WALLINGFORD — And we are off.
In a wild Game 1 of the Wallingford Twilight League’s best-of-three championship series, Total Renovations rallied with a seven-run sixth inning to defeat Diamondzone 9-8 on Sunday night at Pat Wall Field.
The two teams play Game 2 on Monday night at West Side Field at 8 p.m., with Total Renovations looking to end Diamondzone’s reign and the defending champs looking to extend the series to a winner-take-all finale on Tuesday night back at Pat Wall.
On Sunday, Diamondzone looked strong through the first five innings. The champs took a 6-2 lead into the top of the sixth inning. That’s when Total Renovation began its rally.
After a leadoff walk to Jeff Massicotte, Will Diaz doubled him home to cut the lead to 6-3. Diaz then scored on a single from Luis Pagan.
Matt Moran and Brian Ramos both reached on walks to load the bases for Jeff Morales, who smacked a two-run single to left to tie the game.
After Brandon Hernandez reached on a fielder’s choice, Will Kyzwanos singled to give Total Renovations the lead.
Total Renovations would tack on two more runs in the inning to come away with a 9-6 lead.
Diamondzone picked up two runs in the bottom half of the inning to close to within 9-8 and held Total Renovations scoreless in the top of the seventh, setting the stage for a possible walk-off.
Total Renovations manager JD Tyler took the mound to close it out and he did just that, ending the game on a strikeout.
“It was a great team win right there,” said Tyler. “We made a couple of mistakes early, let them jump on us, but [it’s] a resilient comeback win and you can’t ask for anything more.
“We had great hitting throughout the lineup. Jeff Morales with two huge hits and was on base three times for us. All-star Jeff Massicotte had couple great at-bats and drove in our first run. Can’t ask for anything more from my team right there.”
In the other dugout, Diamondzone head coach Tim Binkowski was lamenting a lack of command by his pitching staff.
“We just have to be able to come out and throw strikes,” Binkowski said. “We came out in the first half of the game and I think it was 6-2 going into the sixth and made a couple of changes. We couldn’t get the ball over the zone. Walk a couple of guys and then they put a couple of good swings on a few, and they crossed a crooked number.
“You can’t have an inning like that late in a game. Those are hard to come back from.”