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Southington sweeps Canton but Crushers prepare for first playoff appearance – The Collinsville Press
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Tri-State Baseball

Southington sweeps Canton but Crushers prepare for first playoff appearance

Veteran Jim Spirito and the Crushers face Winsted in game one of their Tri-State League series Friday at Walker Field.

The Canton Crushers are going to the Tri-State League playoffs. The Crushers will be facing Winsted on Friday in game 1 of the best-of-three series at Walker Field in Winsted beginning at 5:45 p.m.

Game two and game three, if necessary, will be Saturday at Bowdoin Field in Canton, beginning at 10 a.m.

OK, it’s not a big surprise that the Crushers are in the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. All 13 teams in the Tri-State League will be participating in the playoffs this year.

In 2019, there were 17 teams in the league and the top 12 made the playoffs. But the COVID-19 pandemic was hard on teams. Three teams folded and one left for another league.

But Canton is still here and still playing and now, they get their first crack at the Tri-State League playoffs. The Crushers went 4-13 this season and earned the No. 12 seed in the field of 13-teams.

The top three teams – Terryville, Tri-Town and Amenia, N.Y. — earned first round byes. Terryville won the last Tri-State League championship in 2019 and nearly won the Connecticut Twilight League title a year ago when they joined that league when the Tri-State League was off due to COVID-19.

Canton has lost their last three games. The Crushers fell to Winsted last week, 12-3 and dropped a doubleheader to Southington on Saturday at Bowdoin Field, 11-2 and 4-0.

Against Southington, Steve Dubois and Matt Rose were each 2-for-3 for Canton in game one. But Southington had 12 hits led by Matt Hochberg, who was 3-for-4 with four RBI and Nick Crocker, who was 2-for-4 with one RBI. Southington hurler Pat Raymond went the distance and struck out nine.

In game two, Southington pitcher Mike Fernandes went the distance and allowed just two Canton hits in a 4-0 win. Heath Cotton had a double for the Crushers while Jake Bryant had a single. Crocker had an RBI double and a RBI single for Southington.

Winsted shut down the Crushers a week ago with pitchers Mark Cummings and Lucas Gruniuk combining to limit Canton to one hit. They did give up 10 walks which helped Canton score three runs in a 12-3 defeat.

Bryant’s single in the third inning broke up the no-hit bid.

Gruniuk was 3-for-4 with a double for Winsted (9-7) while Austin Brochu was 2-for-3 with four RBI and T.J Kent was 2-for-3 with two RBI.

Seeding for the playoffs will be finalized on Wednesday after several postponed games are made up this week.

Stan Musial state tournament
Terryville has shared the last two Stan Musial state championship wins with Blasius Chevrolet out of Waterbury in 2018 and 2019. The 2020 tournament was cancelled due to the pandemic.

This year, the Black Sox will be the Tri-State League’s only entrant in the state tournament.

Only four teams are entered into the tournament with the top two advancing to the AABC Northeast Regional World Series in early August.

Southington 11, Canton 2
At Canton
Southington (6-8)                          040  050  2  — 11-12-0
Canton (4-12)                                 100  001  0  –  2-8-3
Pat Raymond and unknown; Jim Spirito, Matt Rose (6) and Jake Bryant; WP: Raymond; LP: Spirito (1-4); 2B: Spirito (Ca), Lorezetta (S), Carr (S); 3B: Hochberg (S), Taylor Riley (Ca)

Southington 4, Canton 0
At Canton
Canton (4-13)                                 000  000  0  — 0-2-3
Southington (7-8)                          100  210  x  — 4-3-0
Taylor Riley and Jake Bryant; Mike Fernandes and unknown; WP: Fernandes; LP: Riley (2-4); 2B: Nick Crocker (S), Heath Cotton (Ca)

Winsted 12, Canton 3
At Canton (July 13)
Winsted (8-7)                                 142  140  — 12-11-0
Canton (4-11)                                 000  030  — 3-1-0
Mark Cummings, Lucas Gruniuk (6) and unknown; Taylor Riley, Matt Rose (3), Mike Sullivan (5), Mason Goodell (6) and Jake Bryant; WP: Cummings; LP: Riley (2-3); 2B: L. Gruniuk (W), Smith (W), Torres (W)

Tri-State 2021
as of Sunday, July 18
Rec. Pct.
Terryville 15-0 1.000
Tri-Town 14-2 .875
Amenia 14-2 .875
Bethlehem 11-6 .647
Winsted 9-7 .562
Wolcott 8-8 .500
Southington 7-8 .466
Valley Ducks 6-9 .400
Blasius 6-10 .375
Torrington Twisters 5-10 .333
Burlington 4-9 .266
Canton 4-13 .235
Torrington Rebels 0-16 .000

Sunday, July 18

Terryville 6, Valley Ducks 1
Amenia 7, Burlington 4

Saturday, July 17
Southington 11-5, Canton 2-0
Winsted 5, Torrington Twisters 2
Valley Ducks 3, Blasius 1
Bethlehem 12, Torrington Rebels 1
Terryville 4, Tri-Town 3 (10)

Thursday, July 15
Amenia 4, Winsted 1
Bethlehenm 6, Torrington Twisters 1
Blasius 2, Southington 0
Wednesday, July 14
Terryville 1, Burlington 0
Thunder Ducks 6, Torrington Twisters 0
Tuesday, July 13
Winsted 12, Canton 3
Bethlehem 5, Blasius 1
Tri-Town 13, Torrington Rebels 0
Wolcott 14, Torrington Twisters 0
Amenia 11, Thunder Ducks 10
CTL Angels 7, Southington 2

Upcoming games
Monday, July 19
CTL Aftershocks at Torrington Twisters
Burlington at Winsted

Tuesday, July 20
Burlington at Blasius
Terryville at Amenia, 7 p.m.

Wednesday, July 21
Terryville at Tri-Town
Regular season complete

Tri-State League playoffs
First round (top 3 teams get byes)
Best of three
July 23-25
(4) Bethlehem vs. (13) Torrington Rebels
(5) Winsted vs. (12) Canton
(6) Wolcott vs. (11) Torrington Twisters or Burlington
(7) TBA vs. (10) Torrington Twisters or Burlington
(8) TBA vs. (9) TBA

Friday, July 23
Game 1: Canton at Winsted (Walker Field), 5:45 p.m.
Saturday, July 24
Game 2: Winsted at Canton (Bowdoin Field), 10 a.m.
Game 3: Winsted vs. Canton (Bowdoin Field), noon, if necessary

Second round
Best of 3
July 30-August 1

Best of 3
August 6-8

Championship series
Best of 3
Aug. 18-20

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 35 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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