MIDDLETOWN >> Three times Cheshire’s American Legion team had leads, both late in regulation and in extra innings, but three times failed to seal the deal, allowing Stamford to score twice in the bottom of the 12th inning to win 7-6.
“You might come from behind like that once a twice in a season, but to come from behind three times in one game shows the character of my team,” said Stamford coach Kevin Murray. “My kids have a lot of guts.”
Cheshire scored four times in the eighth inning, erasing a 2-0 Stamford lead. But the Zone 3 champions immediately gave the lead back with two runs in the bottom of the inning.
Cheshire took a 5-4 lead in the top of the ninth, but gave that back on Kevin Stone’s (3-for-7) solo home run in the bottom of the inning.
Then, in the top of the 12th, Cheshire took a 6-5 lead on an RBI double by Altrin Kabashi. But in the bottom of the inning, a leadoff double by Telly Colarossi, a bunt, and a sacrifice fly by winning pitcher Luke Dawson tied the game.
Stamford then won the game. Randy Polonia (3-for-6) drew a walk, and with Polonia running, Stone lined a single up the left-center field gap and when center fielder Jay Strollo fumbled the ball, Polonia kept on running and scored on the error without a throw to win it.
“I’m not frustrated; that’s baseball,” said Cheshire coach Bill Robertson. “When you go toe-to-toe with Stamford, which may be the best team in the state, there’s no frustration. But I will take my guys over anybody else’s. We don’t have to win six games tomorrow, we just need to win one.”
Stamford (28-3) took a 1-0 lead in the fourth on Shawn Urbano’s (2-for-3) sacrifice fly, then built the lead to 2-0 on a two-out error by shortstop Cooper Mrowka that allowed Dawson, who doubled, to score.
Cheshire went ahead with a four-run rally in the eighth. One run scored on a wild pitch, another on Strollo’s single, and two on Nick Sansone’s (2-for-5) double. The lead didn’t last as Colarossi was hit with a pitch with the bases loaded and Johnny Spoto singled home the tying run in the bottom of the inning.
Cheshire (21-6) again went ahead on an error by shortstop Polonia in the ninth, but Stone’s long home run to left off the light tower tied the game, 5-5.
Cheshire will play Waterbury (26-5), an 8-7 loser to Monroe, at 1:30 p.m. at Palmer Field in an elimination game and Stamford will play Monroe (24-8) at 4:30 p.m.