By MICHAEL LETENDRE
BRISTOL – The Forestville Reds simply picked up where they left off in Bristol Little League Baseball city series play in the first game of the championship round against the double-tough Pirates of McCabe-Water.
For the second straight contest, the Reds threw up 11 runs on the board and in turn, mercy ruled its second straight opponent.
In the end, Forestville defeated McCabe-Waters by an 11-1 final from the Robert S. Watson Sr. Memorial Field at Peck Park in Bristol on Friday, Aug. 21.
With the win, the Reds (2-0 in city series play) took game one of the best-of-three series play and now just need one win to take the title.
The Pirates (1-1) can stave off elimination by winning the contest on Monday, Aug. 24 and force a third and deciding game on Wednesday, Aug. 26.
But in the first battle between the squads, it was all Reds.
Forestville had three batters that walked in the second frame – all of whom scored – to help the Reds post a 5-0 edge, with the benefit of only one hit.
And then at the end of the game, Forestville’s bats came alive to close out the contest – including a huge two-RBI double by Connor Wilson (2-for-4, 3 RBI, run).
“It was a duplicate of all season,” said Reds coach Harry Lindroth. “These kids are fighters. Every at-bat, they fight. We give them a good approach and they take advantage of it. It’s our way of coaching. As you can see, it’s not Reds or team. It’s family. They believe in each other. We’re in a good place as coaches.”
“We have great kids, great parents…it’s a good ride right now.”
Forestville scooped up seven total hits and drew seven walks and scored each and every run in a timely fashion.
Spencer Lindroth (2-for-2, 2 BB, 2 RBI) and Pierce (2-for-2, 2 BB, 2 RBI) also made big connections as Forestville got the job done offensively.
For the Pirates, Victor Rosa (run scored) raced out a base hit with two outs in the first frame but could not generate another for the remainder of the showdown.
Nate Duhaime walked twice for McCabe-Waters while Scott Houle, Shane Ouellette, and Nick Bator all earned base-on-balls for the Pirates.
Pierce got the job done on the mound and while the four walks might have been a bit uncharacteristic for the chucker, it was only a small blip on the radar.
Overall, the pitching ace went four innings – allowing just one infield hit – while striking out 10 over the winning effort.
“He battles, whether he’s on the mound or at the plate,” said Reds coach Harry Lindroth. “We played a lot of baseball this summer, we did a lot of reps so the players know their job and he [Pierce] definitely is our ace pitcher.”
“They’re doing a great job, top to bottom.”
Pirates pitcher Andrew Lozier didn’t fare so bad either but lasted just eight batters although he did not give up a hit.
He walked four and the last two batters he allowed a free pass ended up scoring in the affair.
“We started off slow,” said coach Tom Lozier. “We had a good first inning. In the second inning, we ended up having an error and two walks to load the bases. We changed pitchers and we were right into this game until the fourth or fifth inning and they kind of opened up on us.”
Pierce wasted little time on on the mound over the first inning but Rosa reached on an infield hit with two outs while teammate Scott Houle followed with a walk to put a couple runners on.
But Pierce cut down Drew Fries on strikes and the Reds were quickly due up.
With one gone in the frame, Spencer Lindroth walked, as did Pierce, to put two runners on.
Joe Crowley followed up with a grounder to the pitcher for an out but the runners both advanced into scoring position.
Nate Ouellette worked a full count but flew out to the track in center and the human game of chess was in full effect going into the second frame of play, tied at 0-0.
The Pirates’ Shane Ouellette drew a base-on-balls to open the second and advanced to second via a wild pitch.
But Pierce retired the rest of the side on strikeouts and the 0-0 stalemate continued.
The Reds opened the bottom of the second by quickly loading the bases up.
Ryan Krompegal reached on a bobbled grounder while the tandem of Jake Beaulieu and Greg Brewer walked to juice up the bases with no one out.
Ommie Malick fell via strikes for the first out but Connor Wilson unleashed an infield hit to deep short, scoring Krompegal, to make it a 1-0 game.
Then, Lindroth drew ball four – plating Beaulieu – and Forestville nabbed a 2-0 edge and the bases were still loaded, this time for Pierce.
The Reds chucker walked for an RBI tally and Forestville charged in front by three runs.
Crowley then followed up with a ground ball to third, Pierce was out on a fielder’s choice but Wilson scored to make it a 4-0 push.
And the Reds scored again off a botched pickoff play at second and off the scrum, Lindroth scored to make it a 5-0 contest after two completed frames.
For the Pirates in the third, Nate Duhaime earned a one-out walk to start the drive
But with two outs, Duhaime advanced to second on a passed ball, moved to third when the throw to get him nearly went into the outfield and scored when the ball scooted away from the catcher – getting the Pirates on the scoreboard at 5-1 with plenty of game left to be played.
After a third inning wardrobe malfunction by the Pirates (coach, “that’s not my hat”) in the field, Ouellette made quick work of the Reds – needing just seven pitches to get Forestville back out into the field.
Pierce struck out four in a row until walking Bator with two outs gone in the fourth but against the final batter he’d face, the pitcher tallied K number 10 and quickly, the team’s went into the fifth with the Reds still on top by a 5-1 cushion.
“Hats off to that pitcher, Wesley,” said Lozier. “He one hit us. He kept us at bay the whole game until the reliever (Lindthop) came in.”
Lindroth launched the first ball into the outfield for a hit – a single to left – before Pierce dropped a double to deep left-center to put two one in the fourth.
Crowley came through with a infield hit to score Lindroth from third and on the RBI offering, Forestville held a 6-1 cushion.
In the top of the fifth, Duhaime walked to get things rolling with one out but Houle grounded into a fielder’s choice while Houle drew strike three as the 6-1 led for the Reds was firmly in place.
Duhaime came into pitch for the Pirates in the bottom of the fifth and Beaulieu earned a hard fought walk to get a runner on base.
Brewer then laid down a perfect bunt to zip up a hit and when Malick dropped a hit to center, the throw from the outfield got the runner at third base in time – a reversal of the original call that saw the player called safe at third that would have loaded the bases up.
“I was a little upset that they changed the call,” said Lindroth of the play.
No matter as Wilson slapped a ball to the gap in right, scoring two, as the Reds’ edge was increased to 8-1.
And then Lindroth slipped in a double to score Wilson and ended up at third on an error, giving Forestville held a 9-1 lead.
Pierce then eked out an RBI base hit to third, stole second and when Crowley’s grounder was mishandled, the winning pitcher scored the final run of the evening as the Reds took game one, 11-1.
“Our kids worked hard,” said Tom Lozier. “And we’ll get them Monday.”
“They have a great team there,” said Lindroth of the Pirates. “I told the boys, it was a lot closer than 11-1. It was a lot closer game. We didn’t start out the game hitting off well but we recouped in the end.”
“Our boys do it on the field.”
NOTES…Credit belonged to the Reds head coach, Harry Lindroth, as he worked with all his might to get the field in shape for the first championship tilt due to rains in the morning and early afternoon that could have made conditions unplayable.
By MICHAEL LETENDRE