TORRINGTON >> Trailing 1-0 with the bases loaded and nobody out, Torrington brought its infield in hoping to get the force out at the plate.
But it didn’t matter as Holy Cross’ Mike Chiovitti sent a Shane Bierfeldt pitch over, center fielder, Manny Rijo’s head, scoring Ethan Mester and James Thorpe, sending to Crusaders to the NVL Championship game, 2-1.
Holy Cross will face Seymour, a 4-0 winner over Ansonia in the other semifinal, at 3:30 p.m. Thursday at Fuessenich Park.
“He was pitching me away all game, I got a good pitch and put it where it was supposed to go,” Chiovitti, a junior, said. “We’ve been fighting all year.”
“Once the center fielder turned around, I knew the game was over,” Holy Cross pitcher, Kyle Skidmore said.
Chiovitti’s double was the second hit of the game for the Crusaders, and the hardest ball hit, the other hit came in the fifth inning, when Chiovitti hit a dribbler in between Bierfeldt and second baseman, John McCarthy.
“It’s funny we got left on the field four times this season,” Crusaders head coach Mike Phelan said. “We had the right batter up at the right time; he’s our number three hitter for a reason.”
Skidmore a senior went pitch for pitch, inning for inning with Bierfeldt keeping the Crusaders in the game.
“He’s a senior, he’s a big game pitcher,” Phelan said.
Skidmore worked himself in out and of trouble all game, stranding Red Raider runners in scoring position in the fourth, fifth and the sixth, before the Red Raiders broke through in the top of the seventh.
For the second game and day in a row the top of order gave the Red Raiders a late inning lead when Torrington’s Stanly Rijo singled, with two outs and then broke for second, John McCarthy then laced a double to center field scoring Rijo all the way from first, giving Torrington a 1-0 lead.
McCarthy would be thrown out trying to stretch his hit into a triple.
Again with a one-run lead and three outs to go, Bierfeldt went back out to get the win, but this time he couldn’t hold it.
Pinch-hitter Joe Kalosky walked, he was then pinch ran for by Mester. Thorpe then bunted and Bierfeldt went to second and the throw pulled Rijo off the bag. He then hit Chris Anderson, who was trying to bunt to load the bases for Chiovitti.
“It was a tough loss, Shane pitched his heart out, one run is not enough to beat a good team,” Torrington head coach Pat Richardson said. “I knew it would be tough, they had the middle of the lineup coming up.”
Holy Cross will play Seymour in the championship Thursday at 3:30 p.m. The Crusaders last won the NVL Tournament title in 2010.
Torrington will regroup and prepare for the Class L Tournament.
“Don’t forget, learn from” Richardson said. “You’re going to play tight games in the State Tournament.”
Holy Cross 2, Torrington 1
(at Holy Cross)
Torrington 000 000 1 — 1 4 4
Holy Cross 000 000 2 — 2 2 3
Shane Bierfeldt and Ben Thompson; Kyle Skidmore and Brendan Bessette.
WP: Kyle Skidmore (). LP: Shane Bierfeldt (). 2B: (TO) John McCarthy; (HC) Mike Chiovitti. RBI: McCarthy (TO); Mike Chiovitti (2) (HC);