— Mike Madera (@MikeMadera2) June 7, 2017
BRISTOL >> Lyman Memorial sophomore Patrick Quealy has been in an admitted slump of late. Quealy picked a great time to snap out of the funk.
Behind Quealy’s run-scoring single in the fourth inning, second-seeded Lyman Memorial defeated sixth-seeded Morgan 1-0 in a Class S semifinal contest at Muzzy Field in Bristol Wednesday evening.
The second-seeded Bulldogs will play top-seeded Holy Cross, a 3-1 victor over Housatonic in the other semifinal contest, in the state finals Saturday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. at Palmer Field in Middletown. The Bulldogs (22-2) will be looking for their first state title in the program’s history.
“This feels great,” Quealy said after reaching base twice. “I have been in a little bit of a slump. I just saw the ball and hit it. It was a big play in the game.”
Morgan coach John Litevich had no comment on the loss.
The second semifinal contest of the day had all the makings of whoever scored first would win as each team escaped early jams before the Bulldogs broke through in the fourth.
With one out, Joseph Pishka laced a hit-and-run single to center, sending Chandler Magnuson to third. Magnuson was not there long as Quealy jumped on the first pitch by Morgan pitcher John Urban, lacing a single to right to score Magnuson for a 1-0 lead.
That was all Lyman Memorial pitcher Wyatt Sihvonen needed. The senior tossed a complete game seven-hitter, striking out ten and not walking a batter.
“I have to give a lot of credit to Colton (Bender),” Sihvonen said of his catcher. “He called a great game again. My fastball was working. I was throwing the two-seamer and hitting my spots. My change was not there. I had to go with my fastball. Our pitching staff has been pretty solid this year. Our pitching has done a really good job this year.”
Each team had its chances early, but neither was able to capitalize. Morgan (18-6) left one runner on in the first and two more in the third after Andrew Fritz and Cooper Thompson hit two-out singles. Sihvonen escaped as he struck out Russell Green to end the threat.
Fritz and Thompson led off the sixth with singles, but Sihvonen retired the next three batters, two by way of strikeout, to hold the one-run lead.
“These guys have put themselves in a position to win a state title,” Lyman Memorial coach Martin Gomez said. “It’s about them and how they have prepared themselves for it. I feel great for them because they are all ball players who love to play the game. We figured out how to win a couple of close games against some tough teams and that’s tournament time. (Quealy) gets the big hit and Wyatt (Sihvonen) was a bulldog on the mound. That’s tournament baseball.”
Urban went the distance for Morgan, allowing just four hits in the loss.