TORRINGTON >> Two-time defending Northwest Connie Mack champion Winsted discovered the best antidote for missing players in its 5-3 win over Torrington Sports Palace Saturday night. Winsted came to Fuessenich Park without five starters thanks to vacations or work schedules. “We’re a veteran team. A lot of these guys have played for at least three years,” said Winsted coach Joe Nichols. “I put guys where-ever. They were pretty much all out of position except for our pitcher.” Veteran flexibility was one part of the antidote. A veteran pitcher – Jimi Phillips (7 innings, 3 earned runs, 6 hits, 11 stikeouts, 4 walks) was another. Veteran Eddie Eseppi had the final, most important ingredient: a grand slam home run in the second inning of what, otherwise, would have been a pitcher’s duel between Phillips and Torrington ace Josh Rubino (7 innings, 5 earned runs, 9 hits, 7 strikeouts, 4 walks.). “It was a great cushion,” beamed Phillips. “Torrington has always been our rivals.” Slideshow: Winsted 5 Torrington 3 Winsted’s Rob Cusati (3-for-4, RBI, run), Kevin Kullinski and Ricky Persechino loaded the bases with one out in the second inning on a hit and two walks.
Eseppi, No. 1 in the Winsted lineup, hit what looked like a soft fly ball into the left field corner. “To be honest, I didn’t think it was out,” he grinned. The high fly ball kept floating, finally clearing the fence. “I thought it was out all the way,” laughed Phillips. Down 4-0, Sports Palace had to play catch-up the rest of the way. Adam Fuoco got one back in the bottom of the second on a hit, wild pitch and ground-out by Ben Stone. Ryan Reynolds added another for Winsted the same way in the third: hit, steal and ground-out 5-1. From there, it settled into the pitcher’s duel it might have been. “Josh pitched a great game,” said Torrington coach Bill Heintz. “Jimi’s always been tough on us.” Sports Palace made one last move in the bottom of the seventh. With two outs, P.J. Kilmartin and Ben Stone stood on second and third on a fielder’s choice and a walk. Rubino, coming up for the final part of the duel with his bat, lined a two-run single up the middle. This time, Phillips had the last word. His 11th strikeout ended the game. Winsted 5, Torrington Sports Palace 3 At Fuessenich Park, Torrington Winsted 041 000 0 – 5 9 1 Torrington 010 000 2 – 3 6 2 WP: Jimi Phillips. LP: Josh Rubino. HR: W – Eddie Eseppi. 2B – Ben Bonvicini. Records: Winsted 4-1; Torrington 4-3.