(Bridgton ME) Brookfield took an 8-7 lead in the second inning and rode that score to win the 2015 New England 10U Regional baseball title on Thursday afternoon at the Ham Complex in Bridgton.
The Barracudas, from Connecticut, move on to the Cal Ripken World Series held in nearby (??) Jonesboro, Arkansas in early August.
Once Brookfield rallied back to get the lead in the second their coaching staff switched shortstop Chris Catania to pitcher, first baseman Matt Guilbeault to short and pitcher Casey Katz to first. Those moves turned out to be directly connected to the Brookfield win.
Chris Catania allowed only one hit over the final four innings and struck out five. He threw strikes and put up an occasional changeup that handcuffed several Marlboro batters.
In the tense final inning (sixth), Matt Guilbeault snared a line drive to start the Marlboro frame. Then Matt rushed a slow grounder, rushed his throw but 1B Casey Katz dug out the errant throw and caught speedy Ryan Taylor for the second out. After Braden Deckers reached, Austin Hunt’s fly ball to center was easily handled by CF Cameron Cole and the Brookfield celebration began.
Marlboro (representing Western Massachusetts) nearly defeated Brookfield two days earlier. In that 2-1 loss Marlboro carried a 1-0 lead into the late innings but an infield 2-run throwing error gave Brookfield the runs needed to win.
So you can imagine that Marlboro got pretty excited early in this game when they put across five runs in the first inning. The visitors were already chanting, “I believe that we will win,” in the top half of the first inning! That’s way too early no matter who the opponent is. Against undefeated, in the tournament, Brookfield it was silly early.
Marlboro’s Ryan Taylor tripled over CF Cameron Cole’s head off of Brookfield starter Casey Katz to lead off the Marlboro first. Cam Ginnetti’s sac fly scored Ryan. Later, Adam Cronin singled to bring home Braden Deckers. Then it was Jack McCabe’s turn to get a big hit as his single to right brought teammates Austin Hunt and Adam Cronin across. Marlboro reloaded the bases and the tenth batter of the inning (Ryan Taylor) walked forcing in LT Quirion.
Marlboro ran into the final out of highly-productive inning at the plate. Brookfield catcher Kyle Rosa quickly retrieved a passed ball and tossed to pitcher Casey Katz who was able to tag Drew DeFranzo for the last out.
Down 5-0, Marlboro turned aggressive and came back with four runs. Key play for certain (maybe of the game?) happened after Brookfield loaded the bases with one out. Catcher Drew DeFranzo chased down pitcher Ryan Taylor’s wild pitch and looked to have a good chance to get Jake Micelli trying to score. Not only did Marlboro not get Jake but Drew’s throw went past Ryan and through the opening into the Marlboro dugout. That throw allowed two more runs to score. So Brookfield picked up three runs on that wild pitch and bad throw. That’s costly for sure! Later, after a terrific catch by CF Jason Knollenberg, Ryan Sanborn tripled to the left field corner scoring Casey Katz.
Marlboro added two more runs in their half of the second. An infield bobble (2B Jake Micelli) put runners on first and second. Adam Cronin’s single between third and short delivered Austin Hunt. Jack McCabe’s fielder’s choice enabled Cam Ginnetti to add Marlboro’s 7th run.
Brookfield erased their 7-4 deficit with a 4-run second. Matt Guilbeault walked with the bases loaded on a 3-2 count to force in the first run (Caden Borges). Cameron Cole followed with a hot shot through the right side of the Marlboro infield bringing across teammates Jake Micelli and Chris Catania. Brad Deckers came on to relieve Ryan Taylor and was greeted with an RBI single to center by Casey Katz that brought Matt Guilbeault in with the 8th Brookfield tally. Third baseman Adam Cronin started a 5-4 double play to get Marlboro out of the inning.
Never dreamed that no more runs would be scored but that is what happened. Chris Catania and Marlboro’s Austin Hunt threw strikes (Austin had five K’s) and that score held up.
What didn’t hold up was the rain which resulted in a 10-minute delay in the 4th inning. Typical Maine rain. I live five miles from the Bridgton Complex and my wife reported that it never rained there.
Marlboro ran into an out leading off the third inning. Drew DeFranzo walked and just kept running to second. Pitcher Chris Catania’s throw to shortstop Matt Guilbeault had Drew by plenty.
The visitors had solo runners reach in the 4th and 6th but Chris Catania had strikeouts and solid defense behind him to carry the day.
Cameron Cole was named MVP of the Brookfield team. He had two hits, two RBI, and scored a run.
Casey Katz and Ryan Sanborn had two hits apiece in Brookfield’s nine-hit attack.
Jack McCabe registered three RBI for Marlboro.
Adam Cronin (Marlboro MVP) had two of their seven hits.
This tournament was well organized. Three officials were used in the championship game.
If Marlboro had won this game there would have been another game between the same two teams shortly afterwards. Why? This was a double-elimination tournament and Brookfield had yet to lose.
Give credit to the fans from both sides for coming out on a Thursday afternoon. Brookfield is at least five hours away while Marlboro is over three hours.
(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)