STAFFORD SPRINGS >> Midnight came early for Cinderella.
Coginchaug Regional’s baseball team, which came out of nowhere to win seven of eight down the stretch and win the Shoreline Conference playoffs in dramatic fashion, ran out of pitching Thursday and was beaten by No. 1 ranked Stafford, 14-0, in the second round of the CIAC Class S tournament at Stafford High School.
“We ran out of bullets on the mound,” Coginchaug coach Ted Lombardo said. “We went for the Shoreline title and we got it, but it took 12 innings. Then we went nine innings yesterday in our tournament win over Windsor Locks.
“John [Mormile] and Zach [Terrill] pitched a lot lately and I’m not going to hurt them. And Kyle [Farrell] pitched three games in a row and that’s asking a lot. I thought Kyle [Wyzkiel, starter] did a good job, but our Nos. 1 and 2 were gassed.”
Besides running out of pitching, another reason the clock struck 12 early was Columbia University-bound Stafford ace Josh Simpson. He threw a complete game four-hitter, striking out 10. He didn’t walk a man.
“Josh has been a four-year starter for us,” Stafford coach Scott Martin said. “He’s been our go-to guy throughout the season. He’s our horse and he just pounds the strike zone. I’ve seen him better than he was today and I’ve seen him worse. But he was pretty good. Our kids have a different mindset when he’s on the mound.”
This was a game for four innings as the Bulldogs led 4-0 going to the fifth. But the roof fell in on the Blue Devils in that inning as Stafford scored 10 times.
Stafford got a little lucky in the first when it scored twice. Alex Hoss (2-for-5) opened the frame with a single. Luke Broadhurst followed with a fly ball to right, but Mormile lost the ball in the sun. It fell for a hit and scored Hoss, who was running on the pitch. Hunter Davis tripled with two outs and the Bulldogs led 2-0.
Stafford (19-3) made it 4-0 in the fourth on another two-out hit, this time a two-run double to the fence in left field by No. 9 hitter Mitchell Quaqliaroli (2-for-3). The hit scored Pat Broadhurst (2-for-4) and Connor Hutchins (3-for-4), both of whom singled.
“It took us a while to wake up,” said Martin. “We weren’t taking aggressive swings early, then in the fifth we started to do that. Our defense was sound and if we can continue to do that and get some timely hitting, I like our chances.”
In the blowout fifth, Wyskiel hit the first batter. Lombardo replaced him with Farrell, but Farrell had little and gave up seven hits to the nine batters he faced. His defense didn’t help as it made three errors in the inning.
Simpson (2-for-3) showed he could not only pitch, but also swing the bat as he had two hits in the inning, a single and a double, and drove in a run. Stafford had 14 hits.
Sam Marteka finished up, throwing one and two thirds innings, giving up no runs and striking out two.
“Stafford has a good team,” said Lombardo, whose team finishes 15-10. “They put the ball in play. And we didn’t touch their pitcher. He shut us down just like Mormile shuts people down for us.”