BASEBALL: R-J Expos win Greater Hartford Twilight playoff thriller in extra innings, 6-5

BASEBALL: R-J Expos win Greater Hartford Twilight playoff thriller in extra innings, 6-5

HARTFORD – The Record-Journal Expos’ season isn’t over yet.

Down a run heading to the bottom of the seventh inning, the top-seeded Expos sent their Greater Hartford Twilight Baseball League elimination game to extra innings Thursday night before beating Ulbrich Steel 6-5 in eight innings at Trinity College.

Jason Sullivan doubled home the winning run for the regular-season champions in the eighth inning after Hector Gonzalez walked to lead off the frame. Sullivan’s double produced only second earned run for the Expos who rallied with the help of some shaky Ulbrich defense.

The victory means the Expos live to play again Saturday at 7:30 p.m. R-J will play the loser of Friday night’s game between the No. 2 Vernon Orioles and No. 3 seeded People’s United Bank.

John Doyon’s single to center field after a one-out double by A.J. Hendrickson tied the game, 5-5, in the seventh inning.

Hendrickson earned the win on the mound with eight gutty innings. The league’s leader in complete games started what he finished once again, blanking Steel over its final six innings.

Steel, which lost to the Expos 18-8 last week, led 5-0 after its first two at bats. The Expos got two runs in the second and two more in the third before Doyon’s tying single in the seventh inning.

The Expos can't lose again after falling 8-1 to Rainbow Graphics on Tuesday night.

Expos improved to 20-6, while Steel finished 10-16.

R-J’s bats were silenced most the game by Steel starter Dan Livingston, who allowed just three hits over the first six innings.

Steel’s fifth error of the game set up the Expos in the third inning. After Ulbrich second baseman Paul Prior misplayed a ground ball to load the bases, R-J scored twice on a single by Gonzalez and sacrifice fly by Sullivan.

Ulbrich’s defense was its undoing in the second inning as well when it committed four errors in the frame. But the Expos couldn’t take full advantage of Steel’s miscues.

R-J managed just one hit in the inning scoring two unearned runs to get within 5-2. But with one out and runners on first and second, the Expos failed to plate another run.

Ulbrich got on the board in the first inning on a one-out double by Pete Barrows. Steel made it 2-0 in the second on a high fly ball to right-center field that fell between Expos’ outfielders John Doyon and Johnny Walter.

Barrows then gave Ubrich a 5-0 lead with a base-loaded double into the left-field corner.

South Windsor also stayed alive Thursday night. The Phillies beat Malloves Jewelers 3-2 in the first losers’ bracket game.