TORRINGTON, August 18 – It will be the rookies against the veterans in the Tri-State League championship series that begins Tuesday night at Fuessenich Park in Torrington.
The Terryville Black Sox, who won the Tri-State League regular season championship with a record of 15-3, will be playing in their first Tri-State League final after sweeping two games from the Litchfield Cowboys.
The Black Sox will be facing the Tri-Town Trojans, who won the final two games of their semifinal series against Naugatuck, to earn a spot in the finals for the seventh time in the last eight seasons. Tri-Town hasn’t had much success in the finals, winning only in 2013.
Five members of the Tri-State League Hall of Fame will be inducted prior to Game 1 on Tuesday. Game two of the best-of-3 series will be Wednesday in Torrington with game 3, if necessary, set for Thursday at 7 p.m.
The five men who will be inducted into the Tri-State League Hall of Fame include:
- Ryan McDonald, who founded and coached the Tri-Town Trojans for 10 years;
- Marc DiDominizio, the current baseball coach at Manchester High and long-time player for Brass City and Blasius Chevrolet;
- Jim Mischke, the long-time catcher for the Thomaston Spoilers, who helped found the Terryville Black Sox in 2007;
- Three-time Tri-State League champion Darrin Gould of the Torrington Rebels and
- Litchfield’s Kyle Weaver, who helped the Cowboys win three Tri-State League titles in five years.
The Black Sox (25-5) have had a busy post-season. They won a share of their first-ever state championship with Blasius Chevrolet-Waterbury in the Stan Musial tournament. The Sox qualified for the AABC Northeast World Series and finished second to defending champion Braintree, Mass.
Terryville beat Litchfield in the first game of the Tri-State League semifinals, 6-4, thanks to strong pitching from Jake Kowicki, who pitched 8.1 innings, struck out five and allowed six hits. Kody Kerski was 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI for Terryville while Ian Schmidt was 2-for-5 with a double. Tony Patrane was 2-for-4 with a double as well.
Trailing by one run, Terryville scored three times in the fifth inning to take the lead on a two-out, two-RBI single from Kerski to center field and a RBI single from Christian Callahan.
In game two of the series, Terryville had 12 hits in a decisive 12-3 victory over the Cowboys. Callahan was 4-for-5 with a double and one RBI while Chris Ayer was 2-for-5 with three RBI, including a two-RBI single in the sixth inning.
The Black Sox led by two runs in the sixth but they loaded the bases with three walks and took a 6-3 lead with a fourth walk. Then, Ayer’s two-RBI single extended the lead to 8-3. Ayer also had a key sacrifice fly in the fifth inning that scored a run and gave the Black Sox the lead for good, 4-3.
Kerski got the win on the mound, pitching eight innings and striking out 12.
Patane was an All-Tri-State League shortstop a year ago while teammate Ian Schmidt was an All-League catcher. The Black Sox added a pair of All-League outfielders to the roster this spring — Ayer and Callahan — when the state champion Watertown Blaze folded.
Terryville will be facing a Tri-Town team that has plenty of post-season experience. The Trojans (18-5) dropped the opener of their semifinal series to Naugatuck, 9-7 but they rallied to tie the series with a 5-3 victory.
In game three, pitcher Dan Livingston pitched eight strong innings and gave up just two hits with a 3-2 victory. Ryan Plourde did hit a two-run home run in the seventh inning for Naugatuck but the Trojans were able to close it out for another finals appearance.
Tri-Town finished tied with Naugatuck this year for second place in the league with a 14-4 record.
NOTES: There was a Terryville team in the Tri-State League from 1995 through 2003. That team won Tri-State League titles in 1996 and in 2000. The Black Sox joined the league in 2007.
Tuesday, August 14
Terryville Black Sox 6, Litchfield Cowboys 4
Naugatuck Dogs 9, Tri-Town Trojans 7
Wednesday, August 15
Terryville 12, Litchfield 3, Terryville wins series, 2-0
Tri-Town 5, Naugatuck 3
Thursday, August 16
Tri-Town 3, Naugatuck 2, Tri-Town wins series, 2-1
At Fuessenich Park, Torrington
Tuesday, August 21
Game 1: Terryville (25-5) vs. Tri-Town (18-5), 7 p.m.
Wednesday, August 22
Game 2: Terryville vs. Tri-Town, 7 p.m.
Thursday, August 23
Game 3: Terryville vs. Tri-Town, 7 p.m., If necessary
Recent Tri-State League championship series
2017: Naugatuck Dogs def. Tri-Town, 2-0 (13-2, 8-2)
2016: Watertown Blaze def. Naugatuck, 2-1 (4-2, 2-5, 3-1)
2015: Litchfield Cowboys def. Tri-Town, 2-1 (3-0, 2-5, 4-1)
2014: Wolcott Scrappers def. Tri-Town, 2-0 (6-0, 4-2)
2013: Tri-Town def. Naugatuck, 2-1 (2-0, 4-8, 2-1 in 12)
2012: Litchfield def. Waterbury Wild, 2-1 (1-11, 6-4, 5-3)
2011: Litchfield def. Tri-Town, 2-0 (7-2, 2-1)
2010: Bethlehem Plowboys def. Tri-Town, 2-0 (5-3, 2-1)
2009: Brass City Brew def. Bethlehem, 2-0 (4-1, 3-1)