By BRIAN JENNINGS
Southington’s Big League baseball team’s postseason rally was finally halted during a late, sixth-inning rally in game three of the District 5 state championship series on Monday, July 11. The Southington South Little League team just missed a chance to represent Connecticut at Dover, Del. in the regional tournament.
For the second straight season, Edgewood ended the rally.
Southington was defeated by Edgewood of Bristol in the third game of last year’s championship series as well, but it didn’t come without a little controversy. Edgewood was accused of using an ineligible player, who didn’t participate in at least 40 percent of the team’s regular season games, but still made the trip to Dover after defeating Southington in game three of the series.
Edgewood’s manager, Mark Tonon, received a one-game suspension as a result of the punishment for the action, considering that an appeal wasn’t submitted to Little League International in Williamsport, Penn. After that season, Tonon has since left Edgewood to coach the Bristol American Legion baseball team.
However, Southington manager, Andrew Levin felt differently about this year’s Edgewood team.
“They’re a different team this year,” the manager said. “They’re under better management. I have a lot of respect for their kids. It’s a lot different than last year. It wasn’t the same atmosphere. It was really baseball this year. Both teams played fair and at the end of the day, you win some and lose some. It’s baseball.”
And losing to last year’s Edgewood team, as Levin explains, didn’t have the same meaning as losing to this year’s team.
“My players went over there and shook their hands,” said Levin. “It wasn’t just shaking their hands because they won. It was shaking their hands because we respect them. I’m glad their Big League program is totally different, and I hope they go on to Delaware and represent the state of Connecticut well.”
Finals Game One
JULY 5—Southington took game one of the series, 9-2, with the help of 11 hits and six runs in the bottom of the sixth inning on Tuesday.
Nick Petro went 2-for-4 with two runs scored. Jake Walesewicz went 2-for-3 with two RBI. Devin Prive went 2-for-3 with a pair of RBI and a run scored. Prive also had a double and a walk as well.
Angelo Calandra pitched a complete game with four strikeouts, six hits, and an earned run.
Finals Game Two
JULY 9—Edgewood stormed back Saturday morning to force a third game in the series by taking game two, 7-3.
Edgewood held a slim 3-2 lead after the third inning, but piled on four runs in the bottom of the sixth to help secure the win. Edgewood finished with 10 hits in the game.
Cardozo paced Southington’s offense with a RBI, a run scored, and a double, going 2-for-4 at the plate.
Ben Gaedeke started on the mound and only threw the first inning after allowing a hit, and earned run, and three walks. Kyle McMahon relieved Gaedeke to go four and a third innings with four strikeouts, seven hits, and four earned runs. Ryan DeAngelo closed.
Finals Game Three
JULY 11—Edgewood captured the District 5 Big League state title by a run, 4-3, after stopping a late sixth-inning rally on Monday.
Edgewood built a 4-0 lead by the fourth with a pair of scores in the second and third innings. Then in the bottom of the sixth, Southington made a late charge.
With two outs and the runners on first and second, Prive drove in Walasewicz and Tim Carrier with a RBI double. Prive eventually came around to score off of a RBI single by Calandra. However, a strikeout ended the rally.
“It wasn’t the first time,” the manager said. “We knew we had the potential to drop five or more runs in an inning, and we didn’t give up. Every ball we hit in the gap just seemed to be hit right at them. Each run we put on the board got us pumped, and putting those three runs on the board down by one going into the last inning gave us a lot of momentum. We just came up short.”
DeAngelo went 3-for-4 with a double. Petro went 2-for-4. Southington finished with 10 hits.
On the mound, Calandra pitched a complete game with a pair of strikeouts, allowing eight hits, three earned runs and a walk.
All games were hosted by Southington at Recreation Park.
“I’m proud of the kids,” said Levin. “We were looking forward to this all season. We gave them a run for their money. We have a lot of 18-year-olds, and the thing I’m going to miss most isn’t really playing baseball and coaching these kids. It’s more so just being around them. I hope they continue to play baseball.”
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