By MICHAEL LETENDRE
PLAINVILLE – Every once in a while, the rain does a little good.
It helps grow flowers, it fills lakes, streams and rivers and, every once in a while, its helps out a baseball team change its fortunes during a delayed game.
Take Plainville’s CCC South challenge against Berlin on Tuesday, May 27 for example.
The Redcoats, winner of 17 straight games, were holding a 5-3 push against the Blue Devils when the rain came pouring down which eventually brought lightning and thunder with it.
After a nearly 90 minute delay, the teams once again did battle and the hope was Berlin would lose its grasp on the game and the momentum would favor Plainville.
But it didn’t happen because after the break, Berlin notched three straight runs and turned a two-run edge into an 8-3 tilt after five innings of play.
In the end, the Redcoats rang up win number 18 and defeated the Blue Devils 10-3 from Alumni Field in Plainville.
The win pushed Berlin to 18-1 overall while Plainville well to an even 9-9 on the campaign.
In games gone by, the thunder and lighting has helped turned the tide of the game in Plainville’s favor.
But there was no such luck this time around.
“We’ve had it happen in the past,” said Plainville coach Lou Mandeville about the weather switching the momentum to its favor. “We had a couple tournament games where it (the weather) turned it our way.”
Base-on-balls killed the home team as four runners who drew walks eventually went on to score for Berlin.
Plainville starting pitcher Matt Sauvron and reliever Jon Lindgren battled but in the end, Berlin turned just about every chance it had into a scoring opportunity.
“We walked too many guys tonight,” said Mandeville. “You want to make team’s earn it but at the same time, when you’re out there pitching, you’re staying away from the middle of the plate. So, when you stay away from the middle of the plate, there’s a good chance you’re going to miss some spots.”
“We missed spots and when we were behind, up in the count, we tried to keep them off-balanced…we just had trouble finding the strike zone tonight.”
Berlin collected ten hits in the game and attacked Plainville over the first inning of play, all via a two-out rally.
Kyle Naples drew a walk and scored off a deep double by DH Logan Taricani (2-for-3, 2 RBI) to make it a 1-0 affair.
Off the two-base hit, Alec Norton walked while Dan McCloud (2-for-4, double, RBI), smashed a single to left – plating Taricani – as the Redcoats went ahead in the game by a 2-0 tally.
But Plainville responded in its half of the first to take the lead in the contest.
Lindgren started it all off for Plainville with a walk and moved to second of Sauvron’s sacrifice bunt.
Rob Pezzulo (2-for-4, run) reached on an infield hit and Matt Monteleone walked to load up the bases.
From there, Cody Charneski (1-for-2, walk), slammed a deep double to left as Lindgren and Pezzulo crossed the plate to tie things at 2-2.
On batter later, Plainville etched up a 3-2 lead.
Bubba Milo sent a deep grounder to short and while the fielder’s choice generated an out, Monteleone scored and the RBI tally gave the Blue Devils a 3-2 cushion after one frame of action.
“You’re happy to see that,” said Mandeville of the response. “And we’ve become that team when things don’t go well or we have a bad inning, we’ve been bouncing back lately. It’s been nice to see because that’s what’s going to happen come tournament time.”
“When a team puts a couple of crooked numbers up, you’ve got to bounce back and put a couple of crooked numbers up on your side and bring the momentum back around.”
It almost looked as if Plainville was going to knock starting pitcher, Berlin’s Dan Garafolo, out of the game early. But to Garafalo’s credit, he lasted the entire contest.
In the complete game effort, he gave up just six hits and three earned runs.
After the first inning, he settled down and Plainville never scored again though the Blue Devils always seemed to be just one hit away from getting back into it.
A bad hopper off the bat of Greg Konowski (2-for-4, 2 runs, 4 RBI) in the second frame fooled Bubba at second base as Anthony Charbonneau scored to knot the score at 3-3.
In the Berlin third, an RBI single by Charbonneau and an RBI ground-out from Garafolo gave the Redcoats the lead for good at 5-3 midway through the third.
Plainville almost got back into the fray in the bottom of the third as Sauvron and Monteleone had back-to-back hits and the Blue Devils had the go-ahead run at the plate with nobody out.
But a double-play and a groundout ended the threat with the visitors on top by a 5-3 count.
In the fifth, Berlin had two runners on before lightning and rain derailed the game for nearly an hour and a half.
When play resumed, a two-RBI tally by Konowski fueled Berlin’s three run fifth as the visitors posted an eight push after five innings.
In the sixth, Lindgren struck out the Berlin side and Plainville put two runners on base via errors and miscues.
But those precious runs never materialized as the Redcoats’ 8-3 push remained intact.
Konowski added a two-RBI single in the tenth to make it a 10-3 game and even as Lindgren stroked an infield hit in the bottom of the seventh, the Blue Devils ran out of time.
In the end, Berlin picked up a big 10-3 win from Plainville.
“It was a little twilight zone night for us,” said Mandeville. “We’ll take it and move to tomorrow.”
NOTES…Sam Lindgren also had a hit in the game for the Blue Devils…Plainville lost its final two games of the regular season to Maloney (5-4) on senior night and then dropped a tough 5-4 decision to Bulkeley on Thursday, May 29…Off its 9-11 finish, for the second straight year, Plainville was forced to participate in a play-in game to enter the field of 32-teams in the Class M bracket…In the contest, from Alumni Field in Plainville, the Blue Devils dumped Griswold 10-5 to set itself up as the 31st squad in the Class M bracket and took on No. 32 Prince Tech on Monday, June 2.