and the Astros were looking to rally.
Allen then forced a walked and when Dauphanee slipped in an infield hit at first base, the bases were juiced.
DePass then buckled down, fanning Pirog and Bashaw, and on a full count to Zabawa, the pitcher struck out the side as the Dodgers were cruising, leading it by five.
But after a scoreless inning by Forestville, McCabe-Waters had the momentum going into the bottom of the fifth, trailing by five and about to do something about it.
DePass opened the tilt by striking out Landon Sisson but a passed ball allowed the batter to take first base.
A wild pitch advanced the runner and a walk to Dragon put two on.
And off a strange fielder’s choice, a ball hit by Demmers, dropped in the infield just in front of second base, saw Dragon out at second base.
But in the confusion, Demmers hustled into second base and runners were stationed at second and third with two outs.
It was time for a two-out rally.
Allen’s single up the middle scored Landon Sisson and Demmers ran home on a passed ball to reduce the deficit to 10-7.
Dauphinee and Pirog drew back-to-back walks and with the bases loaded, DePass was out of pitches for the Dodgers.
Rivera-Martinez was called to the mound as Bashaw was there to greet him with three men on.
A single to the gap in right scored two and all of a sudden, it was a one-run game at 10-9 with runners on first and third.
And an RBI single to right by Zabawa scored Pirog to square the game off at 10-10.
Kalaquin earned a two-out walk in the top of the sixth but was stranded at first as the Astros were looking for a walk-off win over the bottom of the frame.
With two outs, Demmers, Allen, and Dauphinee all walked and the bases were juiced for Pirog.
But Rivera-Martinez posted his fourth K of the game and still tied up at 10-10 through six stanzas, it was time for extra-innings in the City Series championship game.
In the top of the seventh, DePass singled with two outs, went to second base on a wild pitch and made it safely to third.
And off another ball that scooted by the catcher, the runner sprinted to the dish.
But Bashaw tracked down the ball, got it back to the plate and DePass was tagged out as the 10-10 tilt continued into the bottom of the seventh.
In the bottom of the stanza, Zabawa raced out an infield hit to shortstop but never got into scoring position as the showdown continued into the eighth inning with the 10-10 score.
Zygiel singled to open the eighth, moved to second on a wild pitch and took third on a passed ball.
And he scored off a sweet single to center by Rodriguez as the Dodgers surged in front, 11-10.
The Astros simply refused to go quietly in the night as Demers singled to center field and when Dauphinee walked with two outs, the go-ahead run was on base.
But off Rivera-Martinez’s final K of the game — his eighth — it was celebration time as the Dodgers won the City Series championship, the first for McCabe-Waters since the Dodgers won the title in 2016, by an 11-10 final.
“In those extra innings, your nerves were rattling,” said Roberts. “I can’t say enough about the McCabe-Waters Astros, their coaching staff [and] their players. They are a class act, class organization. It’s a shame that somebody has to lose a game like that. It’s really a shame in this case that somebody has to [lose].”
“But those guys deserve so much credit. That game could have gone either way.”