Babe Ruth 14U New England Regional Trumbull’s Brown throws 2-hitter at Massachusetts
NORWALK — Single-elimination playoffs offer little room for error, making it vital that a team takes advantage of opportunities whenever it can.
As it turns out, that’s exactly what Trumbull did Monday night when squared up against Plymouth, Mass., in the Babe Ruth 14U New England Regional tournament.
Trumbull used clutch two-out hitting to back a sensational performance by Michael Brown, who tossed a two-hitter to lift the all-stars from Connecticut to a 3-1 victory in the quarterfinals at Brien McMahon High School.
“Mike Brown was probably as dominant as I’ve seen a pitcher in a Trumbull uniform at this age level,” Trumbull coach Mike Buswell said. “He threw a two-hitter, and fastball and curveballs for strikes no matter what the count was. Even his misses were close. He was around the plate all game long.”
The near flawless outing by Brown propelled Trumbull into a semifinal matchup with host Norwalk on Tuesday at 7 p.m. Trumbull, which is bidding for its third World Series appearance in seven years, is now 3-1 in the regional.
Trumbull did most of its damage at the plate in the fourth inning, using a sound two-strike approach to grab the lead for good. Brown, who had singled to lead off the inning and advanced to third on a pair of wild pitches, scored on Jack Wallace’s double. Brian Kraus followed with a single to score Wallace, making it 3-1. All three of Trumbull’s runs scored with two outs and two strikes.
“I love the confidence we’re playing with right now,” Buswell said.
Staked to a two-run lead, Brown shut down Massachusetts’ bats. The 15-year-old right-hander retired the final nine batters he faced, including four by strikeout. He allowed only four baserunners on the night and needed only 88 pitches to go the distance.
“I felt confident on the mound,” Brown said. “I just tried to go out there and do my stuff, as usual. I tried to give my best effort for the team. I was trying to pitch the whole game.”
Brown — who did not pitch during his freshman year at St. Joseph High School because of a concussion — relied mainly on his fastball and curveball. Massachusetts’ lone run scored on a two-out single in the fourth by Bradley Blasberg.
“Two teams had a bye into tomorrow’s semifinal round. For him to come out today in the quarterfinal of the elimination round and … dominate and save our arms for the rest of the tournament, that’s a big lift,” Buswell said.
Trumbull jumped in front 1-0 in the first inning on a double by Grayson DeFelice.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Michael Brown, Trumbull, P: The right-hander was simply dominant on the mound, allowing only two hits in an 88-pitch complete game.
Trumbull second baseman Johnny Bova made a highlight-worthy play in the field, diving to his left and throwing from his back to rob Brycen Tetler of a hit to lead off the sixth inning.
“That was a great play,” Brown said.
“I just stay loose the whole game. I don’t really take it seriously. Baseball’s about having fun. I’m trying to have fun with my team and motivate them and push them.” — Brown
TRUMBULL 3, MASSACHUSETTS 1
MASSACHUSETTS 000 100 0 — 1 2 0
TRUMBULL 100 200 x — 3 7 0
Records: Massachusetts 2-2; Trumbull 3-1. Batteries: M — Matt Murphy, Kyle Keating (4, L), Adam Maher (6) and Brycen Tetler; T — Michael Brown (W) and Dylan Moran. Highlights: M — Bradley Blasberg had an RBI single. Murphy allowed four hits and one run in three innings. T — Brown pitched a complete game two-hitter, striking out five. Jack Wallace had an RBI double. Brian Kraus went 2-for-3 with an RBI.