BRISTOL - The McCabe-Waters Little League Astros live to fight another day, and they have Mason Allen to thank for much of that.
Allen, the Astros’ starting pitcher, threw a complete-game, two-hit shutout to lead his club to a 3-0 victory over the Forestville Dodgers on Monday.
Allen didn’t allow a hit until there was one out in the fifth inning, finishing with eight strikeouts, no walks and one hit batsman, and his leadoff double in the third helped them scratch together two runs en route to forcing a decisive final game at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Breen Field for the City Series championship.
“I just had to keep it positive the whole game. I couldn’t give up,” Allen said. “You can’t just give up after throwing balls. You just have to come back and keep throwing strikes. I was feeling good.”
Astros manager Matt Pirog added, “Mason was outstanding. That’s the best I’ve seen him throw in a long time. Every time he’s gone out, he’s been great, but that was big to throw a complete game against a team like that and shut them down with the hitters they have.”
Allen’s outstanding performance peaked with two outs in the fifth inning.
In a tense showdown with Aiden Lopez, the battle was won by Lopez, who lasered an 0-2, two-out single to left to put runners at first and second. Allen, however, induced a pop out on the next pitch to right field to pave the way for a scoreless sixth inning, buoyed by a nice leaping snag by second baseman Mike Demers and a brilliant over-the-shoulder catch by right fielder Landon Levesque.
“I knew that they were doing good,” Allen said of the defense. “I told them when we were up three, we can’t give up. Just don’t give up on yourself, and you’ll get it.”
A would-be 1-0 lead in the top of the first for McCabe-Waters was erased when Allen - who had reached third on a single, error and wild pitch - scored on a second wild pitch by Forestville starter Aiden Lopez, but the third-base umpire determined Allen left the bag before the pitch was out of Lopez’s hand.
After Allen retreated to the corner, Lopez recorded an inning-ending strikeout, and Lopez followed with three strikeouts in the second inning to strand runners at first and second.
Allen returned the favor on the mound with a strikeout to strand two runners in the bottom of the second after having pitched a 1-2-3 bottom first.
That paved the way for the Astros’ 2-0 lead in the top of the third, as Allen led off with a double and scored on an error by Lopez, who fielded a grounder off the bat of Chase Dauphinee but the throw to first was off target.
Dauphinee advanced to third, and scored moments later on a wild pitch, his foot sliding into home plate just before Lopez could swipe his tag on a relay throw from catcher Hector Rivera-Martinez.
In the bottom of the third, Lopez drove a fly ball even higher to left field and into the sun. The ball was dropped, and Lopez advanced to second. He was stranded, however, as Allen induced an inning-ending infield popout.
McCabe-Waters took advantage of the Dodgers’ missed opportunity, as Joey John lasered an opposite-field, line-drive double to the right-center field gap, and he was brought home on Mike Demers’ RB single up the middle that ricocheted off the second-base bag into the outfield.
“Every day it’s a different way [to win],” Pirog said. “They executed perfectly tonight. They did the small things the correct way. They were patient at the plate, they forced walks, and they had some nice bunts. Joey John had probably the biggest hit of the game for us. They were very disciplined tonight, and they did everything we asked them to do.”
Lopez took the loss, allowing two unearned runs on two hits, but struck out nine batters in three innings (72 pitches).
He now has thrown 10 total innings in the City Series, recording all 30 of his outs via strikeout.
“Mason Allen, what a tremendous job he did,” Dodgers manager Clay Roberts said. “He did a great job. What are you gonna do? You’ve gotta tip your hat. The Astros deserve that win. They made the plays, they got the timely hitting, and that’s all you can say.”
Zack Carpenter can be reached at (860) 973-1811 or firstname.lastname@example.org