The Rockville High Baseball team has been waiting 13 years to be named conference champion.
The peak of the seventh round against East Granby on Wednesday seemed to last for 13 years for the Rams.
Shortstop Steven Kozak clung to a lead, and was able to throw the potential tie on the plate for the final, as Rockville earned at least a share of the NCCC title by beating the Crusaders 1-0 at Vernon. It’s the Rams’ first championship since sharing the CCC East crown with South Windsor under coach Art Wheelock in 2008.
“I do not remember winning such a game in the last game with so much on the line,” said Rockville coach Greg Caron. “It was the biggest game of the season, and it turned out to be an incredible game.”
Rockville (11-3 overall) is 10-2 in the league as it broke a tie for first place with East Granby (10-4, 9-3). The Rams can take the title directly with victory over HMTCA on May 24.
Anthony Mierez hit a four-hitter for Rockville. He went one and knocked out 13, but did perhaps his best in the second half when he escaped a baseloaded, no-out jam. But the Rams could do little to go against East Granby’s Michael Santos, who gave up just three hits and an unearned run.
“You had what I think are the two best teams and the two best throws that go on each other with the conference championship on the line,” said Caron.
Rockville broke through on the fifth. With one out, Matt Ryan was hit by a pitch. Sam Wheeler then flew out, and when the right fielder made a misleading throw to the first base for a double play, Ryan took second. Joe Stawski then hit a slow roll to stop for a hit. When Ryan rounded the third base, the shortstop tried to catch him on guard and threw himself behind him. But the throw went out of play and Ryan ended the adventure by jogging home.
East Granby took their last shot in the seventh. Ethan Lakomy went to lead and wanted to come to others with two outs. Sean Griffen’s founder between shortstop and third base was knocked down by Kozak on a dive, but when the ball bounced off, Lakomy tried to score. Kozak fired home to catcher Wheeler who appeared to tag Lakomy in a bang-bang game.
“Just a great way to end a great game,” Caron said.
Rockville is home on Friday to host Suffield in a game that will not count against the league table.
ELLINGTON 12, EAST WINDSOR 2. In Ellington, Tommy Garrow had three hits with two doubles and two RBIs as the Knights won a spot in the state tournament with their six-inning NCCC victory.
Ethan Sgarlata had three hits with two RBIs and Jason Leslie had three hits and two races scored for Ellington (8-5), who had 18 hits. Each starter pack had at least one hit. Sgarlata was the winning pitcher who allowed one run and three hits in four rounds. Cam Thomas finished.
SUFFIELD 17, BOLTON 0. In Suffield, Sam Beaudoin threw 4Ï rounds of a hit in the Wildcats’ five-round NCCC victory. He struck out five when he pulled out of 13 of the 14 strokes he faced.
Suffield (4-6) put it away with a 12-run first half and finished with 16 hits. Jack Jamrog had three hits and two RBIs. Beaudoin added two hits while scoring three runs and running in three. Mason Ferrari had two hits while scoring three races and driving in two as Max Beaudoin did. Nick Gomes, Ethan Ryan and Matt Sinofsky had two hits each. Justin Decker had the lone hit for Bolton (0-14).
COVENTRY 8, SMSA 4. In Coventry, winning pitcher Ethan Hunt allowed five hits and no earned races in 5 rounds of work in the Patriots’ NCCC victory. He went five and knocked out five. Vinny Loricco closed and got the last four outs.
Coventry (8-4) led 7-1 after five innings before holding off a strain with SMSA (6-8). Ethan Covell had two hits and three RBIs for the Patriots. Evan Menzel also had two hits.
CANTON 5, STAFFORD 3. In Canton, the Warriors never followed to end Stafford’s six-game winning streak in NCCC action.
Michael Brosnan’s two-run single helped Canton (10-3) with a 3-0 lead in the first half. The Bulldogs (7-6) got a run in the third on an RBI single by Nic Houle and made it 3-2 in the fourth on a baseload walk to Ryan Gilully. Down 5-3 on seventh, Stafford had runners on second and third, but failed to get the key it needed. Collin Gudeman had two hits for Stafford.