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Whalers claim first round

WINSTED — After a season that was troubled by inconsistent offense, the Winsted Whalers activated their hitting game in a 5-2 playoff victory over Terryville on Saturday, Aug. 7, at Walker Field.

Adam Piechowski started on the mound and quickly dispersed the Black Sox’s early offense with three strikeouts while only giving up a single and a walk.

Winsted’s lead-off batter Donny Crossman worked a four-pitch walk and was moved into scoring position with Zac Tuozzo’s first hit of the game, a line drive single down the middle. Tuozzo was removed from the play on a fielder’s choice hit by Charlie Putnam, but a wild Terryville throw trying to turn the double -play allowed Crossman to score the first run of the game.

The Whalers loaded the bases with back-to-back hits from Chris Davidson and Joel Castillo, yet could not capitalize and carried only a one-run lead into the second despite a strong half inning.

Piechowski dropped the first batter of the second with a three-pitch strikeout, but uncharacteristically gave up another walk to put Terryville‘s would-be tying run on first. A long fly into left-center looked to be snagged with an incredible diving play by Davidson, but he was unable to hang on to the ball, allowing another runner to reach first. Piechowski responded with his fifth strikeout of the day, but then gave up a RBI single that landed just behind the infield. Terryville tied things up heading into the bottom of the second, 1-1.

Terryville’s erratic fielding would cost them another run, when Dave Lumpkin sent an easy fly out deep into the outfield that fell out of the glove of the fielder, allowing Lumpkin to reach second base. Jeoff Langill made good on his first appearance at the plate with a base hit. Tuozzo sent a hard grounder that was juggled at second for a base hit, driving in Lumpkin to put the Whalers ahead once more, 2-1, moving into the top of the third.

The Whalers held the lead through the top of the fourth, then set out once again in the bottom half of the inning to build upon their lead. Crossman hit a line drive single and was followed by Tuozzo, who remained perfect at the plate with his third base hit of the afternoon. Putnam brought Crossman home with a line drive RBI single to extend the Whalers’ lead to 3-1. Davidson kept the offense alive with a RBI double, and Chester Warrener worked a walk to load the bases. Chance Ruger waited out Terryville’s pitching for another walk, forcing them to cough up an unearned run and providing some breathing room. The Whalers moved ahead, 5-1.

Winsted’s combined pitching and fielding efforts crippled Terryville’s offense until the top of the eighth, when the Black Sox began to stir. Piechowski gave up a walk, then a bunt single. A long RBI double provided the Sox their second run of the game, but the Whalers made an incredible play to snag the would-be third run at home plate. The Whalers held on through the final inning to claim the 5-2 win at home.

Piechowski pitched a complete game, striking out 16 Terryville batters while giving up only four walks and two runs. Tuozzo led the Whalers at the plate, going four for four with a walk, a RBI, a stolen base and a run scored. Putnam went  one for three with two walks and one run batted in. Davidson also had a strong outing, two for five on the day with a RBI and a double. Langill finished two for four with a double.

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