HARTFORD, May 23 – Nothing like some pressure-filled games to get your ready for the CIAC state baseball tournament. Coventry got a pair of tough games in Thursday’s NCCC Tournament.
In the semifinals, Coventry pitcher Cole Lalli went the distance on the mound, striking out seven to help the Patriots beat Rockville, 1-0. A few hours later in the championship game, Granby was threatening in the top of the seventh inning with runners on second and third base.
But Lalli had 23 pitches left to throw. He pitched an inning of relief to help the Patriots hold off Granby, 4-3 and capture the NCCC Tournament. Lalli threw 22 pitches and was on his final batter of the game when he struck out Granby’s Matt Ferro to end the game.
Lalli was named the tournament’s most outstanding player. In two games, he had a win and a save on the mound. At the plate, he had a two-out RBI single in the fifth inning to enabled the Patriots to extend their lead to two runs, 4-2.
“It turned out to be a huge team win today,” Coventry High coach Ryan Rogerson said. “Everyone showed up. You can’t replicate the experience of playing these (pressure-filled) game going into (the state) tournament.”
Coventry’s No. 1 pitcher Matthew Cook was unavailable on Thursday. Rogerson said he will be ready to go when the Patriots begin play in the Class S tournament next week.
Granby (17-5) took a 1-0 lead in the third inning when Tyler Mackowski tripled to center field and scored on Parker Hansen’s RBI single to center field. But Coventry (20-2) rallied with three runs in the bottom of the third inning.
With two men on base thanks to a single and an error, Nikola J. Freschlin ripped a two-RBI double to left field to give the Patriots a 2-1 lead. Jordan Jeroszko’s RBI single to third bases increased the lead to 3-1.
Granby cut the lead to 3-2 in the fifth inning on Ben Russell’s two-out RBI single.
The Bears trailed by two runs in the top of the seventh inning when Mackowski coaxed a leadoff walk. Lalli came in and walked Hansen. But he got the next three batters to pop out to second base, fly out to center field and strike out with one pitch left in his arsenal – according to the pitching rules that limit how many a pitcher can throw in a game.
Mackowski was 2-for-3 while Russell was 3-for-4 with two RBI. Devlin was 2-for-4 for the Bears.
Granby had little trouble with Windsor Locks in the semifinals with a 13-0 win in five innings. The Bears had 13 hits in the game led by Russell, who was 3-for-4 with three RBI and one triple. Hansen was 3-for-3 with three RBI and two triples while Josh Selander and Mackowski were each 2-for-3 with a double.
NOTES: Coventry won their NCCC championship with a 15-1 record with Granby finished second in the league at 14-2. The Patriots nipped the Bears, 4-3 on April 23 in their only regular season meeting. … In the semifinal, Coventry scored their lone run in the fifth inning when Jordan Jeroseko singled and scored on John Boutin’s RBI double. … Coventry was playing in their fourth straight NCCC Tournament final. The Patriots had lost in their last three appearances.
Coventry 4, Granby 3
At Hartford (Trinity College)
Granby (18-4) 001 010 1 — 3-10-1
Coventry (19-3) 003 010 x — 4-5-0
Alec Morawiec, Parker Hansen (5) and Adam Wilson; Jordan Jeroszko, Cole Lalli (7) and Josh Malcolm; WP: Jeroszko; LP: Morawiec; Save: Lalli; 2B: Tyler Mackowski (G), Nikola Freschlin (Cov); 3B: Mackowski (G), Sam Attianeses (G), Jeroszko (Cov)
Granby 13, Windsor Locks 0 (5)
At Hartford (Trinity College)
Windsor Locks (14-7) 000 00 — 0-3-1
Granby (17-4) 253 3x — 13-13-0
Miguel Gonzalez, Michael Deluco (2), Austin Tomalonis (5) and unknown; Parker Hansen, Alec Morawiec (3), Ben Russell (5) and Adam Wilson; WP: Hansen; LP: Gonzalez; 2B: Gabe Devin (G), Tyler Mackowski (G), Josh Selander (G); 3B: Parker Hansen (G) 2, Ben Russell (G)
2019 NCCC baseball standings
|x-won league championship
y-won league tournament
Recent NCCC Tournament title games
2019: Coventry 4, Granby 3
2018: Suffield 5, Coventry 2
2017: rained out
2016: Ellington 4, Coventry 0
2015: Avon 9, Coventry 8
2014: Suffield 7, Avon 5
2013: rained out
2012: Ellington 7, Enfield 2
2011: Avon 2, Enfield 1
2010: Canton 8, Ellington 3