CHESHIRE >> The Zone 3 American Legion baseball championship game between Cheshire and Middletown will be Friday night.
Middletown Post 75 saw to that by beating Cheshire 3-1 Thursday behind a brilliant two-hitter by Luke Sorenson. Sorenson struck out three and walked none. The run was unearned.
“I was stressed out before the game because I knew the season was on the line,” said Sorenson. “But I knew I had to throw strikes and keep the ball low and I was able to do that. My fastball was my best pitch. It set up the curve, but my fastball was the pitch.
“It’s probably the best game I’ve ever pitched and my teammates did a helluva job for me.”
Sorenson and Cheshire starter P.J. Watson matched zeroes through four innings before Cheshire took a 1-0 lead in the fifth, taking advantage of an error.
Leadoff man Pat Downey singled, but while pitching to Ryan Pierpont, Sorenson picked Downey off. But in the ensuing rundown, first baseman Jordan Swilling threw the ball away and Downey ran to third.
Sorenson got one out on a fly to right, but Adam von Fischer hit a fly ball to right and this time Downey scored on a close play, just beating John Mormile’s strong throw.
The 75ers tied the game with an unearned run of their own in the sixth. Will Woods led with a single to center and when Watson threw Swilling’s bunt away, Middletown had runners on second and third. Nick Roy got the run home with an infield grounder.
Middletown won the game in the seventh.
Malcolm Alleyne lined one to left and Pierpont tried to make a diving catch. He missed and the ball bounced past him for a double. With Laurence Hill attempting to bunt, catcher Wes Robertson threw behind Alleyne in a pickoff attempt, but Alleyne took off for third, beating the throw.
Hill then got what proved to be the winning run home with a line single to right. Jared Pflaumer then bunted Hill to second. Cheshire decided to walk Woods intentionally, but the second pitch was wild and Hill went to third.
Cheshire then decided to pitch to Woods and that didn’t work as Woods hit a fly ball to center that easily scored Hill with an insurance run.
Sorenson had a 1-2-3 seventh.
“I don’t know what I can say about Sorenson except to say he’s a totally different pitcher from high school to now,” said D’Aquila. “He has four pitches and can throw them all for strikes. He takes his time, gets into a rhythm and the guys play well behind him.
“You know, it was frustrating when we made that error for the run, but Luke came right back at them throwing strikes. We executed tonight, got bunts down, made plays and got timely hitting by Hill and a big sacrifice fly from Woods.”
The winner of the game tonight (5:45 at Cheshire High) wins the Zone 3 title. Middletown goes in at 20-7 and Cheshire is 19-8, but if Cheshire wins to tie Middletown, it would win on the head-to-head tiebreaker.