MERIDEN — It seemed like everyone wanted to rain on Wilcox Tech’s baseball parade. And, sure enough, the rain came.
No. 4 Grasso Tech knocked off the the top-seeded Wildcats 10-6 in the CTC Tournament semifinals Wednesday on what began as a warm, sunny day before the clouds slowly became darker. Wilcox struggled to get anything going through 4½ innings of play and head coach Dave Cronin was not happy the way his team performed.
“We showed up flat,” Cronin said. “Nobody was ready to play. The excitement of playoff baseball was not there.”
After the game, Cronin huddled up with his players on the rain-soaked field and was visibly frustrated about the performance.
Grasso Tech (12-10) got out to an early start after the first three batters reached on a walk, a base hit and an error. Cleanup hitter Reynaldo Hidalgo then hit a two-run single to give the Eagles a 2-0 lead.
Hidalgo was able to drive in another run in the top of the third after a miscommunication between the first and second basemen on a routine ground ball.
In the top of the fifth inning, Grasso Tech started to run away with the game, scoring seven runs on three hits and three walks, and putting Wilcox Tech in a 10-0 hole.
When it seemed like the Wildcats were about to lose on the mercy rule, they responded.
Devon Diaz started the rally with a leadoff base hit. Brandon Alvarado and Bobby Herzman loaded the bases by reaching on an error and a base hit, respectively.
With two outs and a two-strike count, Devin DelVecchio came up clutch with a two-run single to keep the game going, and Shakur Muhammad followed with another RBI base hit to make the score 10-3.
With the rain starting to fall, the Wildcats rallied for three more runs in the seventh inning, capped off by a RBI triple by Herzman and a RBI single by Muhammad.
However, it was not enough to win the game nor the approval of Cronin.
“You can’t show up and dig a 10-0 hole and expect to win in three innings,” Cronin said. “It’s not going to happen. We had to come ready to play from pitch one.”
It was only the third loss of the season for Wilcox Tech, now 19-3. The Wildcats will have a chance to redeem themselves in the Class L state tournament, where they will be the No. 1 seed. Cronin expects his team to be ready to play.