EAST HAMPTON >> East Hampton trailed 3-1 in the bottom of the fifth inning when Marvin Gorgas strode to the plate with a runner on first and no outs. Portland coach Rick Borg called timeout and went to the mound to talk with his junior pitcher Cole Ogorzalek. Gorgas, who beat the Highlanders with a two-run homer earlier in the year, represented the tying run. But that didn’t seem to matter. Borg walked the Shoreline Conference Player of the Year intentionally.
“The thought there was that Marvin kills us,” Borg explained. “Marvin belongs in a higher league. So we wanted to take our chances going after the other guys that belong in this league.”
Three batters later, the Highlanders got out of the inning unscathed with a bases-loaded double play.
Yup, it was that kind of day for the Portland baseball team.
The No. 17 Highlanders stunned the top-seeded Bellringers, 4-1, in a Class S second round contest Tuesday afternoon at East Hampton High School.
Portland (13-9), which defeated Coventry, 3-0, in the opening round, advanced to the Class S quarterfinals, where they will host No. 25 Old Lyme (11-11) on Friday.
“This is huge,” said Ogorzalek. “I can’t remember the last time we went this far in the tournament. And taking down the No. 1 seed…it’s unimaginable for us.”
Ogorzalek, a junior righthander, scattered six hits, walked four and struck out three in a terrific complete game effort.
“I thought Cole was outstanding,” said Borg. “We know we have a gamer, a throwback player. If we have any chance we have a chance with Cole and he was tremendous today.”
The SLC teams split two games during the regular season, including a 3-0 win by Portland in their season-opener.
“We’re not the first No. 1 seed in any sport to get knocked off,” said East Hampton coach Scott Wosleger. “You’ve got to give Portland a ton of credit. They were excited to be here. We knew we were going to have our hands full.”
The Highlanders took advantage of a pair of infield miscues and grabbed a 2-0 lead in the second inning against Bellringers starter Zac Harrington. Mike Bordonaro’s RBI single made it 1-0 and then Bordonaro later scored by sliding home ahead of a fielder’s choice grounder by Roland Thivierge.
East Hampton (20-4) closed the gap to 2-1 on Dylan Riley’s RBI single in the third. But the Bellringers had potential rallies thwarted by getting two base runners picked off first by Ogorzalek, and another runner thrown out stealing.
“When you’re in the state tournament or the conference tournament or whatever postseason it is and you make mistakes, good teams will capitalize on them,” said Wosleger.
Hayden Manning’s sacrifice fly, which scored John Muskatello, gave Portland a 3-1 lead in the fourth against reliever Zac Johnson.
But the moment of truth came in the bottom of the fifth.
After Ogorzalek intentionally walked Gorgas, putting runners on first and second with no outs, Johnson moved both runners into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt.
Riley drew a walk to load the bases but Ogorzalek got Matt Sevigny to hit a hard grounder to senior shortstop Nick Adamsons for a 6-4-3 double play.
“(East Hampton’s) an outstanding team,” said Borg. “We know if we bring our ‘A’ game that we have a chance. That’s all we have is a chance and we brought our ‘A’ game today.”
Manning’s RBI double in the sixth gave Portland an insurance run.
“We faced them three times this year and they’ve always giving us a battle,” said Gorgas. “You can be the best out there but everybody is going to have their bad days and unfortunately we picked today to be our bad day.”