THOMASTON >> The Thomaston Golden Bears came out firing on all cylinders, pushing across six runs in the bottom of the first inning to give them a commanding lead, which turned in a 7-4 win over Morgan, to advance to the Class S semifinals.
“It was a great way to start,” Thomaston head coach Bob McMahon said. “We ended up needing them.”
Thomaston got started in the first, after starter Brian Butkevicius sent the Huskies down in order, Mike Milius hit a hard ground ball to Huskies’ second baseman Gary Forbes who made the play and threw the ball from his seat, away from his first baseman.
Matt Tehan then walked and both runners moved up on a passed ball, Jake Tehan then drove Milius in with a RBI groundout to shortstop. Tyler Donofrio then batted in Matt Tehan with an RBI base hit and it was 2-0, Blaise Russo then singled and Dan LeVasseur roped a long two RBI double to extend the Golden Bears lead.
After another Huskies error allowed LeVasseur to score and Anthony Moura came around to score on a Justin Taylor RBI single, it was 6-0.
“You can’t give a team like that six runs,” Morgan head coach John Litevich said. “It’s hard to come back from that.”
The Huskies though did make a good effort.
Butkevicius stranded two runners on first and second in the second inning, and in the third inning the Huskies finally got through.
After back to back singles, by Greg Lee and Jake Mastroianni and a Jake Tehan error at third base gave the Huskies the bases loaded. Nick Powers would work a walk, scoring the Huskies first run. Jake Ward would sacrifice home Mastoianni and Gary Forbes came home on a Alex Lipka base hit. Powers would score a fielder’s choice, making it a two run game, 6-4.
“We battled,” Litevich said.
After Thomaston would add a run in the bottom of the third, Russo led off inning with a triple and scored on a fielder’s choice, the Huskies would threaten again.
With Ward on second and two outs, Lipka grounded to Milius at shortstop who charged the ball and made a running throw that went past Russo at first. Ward who was running on contact, rounded third and headed for the plate.
After the error, Milius continued to play.
“After I made that terrible throw, my momentum took me towards to dugout and I saw no one at home, so I went there just in case he sent him,” Milius said.
Donofrio who was running up the line, retrieved the ball and look towards home and threw a one hopper to Milius, who blocked the plate like a catcher and tagged out Ward, ending the threat.
“You come to expect that from Mike,” McMahon said. “Tyler threw him a one hop strike.”
Morgan got one in the seventh but that was it, as Butkevicius got the final out to finish off a complete game win, sending the Golden Bears to the Class S semifinals for the first time since 2008, when they won the State Championship.
“Same thing he always does, he keeps coming at them,” McMahon said of his senior starter.
Thomaston will play Cromwell in the Class S semifinals next Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Sage Park in Berlin.
Thomaston 7, Morgan 5
Morgan 004 000 1 — 5 7 3
Thomaston 601 000 X — 7 6 2
Connor McGill and Dylan Ketch; Brian Butkevicius and Tyler Donofrio.
WP: Brian Butkevicius (). LP: Connor McGill (). 2B: (MO) Nick Powers; (THOM) Dan LeVasseur. 3B: (THOM) Blaise Russo. RBI: Powers (2), Ward, Lipka (MO); Jake Tehan, Tyler Donofrio, Dan Lavassuer (2), Anthony Moura, Justin Taylor (THOM);
Team records: Morgan 12-11; Thomaston 20-3.