By KEN MORSE
The Plainville baseball team used a senior night celebration to get back in the win column. With a 5-2 win over Plainfield on Wednesday, the Blue Devils improved their record to 12-8 as they head into the Class M state tournament.
The Blue Devils had put together a streak of 10 wins in 11 games before hitting a rather large bump in the road. Plainville got outscored, 30-6, as they dropped three straight to Bristol Eastern, Bristol Central and Berlin.
Plainville got back in the win column in the season finale with a victory over Plainfield. The Blue Devils bid farewell to outgoing seniors Brady Callahan, Tyler St. Onge, Juan Camacho and Alec Karal along with Tyler Miller, Tyler Davis, Riley Millette and Ryan Snyder before their final varsity contest..
“This was a real important game heading into the states,” said Callahan. “Everyone went out and did their job and we got back into the win column. It feels great.”
Junior Alex Grabowski went six and two-thirds on the hill surrendering five hits and two runs, striking out five in the process. The junior right hander in his last two outings he has shown the ability to miss the sweet part of the bat throwing five shutout innings of two-hit relief against Bristol Eastern last Friday.
“Alex hits his spots,” said Plainville head coach Lou Mandeville, adding that the defense is playing well down the stretch. “He is very composed and doesn’t get rattled. His location is on, and he doesn’t get into trouble because he has command of the strike zone.”
Back-to-back hits by Plainfield to lead off the game was followed by consecutive groundouts handing the Panthers a 2-0 advantage. Grabowski was in control the rest of the way as the Plainville bats went to work.
The Blue Devils tied the game, 2-2, in the bottom of the first inning. Brady Callahan led off with a walk and went all the way to third on a perfectly executed hit-and-run when Tyler Bonney sent a single into the right field corner.
Tyler St. Onge busted a single to straight away center and on the relay to the plate tried to take the extra base but was thrown out at second. It mattered little as the damage was done sending both runners across the plate.
Grabowski surrendered a lead-off single in the second and then battled through five straight foul balls to the next batter before getting the strikeout. It was that determination that allowed him to kick the door shut allowing just two hits the rest of the way over a five-inning span.
“All the credit goes to my teammates,” said Grabowski. “The defense made some great plays behind me and the offense got the runs we needed to win. What ever the coaches tell me to throw I just stick with the game plan and let my defense make the plays.”
Bonney robbed Plainfield of an extra base hit making a leaping stab on a line drive over second base, and Alec Couture pulled off a double play at shortstop. Once again, the defense was behind their pitcher.
The Blue Devils went ahead in the third when Brennan Staubley singled and stole second base. St. Onge reached on an error to chase home the run to give Plainville the lead at 3-2.
A walk to Juan Camacho and Mason Sarra got something going in the fourth. Tyler Mandeville singled to right to score pinch runner Riley Millette and an infield single from Callahan made it a 5-2 advantage.
“You definitely want to have some momentum going into the tournament,” said Mandeville. “We wanted to come out here at get the win because of seedings. It certainly helps to end the regular season on a good note.”
That was all the offense the Blue Devils would need as they closed out the regular season at 12-8 and gear up for a run in the Class M state tournament.