Bristol Knights swept by Fat Orange Cat Brewers in Connecticut Twilight League championship series

Published on Wednesday, 14 August 2019 23:13
Written by ZACK CARPENTER

@ZACKCARPENTERBP

BRISTOL - The Bristol Knights’ surprising run through the Connecticut Twilight League playoffs came one step shy of a happy ending against the Fat Orange Cat Brewers on Wednesday night. 

Faulty defense in a lopsided 9-2 defeat and an 11-run third inning in a 16-5 game two laugher in four innings led to a sweep in the best-of-three championship series at the hands of the third-seeded Brewers at Muzzy Field. 

The sixth-seeded Knights finished the regular season with a 10-11-1 record and was the final club in the 10-team league to avoid an elimination game in their first playoff contest, but the sweep kept them from winning their fifth CTL title. 

“It was one of those things where baseball is a funny sport, and everything went their way,” Bristol manager/infielder Rick Barrett said. “It was offense, defense, everything bounced right to them. What are you gonna do? That’s baseball. The baseball gods were smiling on that team, and congratulations to them because they had a hell of a season.”

Brewers 9, Knights 2: 

In a sloppy defensive performance, the Knights had more errors (four) than runs scored and almost as many errors as total hits on offense (seven). 

Miscues in the field hurt them right out of the gate and at the end, as the Brewers extended a 5-2 lead with four runs in the top of the seventh, including two scoring on a steal of home and an error by Bristol pitcher Chris McGrath. 

The  Brewers loaded the bases in the first on a single, error and a hit batsman before scratching across two runs on a pair of balls that didn’t leave the infield - one on a fielder’s choice; another on an error. McGrath loaded the bases again but limited the damage to a 2-0 deficit on a pop out to shallow right field. 

Bristol was unable to respond in its offensive half of the first, as Julio Ortiz-Rivera led off with a single but was doubled up at first base by Brewers second baseman Nick Rodriguez. Rodriguez made a sensational diving play on a sinking, softly hit liner into shallow center field, fully extending himself up the middle of the field to snag the ball before hopping up to relay the throw to first. 

Adam Michaud’s one-out double to deep left field paved the way for a 3-0 third-inning lead, as Brian Kohn knocked in Tyler Gibbs on an RBI fielder’s choice, but McGrath left runners on the corners to end the frame. 

Georgie Santiago got the Knights on the board in the bottom half, lasering a double tucked inside the left field foul line, and an error in left field allowed Ortiz-Rivera to score from third. Brewers pitcher Zak Johnson, however, recorded back-to-back outs to keep it a 3-1 lead. 

Bristol catcher Justin Martella, however, gave a three-run lead back to the Brewers in the fourth, a pickoff attempt down to third base going into left field and allowing a run to score after the Knights had committed their third error of the game moments earlier. The Brewers tacked on, making it a 5-1 cushion with another run on an RBI single by Johnson. 

Martella jump-started a rally in the bottom of the fifth with a leadoff single, and Ortiz-Rivera followed with a single. Ben Mazzone, who grounded into a fielder’s choice, moved up to third base, and Ortiz-Rivera moved to second on an error. Mazzone scored on a wild pitch, but Santiago fouled out to the catcher, and Rick Barrett fouled out to third to spoil the rally opportunity. 

Michaud gave the Brewers insurance in the seventh, driving a run in on a double to deep center and scoring on Marvin Gorges’ RBI single. Gorges then stole home, and Miles Laureano also scored as the throw to the plate from McGrath went wide and bounced away. 

“[Those errors] buried us,” Barrett said. “I did [talk] about that earlier in the season, and that’s what took us down earlier in the season. We didn’t have that issue in the playoffs until tonight.”

Brewers 16,  Knights 5 (4 innings):

Bristol bounced back from the rough seventh inning in game one, as Ortiz-Rivera roped a leadoff double to right field, and he scored on Santiago’s RBI single before the Knights loaded the bases. Kyle Pileski and Rex Cone then scored on Earl Oakes’ single for a 3-0 lead. 

That’s when the Brewers fired back, leading to a dominant victory. 

They loaded the bases and scored on a wild pitch before Gorges sliced a hard-hit two-run single to right field to even the score, and Jeff Durso followed by golfing an RBI single to center for a 4-3 advantage. 

After his team scored on a passed ball in the second, Matt Sevigny helped the Brewers break the game open in the third. 

His bases-loaded bloop single gave the Brewers a 6-3 cushion, and Rodriguez followed with a monster double to deep left that scored two runs. Gibbs then roped a two-run single of his own for an 11-3 cushion before a wild pitch and a hit batsman gave the Brewers a 10-run edge. They added three more runs on three consecutive bases-loaded walks. 

“I’ve still gotta pat these guys on the back,” Barrett said of his team. “They had a hell of a season. It was a great run throughout the playoffs, and I’ll be happy to see them all back next year.”

Zack Carpenter can be reached at (860) 973-1811 or zcarpenter@bristolpress.com



Posted in The Bristol Press, General Sports on Wednesday, 14 August 2019 23:13. Updated: Wednesday, 14 August 2019 23:16.