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Canton beats Torrington for 5th win, keeps flickering Tri-State playoff hopes alive

Canton’s Heath Cotton had a RBI single in Tuesday night’s Tri-State League 7-4 victory over Torrington. He also had two assists and two putouts at second base.

TORRINGTON, July 16 – It has been a busy six days for the Canton Crushers baseball team. In that time, the Crushers have played four games and have won two.

Canton rapped out 12 hits on Tuesday night as they beat the Torrington Rebels, 7-4, in Tri-State League action for their fifth win of the season. The victory kept their slim Tri-State League playoff hopes alive.

The Crushers (5-11) need to win their final two games on Thursday against Wolcott’s Valley Thunder and Saturday at Amenia, N.Y., and get some big-time help.

Southington (6-11) needs to lose their final regular season game on Sunday to Northwest Connecticut; Amenia (5-9) needs to lose to Blasius Chevrolet on Thursday and Winsted (5-10) needs to lose at least two of their final three games. The top 12 teams earn a spot in the playoffs.

Canton had 12 hits in Tuesday night’s win over Torrington at Fuessenich Park with pitcher Taylor Riley going 3-for-4 with a double and Jim Spirito and Jake Bryant with two hits each. Nick Michanczyk ripped a two-RBI triple for the Crushers.

On the mound, Riley went the distance, scattering seven hits and striking out four.

Canton took a 5-0 lead in the second inning against the Rebels with six hits in the inning.

Riley doubled and scored on Heath Cotton’s RBI single. Chris VandeBogart was hit by a pitch and Nick Michanczyk smacked a two-run triple to give Canton a 3-0 advantage. Jim Michanczyk hit a RBI single to drive in Nick Micahanczyk and increase the lead to 4-0. Spirito’s RBI single drove in Andrew Tremblay for a 5-0 Crusher lead.

With four hits in the bottom of the third inning, the Rebels (2-13) scored three runs to pull within two of the lead.

But Canton pulled away. The Crushers took a 6-3 lead when Nick Michanczyk drew a bases-loaded walk in the fifth inning. In the sixth, Canton’s Andrew Tremblay reached on an error but eventually scored on Jake Bryant’s RBI single.

Canton played a doubleheader on Sunday with the Tri-State League’s newest expansion team – the Northwest Connecticut Orioles out of Falls Village. In the opener, Orioles pitcher Anthony Lupiano went the distance in a 9-0 shutout win. Lupiano limited Canton to four hits and struck out three. Outfielder Spenser Cookson was 2-for-3 with a triple and one RBI to lead the O’s.

In game two, Canton’s bats came alive in the fourth inning with five runs to take a 5-2 lead. Riley had a two-RBI single in the inning.

Northwest Connecticut scored four times in the top of the fifth inning, sparked by a RBI double from Jack MacAuliffe and a two-run triple from Cookson to take a 6-5.

The Crushers added three more runs in bottom of the fifth inning with a pair of back-to-back doubles from Riley and Heath Cotton to push the lead to 8-6 advantage.

In the top of the seventh, the Orioles pulled within a run on Jack MacAuliffe’s RBI single, 8-7. With a runner on first base, Spirito bore down, retiring three players in a row to end the game. He got the next two batters to fly out and struck out Cookson to secure the victory.

Cotton was 3-for-3 with a double and RBI in the game two victory while Riley was 2-for 3 with two RBI.

Last Thursday against Burlington, the Hunters had 10 hits in a 9-2 win over Canton. For Burlington, George Zarbuta, Alex Hanson and Napolitano each had two hits. Zapolitano and Zaruba had a double and triple for Burlington, the home team.

Burlington hurler Ty Morin allowed just five hits and struck out three. For Canton, Spirito was 2-for-3 with a double and single. Nick Michanczyk had a double while Ben Sullivan and Chris VandeBogart each had singles.

Several teams are vying for the final spots in the Tri-State League playoffs. The top 12 teams qualify.

Team Rec. Games left
11. NW Connecticut 6-9 3
12. Amenia, N.Y. 5-9 4
13. Southington 6-11 1
14. Winsted 5-10 3
15. Canton 5-11 2

Canton 7, Torrington 4
At Torrington
Canton (5-11)                    050  011  0  — 7-12-2
Torrington (2-13)            003  001  0  — 4-7-2
Taylor Riley and Jake Bryant; Josh Rubino, Brandon Yorich (7) and Greg Bodnar; WP: Riley (2-4); LP: Rubino; 2B: Shawn Grose (T); Taylor Riley (Ca); 3B: Nick Michanczyk (Ca)

Canton 8, Northwest Connecticut 7
At Canton (July 14)
NW Connecticut (6-8)    002  041  0 – 7-9-1
Canton (4-11)                    000  530  x  –8-7-2
Jimmy Spirito and Jeff Mulhall; unknown and Nicos; WP: Spirito (2-5); LP: unknown; 2B: Taylor Riley (Ca), Heath Cotton (Ca), Cavan Brady (NW), Jack MacAuliffe (NW); 3B: Spencer Cookson (NW)

Northwest Connecticut 9, Canton 0
At Canton (July 14)
Canton (3-11)                    000  010  0  — 0-4-4
NW Connecticut (6-7)    031  500  x  — 9-7-1
Taylor Riley and Jeff Mulhall; Anthony Lupiano and Spenser Cookson; WP: Lupiano; LP: Riley (1-4); 2B: none; 3B: Spenser Cookson (NW); HR: none

Burlington 9, Canton 2
At Burlington (July 11)
Canton (3-10)                    000  002  0  — 2-5-3
Burlington (6-7)                230  130  x  — 9-10-0
Jim Spirito and Jake Bryant; Ty Morin and Zack Martin; WP: Morin; LP: Spirito (1-5); 2B: Jim Spirito (Ca), Nick Michanczyk (Ca); Napolitano (B), Justin Campbell (B); 3B: Steve Caruso (B)

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of The Collinsville Press. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 40 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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