GLASTONBURY — Glastonbury’s Nate Mandell stepped into the box in the bottom of the ninth with a runner on second and got the pitch he was looking for.
He lined the pitch from Bristol Central’s Jarrett Michaels up the middle and John Russell came around to score from second giving Glastonbury the walk-off, 8-7 win over Bristol Central on Friday afternoon at Glastonbury High School.
“He’d [Michaels] been throwing a first pitch fastball the whole time,” Mandell said. “[He] threw that ball, first pitch fastball down the middle and I got it.”
It was the first time the Tomahawks won consecutive games this season.
The Tomahawks (4-3) scored once in the bottom of the seventh to force extra innings after trailing by as many as three and leading by the same amount earlier in the game.
Russell scored both the tying and winnings runs for Glastonbury in similar fashion.
Both times he singled and both times he stole second base. With one out in the seventh, Ryan Clark singled to center to tie the game at 7-7. Michaels then induced a 4-6-3 double-play to get out of the inning and force extras.
Bristol Central (4-3) got a runner on in both the eighth and ninth innings, but couldn’t get either past second.
“It’s just a great team win today for the guys,” Glastonbury coach Eric Frank said. “It was kind of a see-saw game. Down, then we got up, down, they we tie it and we go to extras and the guys kept fighting and battling.”
One of the reasons the Tomahawks were able to stay in the game was solid pitching from Chris Mastromarino.
Making his first varsity start, the sophomore allowed six runs on 11 hits and struck out three while walking one.
“He got down by a couple, but he kept us in the game which was huge and he gave us the opportunity to come back,” Frank said. “He did a real nice job for us.”
Ian Halpin came in from third base to pitch a scoreless seventh and eighth for Glastonbury and Matt Del Mastro threw a clean ninth to pick up the win.
Through the first four innings it looked like Central was in control.
The Rams scored two in the bottom of the first on an RBI single from James Godbout and then a sacrifice fly by Jacob Hall. Godbout drove in another in the third with a ground out to second, Elijah Minella came in the back door.
But the Tomahawks didn’t hang their heads.
They batted around in the bottom of the fifth while scoring six runs on six hits.
Jonathan Rosadino reached on an E6 to start the inning and the next six of seven batters singled, including Andrew Takahashi beating out a bunt.
“I have to give them credit, they executed their bunt game in that one inning,” Bristol Central coach Bunty Ray said. “They found holes, they were able to expose some of our weaknesses on defense.”
Mandell had the big hit in the fifth inning as well, a two RBI single that brought home Ryan Bagdasarian and Joe Mercier. Ben Woodard and Chris Puiia followed with RBI singles giving Glastonbury a 6-3 lead.
“That was a big inning,” Frank said. “We executed that inning. We got some bunts down and clutch hits. The fact that we didn’t put our heads down when it was 3-0, we kept battling was really key in this game.”
Central didn’t just go away. It sent eight guys to the plate in the sixth and four of them scored, all with two outs.
Minella drove in Jaeden Rasmus and Barry McPhail with a single to make it 7-6.
“We got some guys on base,” Ray said. “We were able to take advantage of one mistake, they gave us a run and we were able to capitalize on a big hit. We found a hole.”
Both coaches were proud of how their players responded throughout the game, especially Ray’s young team.
“In terms of our character and what we did, I’m pretty pleased with the fact that we didn’t just fold,” Ray said. “When you have a young team out there and their down three after a big inning and they come back and they respond and they compete, that’s what you want.”
An exciting win like this can really change the momentum of a season and Mandell hopes that happens for Glastonbury.
“Our games have been lose, win, lose, win. I think we’re going to keep going now,” Mandell said.
Glastonbury finishes off it’s four game homestand on Monday vs. RHAM and Bristol Central begins a stretch of three at home with Southington.