MIDDLETOWN – This Cheshire Post 92 American Legion baseball team is a confident bunch.
With its backs to the wall for the third night in a row, Cheshire (25-7) rallied in the sixth inning again to post a 4-1 victory over Stamford Tuesday night in the Southern Division Super Regional at Bill Pomfret Stadium.
Cheshire’s victory forced the “if game” between the two teams in the Super Regional, which will be played here at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday night. The winner of Wednesday’s game will play Northern Division champion RCP in the best-of-three state championship series starting Friday night, also at Bill Pomfret Stadium.
“Don’t let us win,” said Cheshire rightfielder Pat Downey, who blasted a two-run home run over the fence in leftcenter in the sixth inning that was the deciding blow. “We’re on a roll right now. We’re feeling good, pitching well and making the plays.”
“I told the guys that’s the best game on both sides of the ball we’ve played in two years,” Cheshire coach Bill Robertson said. “We really brought our A game, but we have to do it again tomorrow.”
With things deadlocked at 1-1, Stone walked Adam von Fischer to lead off the sixth, bringing Downey up to the plate, presumably to bunt.
“Originally we got the runner on, and we’re thinking bunt,” Downey said. “But I haven’t been a good bunter the last couple years.”
Downey couldn’t get the bunt down, but he turned on a 1-and-2 hanging curve ball and deposited it over the fence to give Post 92 a 3-1 lead.
“I knew he (Stamford pitcher Grant Stone) likes to throw his fastball and was having trouble finding his curve ball,” Downey said. “As the game went on, he relied on it more as he lost velocity on his fastball. I sat on it and got a good swing on it. I haven’t hit that many, but this time, I knew it was gone.”
Cheshire tacked on another insurance run in the top of the seventh on an infield hit by Andre Marchessault to make it 4-1.
“You don’t want to wait but it’s just another night where we had good at bats throughout the game until Pat got the big hit,” Robertson said.
Reliever Ryan Mostoller got himself into a jam in the bottom of the seventh as he allowed two singles to open the inning, but worked his way out of it to record a two-inning save.
Cheshire had taken a 1-0 lead in the second inning when Altrin Kabashi singled and scored on Nick Sansone’s double to rightcenter.
Stamford tied things up off winning pitcher Michael Hickey in the bottom of the third. Shawn Urbano tripled to rightcenter and scored when Johnny Spoto singled to center.
Stamford fell to 29-4 with the loss.
“We wanted to take care of business tonight, but Cheshire had the big hits tonight and deserved the win,” Stamford coach Murray said. “These kids are special over there. They’ll have short term memory and come here to play tomorrow night (Tuesday).”
CHESHIRE 4, STAMFORD 1
(Bill Pomfret Stadium, Middletown)
C – 010 002 1 – 4 10 2
S – 001 000 0 — 1 7 1
Batteries: C—Michael Hickey, Ryan Mostoller (6) and Brandon Clark. S – Grant Stone and Tyler Serricchio. 2B: C — Nick Sansone. 3B: S – Shawn Urbano. HR: C – Pat Downey. RBI: C – Pat Downey (2), Andre Marchessault, Ben Delaubell. S: Johnny Spoto.
Winning pitcher: Michael Hickey. Losing pitcher: Grant Stone. Save: Ryan Mostoller.
Records: Cheshire, 25-7; Stamford, 29-4.