HARWINTON >> For the third straight summer Burlington and Torrington have met with elimination on the line, the first two times Torrington beat Burlington, but this time around with a spot in the District 6 finals on the line, it was Burlington who walked away victorious, coming back from down eight in the second inning, 14-10.
“We wanted to beat them,” Burlington pitcher James Gorski said.
For Torrington and this group of players, the loss ends a run that saw them win two district and two sectional titles in three summers, going 29-7 overall.
“It’s been a tremendous run the last three years,” Torrington manager, Chris Root said. “It’s remarkable, coming from a town where we could only pick from 24 kids and competing against bigger towns, I couldn’t be more proud.”
With both teams coming into the game with one loss each, in the double elimination tournament, both teams gave everything they had.
After Torrington opened up the scoring with two runs in the bottom of the first, Burlington stormed back, having five straight batters reach base, to open the inning before Torrington could record an out.
Burlington would take the lead, 4-2, but had opportunities to add more, leaving the door open for Torrington.
Adam Vanotti would reach on an error to open up the second, Alex Nocera then reached on another Burlington error.
Tyler Pyrzenski would then lace an RBI double, kick-starting an eight-run second inning for Torrington, highlighted by two-RBI doubles by both CJ Root and Pyrzenski, giving Torrington a commanding 10-4 lead.
That was it for Torrington though, as Burlington turned to 5-11” Gorski out of the bullpen.
“We haven’t had an ace this year, we have four or five kids that are equal pitchers,” Burlington manager Jay Stolfi said. “He’s a big kid, a hard thrower, but he doesn’t just close his eyes and throw, he hits spots and will get the job done.”
Gorski kept Torrington off the board for the last four innings of the game, giving Burlington a chance to come back.
“Our kids were aware of what we needed to do,” Stolfi said.
After the four run second by Burlington, Torrington’s Ryan Marconi settled down, keeping Burlington off the board for the next two innings.
In the fifth though Burlington broke through again, Devin Shaffer and Gorski led off the inning with back-to-back walks. Rocco Fratarcangeli then knocked in Shaffer with a base hit, and after a strikeout, Tyler Simard laced a base hit, scoring another run giving Burlington runners on first and second with one out.
Torrington then turned to Casey Navin to keep Burlington off the board any further. Navin got a fielder’s choice force out at second, allowing another run to score, making it 10-7.
With two outs, Burlington’s Jeff Buthe laced a long two-out, two-RBI triple to pull Burlington within one run, 10-9, before Navin ended the threat.
Torrington would load the bases, with two-outs, on Gorski in the bottom of the fifth but couldn’t push anything across, allowing Burlington to go right back to work.
Again Burlington loads the bases and this time Simard drew a walk, allowing Gorski to score and tie the game. Burlington would add four more runs, on a collection of singles, walks and errors, to take a four run lead.
In total Burlington scored 10 runs in the last two innings and only managed one extra base hit.
“We talked about that before the game,” Stolfi said. “We don’t mind playing small ball.”
“We didn’t execute on the mound, too many free passes,” Root said.
Torrington’s Nocera would hit a one-out double, but that was all Torrington got in the final frame as Burlington advances to the District 6 finals where they will face Simsbury, on Sunday, 5 p.m., at Terryville’s Janser Field.
Burlington will have to beat Simsbury twice, Sunday and Monday, to win District 6.
Burlington 14 Torrington 10
At Harwinton Sports Complex
Burlington 040055 – 14 14 2
Torrington 280000 – 10 11 3
WP: James Gorski
LP: Casey Navin
2B: B – Devin Shaffer. T – Jake Nilsson; CJ Root; Tyler Pyrzenski; Alex Nocera. 3B: B – Jeff Buthe.