Unlikely end for Plainville Legion’s season

PLAINVILLE – At the end of the game against New Britain on Thursday, July 19, the Plainville Legion baseball team emptied its tank in a must win game from Alumni Field.
And in an extra-inning thriller, the Stingers scored a run in the bottom of the eighth frame as New Britain picked up a 2-1 upset win.
At the completion of the contest, a stunned Plainville crowd stood there in disbelief as Post 33’s season came to an unlikely conclusion.
It was a big effort from both clubs but for Plainville, pitching sensation Brett Litke saved his best performance for last as he only allowed a handful of hits to a pesky New Britain squad.
But in the eighth, the Stingers made its move and kept Plainville from winning and – ultimately – as Post 33 did not qualify for the postseason tournament.
And understandably, Litke was a bit out of sorts after the game.
Litke threw a water cooler at the end of the game but it’s that fire Post 33 will miss next season from the veteran player.
In fact, seven players suited up for the last time in a Plainville uniform during the season-ending loss.
It was the final game for Plainville standouts Dylan Chasse, Brett Litke, Tyler Guimond, Connor Phaneuf, Devin Pugliese, Kevin Seattle (hope he enjoys coffee, grunge music, and rainy days…), Chris Kuzia, and Kevin Ciotto.
For head coach Jim Tufts, it was a tough way to finish a busy season.
But in the end, he wasn’t concerned about the wins and losses.
He was more upset that he wouldn’t be coaching those players again for another year.
“I love those guys,” said Tufts of his exiting veteran players. “I’ve been coaching those guys for seven years and to know that that’s over, it just really absolutely sucks. Spending that kind of quality time with kids, day in and day out for seven years, you really get to know them more than just players.”
“They’re friends and people that are going to be around for a long time.”
Plainville ended its season at 13-11 and was just one game away from playoff qualification.
Post 33 improved its record from last season by two games and the club was on the cusp of a postseason showing.
But barring all the missed opportunities during the year, his thoughts came back to his players that had put on a Plainville uniform for the last time.
“They’re not going anywhere,” said Tufts of his departed players. “They’re Plainville kids and they’ll always be here.”
It certainly isn’t surprising to see former Legion players come back to watch the team perform years later.
It’s really the first opportunity that Tufts has experienced this kind of loss but he gives the credit to his club and the warriors who are leaving the squad.
“It’s my first time that I’ve actually had to say goodbye to kids,” said Tufts. “They were my first kids to have and now they’re my first ones to go. They battled. They kept coming back, they were resistant. They have nothing to hang their heads about. Unfortunately, we needed one extra win, one extra game…something.”
After dropping two of three games to Glastonbury going into its final two games of the season, Post 33 had to defeat New Britain twice in order to qualify for the state tournament.
In its first game against New Britain, Plainville made a huge 5-4 comeback to move to 13-10 on the season with one game remaining.
But the one-run loss against the Stingers to ended the season kept Plainville out of the playoffs in what was a successful season, postseason or not.
“It sucks it had to come down to this,” said Tufts. “Unfortunately, we put ourselves in this situation and we didn’t pull ourselves out of it. Sometimes you dig yourself too deep of a hole to come out of.”
NOTES…Zone 7 All-stars include a big contingent from Plainville’s Post 33.
Plainville’s All-Stars include pitcher Matt Thomas, catcher Chris Kuzia, third basemen Tommy Dinda and pitching sensations Connor Phaneuf and Tyler Guimond.

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