CHESHIRE >> After the controversial forfeit on Wednesday, Cheshire coach Bill Robertson didn’t want to call Thursday’s finish divine justice. He didn’t want to call it karma, either.
However, the coach said he felt something special when Cheshire rallied to top Trumbull in Game 2 of the American Legion sectionals.
“Once I felt that, the players felt that as well,” he said. “And once we tied it, I had a sense it would turn out pretty well.”
Not only did it turn out well, but Cheshire followed up its 10-4 triumph in Game 2 — after being down 4-0 — with a 12-2 seven-inning drubbing in Game 3 to eliminate Trumbull. Cheshire advances to the super regionals Saturday at Cubeta Stadium in Stamford.
The Game 2 victory would have closed the series out in a sweep if it not for a forfeit due to an ineligible player in Game 1 Tuesday.
Cheshire led 8-2 in the eighth inning of Game 1 when Trumbull protested that a Cheshire player participated in the Quinnipiac Summer Showcase earlier in the day. Playing in other showcases is not allowed in Legion play. Trumbull won the game via forfeit and the player was ruled ineligible for the rest of the season.
Trumbull coach Brett Connor, who is also the pitching coach at QU, said he would not comment on the forfeit. He said he does not think the forfeit impacted play Thursday and there are no hard feelings towards Cheshire.
“There’s no animosity,” he said. “They were the better team. They won, they deserved to move on.”
Cheshire used its ace Kyle Waldron in Game 1, and seemingly approaching a victory, would make the move by Trumbull appear to be a calculated one. John Koski, who picked up the win in Game 3 and had six RBI in Game 2, said Cheshire wanted revenge.
“(After) what happened yesterday, there was no reason why we weren’t fired up about this,” he said. “We all wanted it, we all wanted it so bad. It was a good day.”
Early on Trumbull was having the better day, though. It led 4-0 going into the sixth before Cheshire began chipping away at the lead.
Cheshire got it down to 4-2 in the bottom of the seventh. Still in the seventh with two on, Koski lined a double that scored Mike Purcell and Pat Downey to tie it up.
“At that point it was a new game,” Koski said. “Zero, zero.”
It wouldn’t stay that way for long, as Cheshire extended the lead to 6-4 and Koski put the finishing touches on the rally with a grand slam in the bottom of the eighth. He said it was the first grand slam he’s hit.
“It was awesome,” he said. “Unbelievable, it’s like a dream.”
In Game 3, Cheshire jumped out to a 4-0 advantage in the third and didn’t look back. It would tack on one in the fourth and seven, thanks to a three-run home run from Purcell, in the fifth.
The unexplainable feeling Robertson and his team felt is now replaced with focus, as Cheshire prepares for the super reigonals.
“We’ve got to go down to Stamford and keep chasing (a championship),” Robertson said.