PLYMOUTH, July 16, 2021 – Taking a little inspiration from the 2004 Boston Red Sox, who won four straight elimination games to win the American League championship series, Simsbury’s Little League baseball team did the same thing to capture the District 6 title in the Major Division (ages 11-12).
Cameron DeVita’s single with the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth inning drove in the winning run as Simsbury beat East Granby/Granby, 3-2, Friday night at Janser Field to win their third straight D6 Major Division championship.
The game-winning hit came just a few minutes after East Granby/Granby had tied the game at 2-2 on a solo home run in the top of the sixth inning from Jake Teclaw.
“I’m just so proud,” Simsbury manager Scott Dolch said. “We had to win four games to win this (tournament). The heart of these kids to battle (back). They couldn’t lose a game coming out of the loser’s bracket. We told them to take it one game at a time.”
Simsbury (7-2) advances to the state tournament where they will compete in the three-team Section II group beginning on Wednesday here at Janser Field in Plymouth when they face the winner of Tuesday night’s game between District 3 champion Shelton and District 5 champion Yalesville of Wallingford.
Simsbury lost their first game in the double-elimination portion of the District 6 tournament last week to Burlington, 3-2, on a two-out double in the top of the sixth inning. If the team was going to win the district title and play in the state tournament, they were going to have to win four consecutive games.
The coaching staff showed the team a video about the Red Sox’ historic comeback against their arch-rival New York Yankees in 2004 – years before these Simsbury players were born. Boston trailed New York, 3-0, in the American League championship series but won four games in a row to win the pennant – the first time a Major League baseball team ever erased a three-game deficit to win a playoff series.
“There were a few Yankee fans (amongst the players) but we were talking about taking one game at a time,” Dolch said. “The biggest thing is that every day is a new day and someone will have to step up. That was our message. Why not us? And let’s play for each other.”
One of the rallying cries of the 2004 Red Sox team was “Why not us?”
Simsbury won their next two D6 tournament games with a 6-1 win over Torrington and a dominating 10-0 win over Burlington with two Simsbury pitchers (James Szajna, Hayden Davis) allowing just one hit.
That brought Simsbury to the finals where they would have to beat undefeated East Granby/Granby twice to win the District 6 title. On Tuesday, Simsbury pitcher John Mascaro struck out 12 and gave up three hits in a 4-2 victory to set up Friday’s one-game showdown for the championship.
East Granby/Granby (6-2), which was looking for their first-ever D6 championship at the Major Division level, took the early lead on Jadan Adam’s RBI single in the third inning. Teammate Joe Lewis walked with two outs, moved to second on Carmelo Roman’s single to centerfield and scored on Adam’s hit.
Simsbury responded with two runs in the bottom of the third to take a 2-1 lead.
Mason Dolch reached base on a fielder’s choice and was replaced at first base by pinch runner Harrison Mulready, who moved to second base after a single from teammate Connor Budzik. Mulready and Budzik each moved up a base on a passed ball.
Mulready scored on a RBI single from Jackson Davis to tie the game at 1-1 with Budzik moving to third base. Simsbury tried a double steal but Budzik was thrown out at home for the second out of the inning while Davis managed to get to third base during the rundown.
Simsbury’s Matthew Watson walked and Simsbury tried the double steal again. Watson got into a rundown between first and second base but before East Granby/Granby could tag him out, Davis scored from third base for a 2-1 lead.
Teclaw’s one-out home run in the top of the sixth inning tied the game at 2-2.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, David led off the inning with a single and moved to second base on a passed ball. Watson reached base with a bunt single before East Granby/Granby intentionally walked Connor Broderick to load the bases.
DeVita’s single through a drawn-in infield won the game for Simsbury.
“That is where the spirit of this team is,” Scott Dolch said. “It takes all 13 guys to win this. I’m so happy. They played for each other.”
Davis was 3-for-3 for Simsbury with one RBU while Budzik was 2-for-3. East Granby/Granby’s Teclaw was 3-for-3 and the only player with an extra-base hit with his sixth inning homer. On the mound, Teclaw got the start and went five innings, allowing five hits and striking out seven.
Simsbury’s starting pitcher James Szajna allowed just four hits and struck out three. Hayden Davis picked up the win in relief.
Simsbury 3, East Granby/Granby 2
East Granby/Granby (6-2) 001 001 — 2-5-0
Simsbury (7-2) 002 001 — 3-8-2
Jake Teclaw, Jaden Adams (6) and Gunnar Castle; James Szajna, Hayden Davis (5) and Mason Dolch; WP: Davis; LP: Adams; 2B: none; 3B: none; HR: Teclaw (EG/G)
Simsbury 4, East Granby/Granby 2
At Plymouth (Thurs. July 15)
East Granby/Granby (6-1) 000 002 — 2-3-0
Simsbury (6-2) 000 31x — 4-11-2
Will Auer and Gunnar Castle; John Mascaro, Hayden Davis (6) and Mason Dolch; WP: Mascaro; LP: Auer; 2B: Jackson Davis (S); HR: Carmelo Roman (EG/G)
Recent District 6 championship games
2020: Simsbury 8, Tri-Town 2
2019: Simsbury 7, Burlington 1
2018: Avon 10, Simsbury 4
2017: Canton 7, Burlington 0
2016: Avon 12, Simsbury 2
2015: Avon 14, Burlington 2 (4)
2014: Simsbury 10, Burlington 1
2013: Burlington 8, Avon 6
2012: Avon 16, Burlington 4
2011: Avon 11, Torrington Americans 7
2010: Simsbury Americans 9, Avon 7
2009: Avon 12, Simsbury American 2
2008: Burlington 7, Avon 5
2007: Avon 8, Thomaston 0
2006: Simsbury National 4, Avon 3
2005: Avon 15, Simsbury National 5 (4)
2004: Avon 8, Simsbury American 2
2003: Simsbury American 12, Simsbury National 2 (5)
2002: Simsbury American 1, Avon 0
2001: Burlington 8, Torrington National 4
2000: Terryville 6, Torrington National 1
1999: Tri-Town 7, Granby 6
1998: Simsbury National 7, Tri-Town 6
1997: Simsbury American 8, Terryville 3
1996: Torrington American 10, Simsbury National 0
1995: Simsbury 10-9, Terryville 4-6 (best of 3 final)