BRISTOL >> Tolland rallied for five runs in the fourth inning and forced a deciding game in the American Legion Northern Regional tournament finals with a 6-3 victory over RCP on Tuesday night at Muzzy Field in Bristol.
RCP (21-5) and Tolland (24-7) will meet tonight at 6:30 p.m. at Muzzy. The winner will face Zone 3 champion Cheshire in the best-of-three state championship series on Friday (6:30 p.m.) at Cubeta Stadium in Stamford.
Cheshire defeated Stamford, 7-5, in the Southern Regional final.
Tolland, the Zone 8 champions who eliminated Simsbury, 3-1, earlier in the day, trailed 2-0 after two innings.
After getting a run in the third on a wild pitch, Tolland sent nine batters to the plate in the fourth again RCP starter Tom Seaver (3.2 innings, six hits, six strikeouts).
Ben Clough, Kevin Salina, Tyler Lechman and Jake Kalette reached on consecutive singles, with Salina and Kalette getting RBI hits. Luke Broadhurst then capped Tolland’s big inning with a two out, bases loaded single that cleared the bases for a stunning 6-2 lead.
RCP also committed two errors that led to a pair of runs in that frame.
“It was one bad inning,” said RCP coach Jay Hickey. “It was tough. Other than that we played pretty well.”
Tolland righthander Dallon Asnes allowed six hits over 7.2 innings to earn the pitching win.
“He made some clutch pitches,” Hickey added. “He had a lot of 3-1 and 3-2 counts and get some ground balls. He did a good job throwing strikes when he had too, which was tough. We couldn’t get any extra freebies out there and unfortunately we didn’t get the big hits a couple of times.”
Chris Bouchard’s RBI single in the first gave RCP a 1-0 lead. Seaver’s RBI single in the second scored Christian Budzik for a 2-0 advantage.
RCP righthander Tucker Lord relieved Seaver in the fourth and allowed just one hit while striking out five over the final five innings.
“Tucker did a great job and kept us in the game,” said Hickey. “It’s all you can ask for him.”
RCP got the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the ninth against Tolland reliever Tim Ford. Cole Ogorzalek (2-for-4) and Seaver (3-for-5) reached on singles and Kevin Radziewicz laced a two out RBI single to make it 6-3.
But Ford got an infield pop out for the final out.