TRI-TOWN: Walk-off carries Southington to women’s title; Wallingford goes to the 11th hour to land men’s crown

TRI-TOWN: Walk-off carries Southington to women’s title; Wallingford goes to the 11th hour to land men’s crown


MERIDEN — Steph Kowalec’s walk-off single with the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh inning carried Pal’s Power Washing of Southington to a 4-3 victory over Meriden’s Midstate Painting in the women’s championship game in the Tri-Town Softball Tournament on Monday night at Ben Nessing Field.

Kowalec’s single earned the former Lady Knight MVP honors and ushered in a changing of the guard. Midstate Painting was the defending Tri-Town champ. Southington returns to the top after winning it in 2015.

“It was great to see a team come in and play like they did,” said tournament administrator Dan Terribile of the Meriden Amateur Softball Association, which runs the annual event that pits the A Division champions from Meriden, Wallingford and Southington. “It’s just nice to see other towns come in and see their best players have to offer.

“I feel it’s a tournament that the heartbeat’s growing stronger every year,” Terribile added. “Teams come out every year and they put it all on the line.”

The men’s teams were certainly did just that. For the first time in years, this bracket went to a fourth game, as Meriden’s Double Play Cafe, Wallingford’s Incredible Oil and Southington’s Fragola Performance took turns beating one other.

Fragola forced the fourth game by nipping Incredible Oil 15-14 in Game 3. Incredible Oil had rallied to beat Double Play Cafe 14-12 in the opener. Double Play rebounded to beat Fragola 21-13 in Game 2.

Run differential left Fragola (-7) on the outside and put Incredible Oil (+1) and Double Play Cafe (+6) in the final.

Incredible Oil could thank Chris Mappa for that. While his grand slam in the top of the seventh against Fragola could not totally erase Wallingford’s five-run deficit, it did get the squad into the final. There, Incredible Oil scored a 17-10 victory over Meriden to keep the men’s Tri-Town crown in Wallingford.

Men’s tourney

There was terrific drama in the opening men’s game, as Keith Sobkowiak’s walk-off three-run homer in the bottom seventh powered Incredible Oil’s incredible 14-12 win over Meriden’s Double Play Cafe.

Sobkowiak’s blast, his second of the game, capped a comeback for the Wallingford squad, which trailed 10-3 in the middle of the fourth inning.

Home runs by Scott Rowe, Larue Graham, Jeff Gagne helped Meriden establish the seven-run lead. Gagne cranked two round-trippers. Graham added a RBI double.

Incredible Oil’s rally got rolling in the bottom of the fourth on Sobkowiak’s first home run and a bases-clearing double by his brother Scott. Keith Sobkowski tagged a RBI triple in the fifth before Gary Stanley pulled Wallingford even with a two-run bomb in the sixth.

Brian Joy’s two-run dinger put Meriden back on top, 12-10, in the seventh. It didn’t hold. Jay Wyatt, who had homered earlier in the game for Wallingford, singled home a run before Keith Sobkowiak launched his game-winning, three-run shot.

Chris Mappa also went deep for Wallingford in the opener.

Meriden stayed alive by beating Fragola Performance of Southington 21-13 in Game 2. A RBI double by Zak Sokolis and a two-run single by Steve Connors got Double Play Cafe out a 3-0 lead in the top of the first and a three-run clout by Jeff Gagne pushed the advantage to 7-1 in the second.

And this time, Meriden held on no problem. Phil Rodgers, Jesse Castaldi, Scott Czaja, Eddie Holcomb and Gagne added run-producing hits. Scott Rowe roped his second HR of the night.

Ben Nichols, Nick Gothberg, Tyler Dube and Franco Pabst homered for Southington, which with the loss to Meriden had to beat Incredible Oil in Game 3 to keep the Wallingford team from wrapping up the title, and did just that.

Women’s tourney

The opening game was no contest. Sparked by an eight-run second inning, Midstate Painting thumped Fosdick Fulfillment 12-2.

The big hit for the Meriden side was delivered by Leah Milner, who drilled a two-run double to deep left field. Wallingford scored both of its runs in the bottom of the third off of a bullet of a two-run single by Heather Dorsey.

Pal’s Power Washing delivered the death knell for Fosdick with a 6-3 verdict in the second game. Stephanie Kowalec legged out a two-run inside-the- park home run in the first inning to launch the Southington squad.

Wallingford bounced back in the third with three runs, two of them scoring on a single by Charity Singer. In the fourth, Maggie Moniz put Southington up for good with a two-run single of her own.

That set up a Southington-Meriden matchup for the title in Game 3. Midstate Painting appeared to be on the verge of defending its Tri-Town title, taking a 3-1 lead into the bottom of the sixth.

That’s when Pal’s Power Washing rallied to tie it up on a RBI triple from Julia Sopchak followed by a single up the middle by Liz Piper. Kowalec’s base-loaded single won it in the seventh.

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