NEWTOWN — Anthony Brassell may never have as an impactful a strikeout swinging the bat for the rest of his baseball career.
After all, they usually don’t directly lead to a state championship.
Two runs scored after a strikeout with two outs hopped in the dirt and went to the backstop, breaking a 5-5 sixth-inning tie and sending the Milford 13U team to a Babe Ruth state title, edging New Milford 7-5 at Fairfield Hills. It’s the first Babe Ruth championship for Milford at any level in over a decade, and came 24 hours after falling to New Milford 9-8.
Milford advances to the regional tournament that takes place in Westfield, Mass. starting next Friday.
“It’s crazy,” Milford coach John Wezenski said. “The difference was last night we dropped a popup and we gave away some runs. We put enough pressure on the defense to tie it up (at 5-5) and those two runs were big not to play the seventh tied. That (play) was insane, not how I would have drawn it up.”
Milford got key outs to escape several jams — New Milford had the bases loaded four times Friday — the last of which took place in the sixth inning. Catcher Cody Dineson came in to pitch with one out in the top of the sixth with two runners on, and after a walk and hit batter, New Milford held a 5-4 lead.
“Honestly I was comfortable with that,” Dineson said. “I was a little nervous coming in at first … but I trusted my teammates behind me and knew they could make the plays. I didn’t have to worry about that, so I knew I could pitch to contact.”
Dineson got a crucial double play to end the threat, and Milford responded with three runs in the sixth to take the title, and a shot at a trip to the World Series in Arkansas next month.
“We just want to go as far as possible,” said Milford’s Matt Piechota. “Play our hardest throughout. If we’re down five runs, battle back and win.”
The Regulators took a 3-1 lead into the third inning despite leaving the bases loaded in both the first and second innings. Milford’s patience at the plate led to most of its runs. Rhe champions drew walks to lead off each of the first five innings.
“We had too many baserunners left on, but Milford also executed and came up with a couple of big plays that thwarted runs for us,” New Milford coach Mat Terrillion said. “We could have used them for sure.”
New Milford socked 12 hits but had part of its season come to an end. The Regulators play in the Greater Hudson Valley League and are right back in action on Saturday.
“We’re so proud of the kids,” Terrillion said. “Since January our whole motto has been get better every day and now July we’re at that point. The people here got to see that tonight and it was great to see.”
MILFORD 7, NEW MILFORD 5
NEW MILFORD 210 002 0 — 5 12 1
MILFORD 101 203 x — 7 5 1
Batteries: NM—Kyle Murphy, Breckin Tuz, Cameron Carroccio and Nick Carlucci; M—Mike Cosmas, Dean Ross, and Cody Dineson.