PLAINVILLE >> The Plainfield offense has been running through catcher Colby Greenhalgh all season and it was no different on Wednesday in the second round of the Class M state baseball tournament.
Greenhalgh doubled twice, drove in three runs and scored two as the 12th-seeded Panthers beat fifth-seeded Plainville 6-4 at Plainville High School.
Plainfield will play third-seeded Haddam-Killingworth on Saturday in Higganum at 11 a.m.
The last time those two teams met in a state tournament game was 2014 when the Cougars outlasted the Panthers in 13 innings to advance to the state final.
But Wednesday it was Greenhalgh and Co. who lifted Plainfield into the Class M quarterfinals.
“Colby’s been our big hitter all year long,” Plainfield coach Jason Chaviaras said. “He came through with big hits all year long and then today, he popped up on a change-up that was low and away [in the fifth inning] and he knew it and he went back up there and the next time up and made the adjustment.”
After striking out in his first at-bat, Greenhalgh came up with runners on first and second in the third and delivered a 2-run double to right center driving in Jeff Nicolosi and Dylan Horn. Izaiah Thompson singled in Greenhalgh to make it a 3-0 Plainfield lead.
“We just got runners on base,” Greenhalgh said. “Once we got runners on we just kept passing the bat. Saw a couple pitches early, jumped on the fastball right away.”
Greenhalgh’s second double came in the seventh with the game tied 4-4. He blasted the Nathan Michalek offing to the left center gap to bring in Nicolosi and break the tie. He then again scored on an Thompson hit to make it 6-4.
David Carpenter, who came on in relief in the fifth for Plainfield, allowed a single in the seventh, but that was all as he picked up the win.
“He’s been struggling throughout the year,” Greenhalgh said. “But he came through the last couple of games and looked good. He’s a big part of this team. I’m proud of him.”
He went three innings, allowed one run on two hits, struck out three and walked none.
“He’s a tough lefty,” Chaviaras said. “His ball has a lot of movement, even though his arm was hurting a little bit today, he was still able to go out there and do the job.”
Plainville was playing from behind the entire game. But it was able to tie the score twice. The first was at 3-3 in the fourth and then 4-4 after five innings. Yet it couldn’t seem to take a lead.
Two Plainville runs came in the third when Cam Bielawski’s double scored Ryan Sgroi and Josh Thompkins followed with an RBI single. Sgroi drove in the third Blue Devil’s run in the fourth.
In the fifth, after Carpenter had given Plainfield a 4-3 lead with an RBI double, Jared Sgroi singled home Brady Callahan to tie it at four, but the two Plainfield runs in the seventh were too much to overcome.
“We’ve built some character along the way,” Plainville coach Lou Mandeville said. “Learned not to panic and stay under control when we’ve lost leads and come back. It’s been the mark of the team all year, it’s just that we couldn’t come back one more time.”
Dylan Horn started for Plainfield and went four innings, allowed seven hits, three runs, walked three and hit one batter. But it was Chaviaras plan all along to piggy-back the pitchers — something he’s been doing all season.
“We don’t really have a No. 1 pitcher,” Chaviaras said. “We kind of use our guys in situations where we can use them and keep guys fresh. They all play other positions, too, so that’s difficult to do, but it’s kind of what we’ve been doing all year long.”
Plainfield 6, Plainville 4
Plainfield: 003 010 2 — 6 10 1
Plainville: 002 110 0 — 4 8 0
(at Plainville High School)
Batteries: FIELD — Dylan Horn, David Carpenter (5/W) and Colby Greenhalgh; VILLE — Buzz Adams, Nathan Michalek (4/L) and Jared Sgroi.
2B: FIELD — Colby Greenhalgh (2), Jeff Nocolosi; VILLE — Cam Bielawski.
RBI: FIELD — Greenhalgh (3), Carpenter, Izaiah Thompson (2); VILLE — Ryan Sgroi, Bielawski, Josh Thompkins, Jared Sgroi.
SB: VILLE — Grant Sarra.
Team records: Plainfield 18-8; Plainville 15-7.