Ryan Carroll and Andrew Harvey combined on the pitcher’s mound to limit Simsbury to one unearned run and the Trumbull Babe Ruth 13U District 2 champions won their final state tournament round-robin game 7-1 in the first game of a doubleheader at Paul Cubeta Stadium in Stamford on Monday night.
Manager Mike Buswell’s team had to wait until the nightcap was settled between Stamford and Waterford to determine the two teams from the American Division that would advance to play the top two seeds from the National Division in the state semifinals at 5:30 and 8 p.m. at Cubeta on Thursday.
Waterford knocked off Stamford 7-3. Each team allowed only six runs through the three round-robin games and will advance to Thursday’s 5:30 semifinal game at Cubeta. Trumbull allowed seven to place third in the American Division. New Milford and Darien are the top two seeds from the National Division and will play at 8.
The championship game is Friday at 7 at Cubeta. The semifinal and final game will be broadcast live on the HAN Network.
“Our 13U team had terrific team chemistry, played for each other and as one unit throughout the season,” said Buswell, who was assisted by Bob Buswell and Jack McFarland. “They made fantastic strides this year going a combined 6-1 in district and state tournament play. Our boys played Trumbull baseball and set an excellent example for our younger teams to follow. They also made their parents and our fans very proud of them.
“It’s unfortunate they don’t get the opportunity to advance to the state semifinals due to a three-way tiebreaker with the third tiebreaker rule eliminating us from tournament play. This is something we will learn from and come back better than ever.”
Trumbull 13s will next be competing at the East Shore Tournament and the War at the Shore.
Buswell had decided not to tell his team how important it was to not only defeat Simsbury, but defeat the District 5 champions from scoring runs.
Carroll, a lefthander, pitched his way out of a bases-loaded jam in the top of the first inning. One-out singles by Andrew Oken and Alex Kasson around a walk to Rory Walker filled the bags, but Carroll retired Shane Walker on a pop fly to Jake Gruttadauria at shortstop.
Matt Bagley, playing the sun field in left, made a great catch coming in on the run on opposing pitcher Spencer Clarke’s flare to retire the side.
Trumbull got right after it in the bottom of the first, as it sent nine batters to the plate and took a 5-0 lead.
Ray Leonzi walked, stole second, went to third on Brandon Buda’s single and scored when Christian Van Zyl’s grounder to the left side was misplayed.
Ryan Teixeira’s sacrifice fly scored Buda.
Jack Allen walked with two outs before Gruttadauria’s grounder went for an error as Van Zyl crossed the plate.
John Morello followed with a two-run single to right.
Carroll set down Simsbury in order in the second.
Bagley put down a great bunt for a single and went to second on an errant throw. Leonzi’s shot up the middle went for a hit, but Clarke put the next three outs in the book.
Simsbury got on the scoreboard in the third.
Mike Demio reached on a one-out infield error and scored on Rory Walker’s ringing double to left field. When Kasson followed with a single, Harvey came on in relief and snared a liner to leave two runners in scoring position.
Harvey retired Simsbury in order in the fourth, with the first two outs coming on comebackers to the right-handed hurler. Allen at second base made a stellar play going into right field to catch a ball off the bat of Tommy Dennehe for the third out.
Jackson Vicente led off the home third with a single to center. He advanced to third, but was stranded when Paolo Ceneliva at third caught Teixeira’s hard liner.
Leonzi singled and stole his third base of the game for naught in the fourth.
Ian Calabrese doubled inside the third base bag to open the Simsbury fifth. Harvey got a ground-out to Allen, as Calabrese moved up a base.
In most cases leading by four, the infield could play back and concede the run.
Not here. Trumbull played the infield in. Harvey notched a strikeout before catching a fly ball on the third base side of the infield. He would retire the last nine batters he faced.
Trumbull made it 6-1 in the fifth.
Van Zyl singled and Teixiera walked with Kyle Occhione pinch-running at first. Vicente hit the ball to the right side of the infield. The tag was made on Occhione, but the ball wasn’t in the glove and all the runners were safe.
Allen singled home Van Zyl before Clarke struck out two batters and Shane Walker in left made another of a string of fine catches to retire Harvey.
Buda and Occhione walked with two outs in the sixth and Teixeira singled to center to account for the 7-1 final.
Trumbull 13 team members are Matt Bagley, Ray Leonzi, Brandon Buda, Ryan Carroll, Christian Van Zyl, Kyle Occhione, Andrew Harvey, Robert Goldstein, John Morello, Ryan Teixeira, Jackson Vicente, Jake Gruttadauria and Jack Allen.