SOFTBALL: Turn two! Wallingford’s Double Play Cafe captures 24th Tri-Town Softball Tournament

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MERIDEN — Wallingford’s Double Play Cafe crushed the ball all night in wins over Spartans of Southington and Meriden's Double Play Cafe/Silver City Tours to win the 24th edition of the Tri-Town Softball Tournament on Friday night at Benjamin J. Nessing Field.

Wallingford downed Meriden 18-15 in the opener.

Meriden then rebounded to down the Southington team 18-4 in five innings via the mercy rule. Wallingford secured the title with a 17-3 mercy-rule win over Southington in Game 3.

“It was just a lot of fun to be out and to be able to play," Walllingford player/manager Rob Cassella said. “Everyone came through. We have a team that’s capable of hitting the ball hard. We have a solid group of guys and we ended up having a great night.”

Wallingford used a big eight-run sixth inning to erase a 15-7 deficit and defeat Meriden 18-15 in the first game of the night. Against Southington, Wallingford put up 10 runs in the first inning.

In the Wallingford-Meriden opener, the blasts came early and often on both sides.

Wallingford struck for three runs in the top of the first inning. Jeff Milner blasted a two-run shot well over the left-centerfield fence to put Wallingford up 2-0. 

Mike Conners added a sacrifice fly that carried to the left-field fence as Wallingford went up 3-0.

Meriden tied it in the bottom of the first. Connor Terragna crushed a two-run homer to centerfield and Evan Golebiewski followed with a solo shot.

Each of Meriden’s first six runs came with two outs. Zak Sokolis (4-for-4, 4 runs, 5 RBI) gave the Silver City team a 6-3 lead with a two-out blast to right field in the second inning.

Wallingford tied it with three runs in the third without the benefit of homer. Steve Connors (4-for-5, 4 runs, RBI) and Lou Penna (2-for-4, 2 runs, 2 RBI) led off the inning with singles. Jeff Milner (2-for-4, 2 HR, 5 RBI) made it 6-4 with a sac fly. A.J. Sandella (2-for-4, 3 RBI) tied the game with a two-run single up the middle.

Meriden worked out of further trouble in the frame with a line drive double play.

Wallingford went back on top 7-6 on a solo blast by T.K. Kiernan in the top of the fourth. 

Meriden put up a 6-spot in the fourth inning with a pair of three-run homers by Terragna and Josh Doyon to take a 12-7 lead.

Millner unloaded his second homer of the game, a solo shot to center, in the fifth as Wallingford closed within,12-8. 

Meriden went up 15-8 with three runs in the bottom of the fifth. Sokolis came up with a clutch two-out single up the middle and Terragna added a RBI single.

Wallingford tied the game with eight runs in the top of the sixth to take a 16-15 lead.

Garrett Clark bookended the inning with a solo homer and a RBI single. In between, Steve Connors had a RBI single, Milner added a RBI walk, Brian Joy connected for a two-run single and Sandella added a sac fly.

Mike Connors tied the game with a RBI triple off the fence and then Clark put Wallingford on top 16-15 with his RBI single.

After a 1-2-3 inning by Wallingford pitcher Joe Drury, Wallingford extended its lead to 18-15 in the top of the seventh on a two-run single by Lou Penna, who ended up being named the tournament MVP. Penna also robbed a home run on the night and added an outfield assist.

Drury then retired the side in order in the seventh to seal the victory for Wallingford.

In Game 2, Meriden used a 12-run third inning to earn its 18-4 win over Southington. Doyon ended the game with a three-run blast.

It was Southington that took a quick 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning. Mason Dibble drove in Tyler Lentini with a single down the line.

Terragna and Golebiewski opened the bottom of the second with back-to-back solo blasts as Meriden went up 2-1.

Shane Fusco unloaded on a two-run homer to left field in the top of the third inning to put Southington up 3-2.

Meriden took back the lead back for good with the 12-run third. Meriden brought 15 batters to the plate. Picking up RBI hits in the mammoth frame were Derek Signore (single), Sokolis (double), Terragna (2-run homer, 2-run double), Bobby Boehler (double), Evan Siebert (walk) and Golebiewski (2-run double).

It all added up to a 14-3 Meriden advantage.

Both teams scored one run apiece in the fifth. Dibble had an infield RBI single for Southington. Siebert countered with a RBI single for Meriden as the hosts went up 15-4.

Doyon ended the game with a three-run homer to centerfield as Meriden won by mercy-rule, 18-4.

In the final, Wallingford blasted four homers to take a 10-0 lead after one inning. Penna crushed a pair of two-run homers, Joy jacked a two-run homer and Cassella unloaded a grand slam.

Joe Hayes got Southington on the board with a RBI single in the second, but Wallingford played longball again in the bottom of the frame when Clark connected on a three-run blast.

Southington pushed across two runs in the third behind Kevin San Angelo (RBI groundout) and George Dibble (RBI single).

Walilngford tacked on four runs in the third to go up 17-3. Steve Connors delivered a solo homer. Joy came through with a two-run double and Mike Connors capped the inning with a RBI single.

It ended a 17-3 mercy-rule final and Wallingford hoisted the trophy.

“It was great to be able to come out here and play after not being able to play last year,” Cassella said. “We are also dedicating this win to Bill Farm who stepped down (as president of Wallingford softball). I think we are going to give this trophy to him. I believe he started the Tri-Town.”

He did. Meriden’s Dan Terribile is now the current tournament director of the men's Tri-Town.

“Thank you Terbs for putting this together," Meriden coach Justin Ferreira said. “We had a good turnout and it was great to see everyone here supporting the Tri-Town.”

Terribile said Friday was a fun night.

“I want to thank the MASA Board for sponsoring the tournament as well as the three teams and our umpires — Gary Huse, Earl Francks, Chris Dingwell and Joe Czar. I also want to give a special thanks to Bill Farm. He was the creator of this tournament.”

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