Legion: Trumbull rallies in seventh to stay alive
Danny Ruchalski capped a seventh-inning rally with a two-run single when Trumbull Post 141 ousted Cheshire, 2-1, in the loser’s bracket Southern Division finals at the Senior American Legion (19U) Tournament at Palmer Field in Middletown on Monday night.
Trumbull, the three seed, will meet second seed Stamford at 6:30 on Tuesday at Palmer Field.
A win by Trumbull (2-1) forces another game with Stamford (2-0) for the Southern Division title on Wednesday at 6:30.
A best-of-three series with the Northern Division champion (either Avon or West Hartford) for the state title begins at Palmer on Friday at 6:30.
Trumbull had been limited to one hit, a two-out single by Tony Socci in the second inning, before Post 141 solved the right-handed Adler Demac in the seventh.
Vin DeRubeis singled to left, Jack Lynch had a base hit to right, and Alex Rauso bunted the ball past Demac to load the bases.
Demac notched his fourth strikeout for the first out.
Ruchalski then drove a hard single to center to plate DeRubeis and Lynch.
Lynch retired the side in the seventh to earn the save.
Jared Rosen, who had relieved starter Chris O’Brien with one across and the bases loaded in the sixth, got the win.
O’Brien was outstanding, allowing only two hits, three walks and striking out eight.
Cheshire, the Zone 3 champion, scored an unearned run in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Ben Schena reached with one out on Trumbull’s only error.
Altin Kabashi then lined a ball up the middle off O’Brien’s glove.
It bounded toward shortstop and both runners were safe.
Brandon Clark walked to load the bases for Nick Sansone, who hit a sacrifice fly to center field.
Rosen came on in relief.
He issued a walk, before Dustin Siqueira made a great play behind the second base bag to keep the deficit at one run.
O’Brien set down nine straight batters through the fifth inning.
DeRubeis had a fine play in the hole at first base for the second out in the fifth.
O’Brien stranded a runner at second, after a Kabashi single in the second.
Keying the frame was a diving catch coming in from his left field position by Dan Cellini.
In the third, Sansone opened with walk.
O’Brien struck out the next two batters, but a pair of stolen bases put Sansone on third.
O’Brien threw a third strike past Eli Battipaglia to retire the side.
Ian Battipaglia walked on a 3-2 pitch to get the home third started.
O’Brien caught the next two batters swinging, before Cellini tracked down Kabashi’s fly ball to left for the third out.
Socci had a single to center with one out in the second, but Nemac set down seven consecutive batters.
Rauso reached on a two-base outfield error to open the fifth.
Nemac got Socci to foul out to the catcher, Ruchalski on a fly ball to right, and Cellini on a grounder to second base.