TORRINGTON >> After what he called a “slow start,” Torrington’s John McCarthy stepped up when it mattered the most, driving in Stanly Rijo, from first base, on a two-out, RBI double in the bottom of the sixth to lift the Red Raiders past Derby, 7-6, in the first round of the NVL Tournament.
Leading up to his at bat in the sixth, McCarty made two fielding errors; he got thrown out at home plate in the first and struck out looking in the second.
“It was definitely a good ending; I knew Stanly had to speed to score,” he laughed. “We grind out all the time; you’re going to have to do that in the NVL Tournament and States.”
Torrington’s Nate Manchester got the start and struggled early, allowing four runs in the first inning, before settling down, going 5.2 innings allowing six runs, striking out nine.
“Nate did a nice job, doesn’t show up in the box score,” Torrington head coach Pat Richardson said.
With the game tied at 6-6 in the top of sixth and Derby threatening with runners on second and third, Richardson pulled Manchester and brought in Shane Bierfeldt.
Bierfeldt went to work against Derby’s number three hitter, Tyler Bottino, and after a tough at bat, Bierfeldt got Bottino to pop up and it was Bierfeldt, also an outfielder, who called off his teammates to make the catch.
“A little nervous, but you have to want that,” Bierfeldt said. “Probably shouldn’t have (made the catch) but I wanted it.”
Bierfeldt went back out for the top of the seventh and after getting the first two batters, he walked Louis Cutaneo who then advanced to second on a passed ball. Bierfeldt then struck out Ricky Bartone to end the game.
“Four to nothing is tough to comeback from, especially in the NVL’s,” Bierfeldt said. “The nerves are always there.”
Derby got started early, getting its first five batters on base on four singles and one double, scoring four of them on a Bottino two RBI single and then a two RBI double by Michael Koual.
Manchester then got the next three batters out, two strikeouts and a ground out.
The Torrington bats then went to work; McCarthy singled and advanced all the way to third when Derby shortstop Ryan Landona made an error on a Dom Sabia groundball. With one out Ben Bonvinci hit a soft groundball back to Derby pitcher who fielded the grounder and threw Bonvinci out at first. Derby first baseman Bottino then turned and fired to home to get McCarthy at the plate.
After setting Derby down in order, Torrington again put runners in scoring position when Bierfeldt led off second with a triple. After a ground out by Mitch Zagrodnik, holding Bierfeldt at third and a Manny Rijo infield single, again holding Bierfeldt at third, Kobe Convington hit a ground ball to second, that easily scored Bierfeldt, but Derby’s second baseman Jake Finnucan threw it away allowing Rijo to score.
“We gave them too many runs,” Derby head coach Summer Sochrin said.
Torrington got two more runs in the bottom of the third when Zagrodnik hit his first home run of the season, scoring him and Bierfeldt.
“That’s a great feeling to be a part of a game like this,” Zagrodnik said. “After that the bats got rolling.”
After Zagrodnik hit it, Richardson knew it was gone.
“I’ve thrown enough BP here to know,” he laughed.
In the fourth Torrington scored two more runs on RBI base hits by Sabia and Bonvincini, giving them a 6-4 lead.
Derby didn’t go away quietly tying the game on a two-out two RBI, bloop base hit by Cutaneo in the fifth, but it wasn’t enough.
“They are a solid team,” Richardson said. “We are going to go with everything we got.”
Torrington 7, Derby 6
Derby 400 020 0 — 6 7 2
Torrington 022 201 X — 7 9 2
Mike Kreiger and Louis Cutaneo; Nate Manchester, Shane Bierfeldt (6) and Ben Thompson.
WP: Shane Bierfeldt. LP: Michael Kreiger. 2B: (DE) Sal Frosceno, Michael Koual; ; (TO) John McCarthy. 3B: (TO) Shane Bierfeldt. HR: Mitch Zagrodnik (TO); RBI: Bottino (2), Koual (2), Cutaneo (2) (DE); Zagrodnik (2), John McCarthy, Dom Sabia, Ben Bonvacini, Kobe Covington (TO);
Team records: Derby 12-9; Torrington 16-5.
OTHER NVL TOURNAMENT RESULTS
Seymour 1, Watertown 0 >> Jake Walkinshaw’s home run in the bottom of the fifth inning helped Seymour advance to the NVL Tournament semifinals with this home win.
Walkinshaw had three hits and went the distance on a five-hitter, striking out eight, for the Wildcats. Nick Mondak struck out nine for Watertown.
SEYMOUR 1, WATERTOWN 0
Watertown 000 000 0 — 0 5 1
Seymour 000 010 X — 1 5 1
Nick Mondak and A.J. Cattaneo; Jake Walkinshaw and Jaylen Kelley.
WP: Jake Walkinshaw (8-2). LP: Nick Mondak (). hr: Jake Walkinshaw (SE); RBI: Walkinshaw (SE).
Ansonia 3, Naugatuck 2 >> Matt Simon, Robert Schryver and Sean Bonaparte all had RBIs for Ansonia (13-8) in this NVL tournament quarterfinal-round win at Naugatuck.
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