BRISTOL - The Elmerâ€™s Angels appeared to be on a fast track to the Connecticut Twilight League championship after erupting in a four-run fourth inning to take a commanding lead against the Fat Orange Cat Brewers. But the Angels quickly learned how fast momentum can turn and end a season.
Holding a 4-0 lead heading into the bottom of the fourth, Elmerâ€™s watched the Brewers tie the game in the inning on their way to scoring six unanswered runs and hand the Angels a 6-4 loss at Muzzy Field. For the Angels, the defeat meant an end to their season, while FOC moves on to face the Bristol Knights in the championship series, which is scheduled to begin Wednesday night at Muzzy.
â€śThe game was close, obviously,â€ť outfielder Russell LaFleur said. â€śWe took a big lead, but give credit to those guys. They stepped up and swung the bats, got some hits to fall and put pressure on us all night.â€ť
Elmerâ€™s grabbed their short-lived lead after pair of singles by Kyle Maglio and Scott Kelleher and a walk to LaFleur loaded the bases with one out for Ken Cook who cleared the board with a rocket double to the gap in left center, giving the Angels a 3-0 lead. Nick Magoulas singled Cook to third, and Chris DeLeon scored him with a single in the shortstop hole, suddenly turning an early pitcherâ€™s duel into a commanding 4-0 lead for Elmerâ€™s.
After recording just one hit through the first three innings, the Angels tallied five in the four-run fourth, sending all nine batters to the plate.
The Brewers answered right back in the bottom of the fourth, leading off the inning with three straight singles, the latter by Brian Kohn to bring home Tyler Gibbs and put FOC on the board. Later in the inning, back-to-back two-out singles by Nick Rodriguez and Matt Sevigny pulled the Brewers to within 4-3 and chase Louis Zanette.
Kelleher relieved Zanette and promptly buried a pitch in the dirt that kicked to the backstop, bringing home the tying run, getting FOC back in the game as quickly as it let it slip away in the top half of the inning.
â€śThey didnâ€™t give up,â€ť LaFleur said. â€śThey deserved to win. They out-hit us and got timely hits. Thatâ€™s how it goes. It was a pleasure playing those guys.â€ť
The Brewers continued their momentum surge in the fifth, tallying a pair of leadoff walks to force the Angels to bring in LaFleur, who got the first out before Adam Michaud sent a grounder deep in the shortstop hole towards Kelleher, who was just put at shortstop. Kelleher made a slick diving stopped but sailed the throw into foul ground, allowing Luke Johnson to score the go-ahead run, the fifth unanswered run by FOC.
Sevignyâ€™s second RBI single came in the sixth to give the Brewers a valuable insurance run, again finding a hole on a blooper that dunked in just beyond the infield dirt.
â€śThat was tough,â€ť LaFleur said of the Brewersâ€™ hits that seemed to find every hole on the diamond. â€śWe had a couple balls we hit right at people,and they had some that kind of fell in and dropped. But thatâ€™s baseball. Itâ€™s frustrating, but give them credit. They put the bat on the ball and found holes.â€ť