WINSTED >> Down a run with runners on second and third and two outs in the top of the seventh, Thomaston cleanup hitter Tyler Donofrio stepped to the plate.
“He’s batting there for a reason,” Thomaston head coach Bob McMahon said. “I knew he would take a good hack.”
McMahon was right.
Donofrio laced a double into center field to bring home Mike Milius and Anthony Moura, giving the Golden Bears a lead they would not give up in a 4-3 win over Northwestern on Thursday.
“I just tried to relax. I said a little prayer to myself,” Donofrio, a junior said. “I didn’t think.”
Donofrio’s double capped off a four-run comeback in the final two innings for the Golden Bears.
Trailing 3-0, the Golden Bears (4-0) pushed across two runs in the top of the sixth on a Matt Tehan RBI hit and an RBI groundout by Dan LaVasseur.
McMahon credited Frank Romanelli’s at-bat to end the fifth inning with helping get the rally started. Northwestern’s Bryce Ramsay was breezing through the Golden Bears’ lineup, allowing only three hits at that point.
“Frankie’s (Romanelli) at bat in the fifth was huge in a sense,” McMahon said. “The team saw someone up there fighting and battling and after nine pitches, he was on first.”
In the sixth the Golden Bears bats didn’t stop.
“Got to give them credit, they came back from down 3-0,” said Northwestern co-head coach Tom Germano.
After two scoreless innings to start the game, the Highlanders (3-1) pushed across a run in the bottom of the third.
Then in the bottom of the fourth, Devin Warren knocked in Tony Pucino with a base hit and Healy doubled home Nick Pedrolini.
McMahon took out his lefty starter Blaise Russo after the fourth in favor of Brian Butkevicius, a righty, who had started on Monday.
“I trust Brian. He said he felt great,” McMahon said. “He wanted to take it home for us.”
Butkevicius sent down six straight in the fifth and sixth innings, four via strikeout.
“You got a lefty to righty switch you have to adjust to,” Germano said. “He’s one of the top pitchers in the league. You have your hands full with either one of them.”
Butkevicius retired the first two batters in the seventh before hitting a batter and giving up a double to Ramsay. The Highlanders had runners on second and third with two outs when Pucino stepped to the plate and laced a line drive to center field where Thomaston’s Justin Taylor was playing him perfectly.
“They had him played just right,” Germano said.
Thomaston, which lost to Northwestern twice last season and finished second to the Highlanders in the Berkshire League, treated the win as just another game.
“Litchfield on Monday,” McMahon said.
Thomaston 4, Northwestern 3
Thomaston 000 002 2 — 4 7 1
Northwestern 001 200 0 — 3 8 2
Blaise Russo (P) Tyler Donofrio (C) Brian Butkevicius (5-7); Bryce Ramsay (P) Zach Risedorf (C).
WP: Brian Butkevicius (). LP: Bryce Ramsay (). 2B: (THOM) Tyler Donofrio, ; (NW) Bryce Ramsay, Tony Pucino, Garrett Healy 2. RBI: Donofrio (2), Tehan, LaVasseur (THOM); Zach Risedorf, Devin Warren, Garrett Healey (NW);
Team records: Thomaston 4-0; Northwestern 3-1.