Tides, Giants moving
HINSDALE, Mass., Jan. 16 -- Former Red Sox general manager Dan Duquette said he was outvoted but the new nickname for his NECBL team is the Dukes.
HINSDALE, Mass., Dec. 26 -- Former Red Sox general manager Dan Duquette told the Berkshire Eagle that he has received preliminary approval to move the Willimantic Tides to Hinsdale, Mass. for the 2004 campaign. The move is contingent upon some capital improvements at Duquette's baseball camp, most notably installation of lights. The camp is about 10 miles away from Pittsfield. Tides general manager Joe Cerruto told the Willimantic Chronicle that the NECBL rejected an offer to move the Tides to Albany, N.Y. earlier in the fall. Duquette's purchase of the team was approved at the December league meeting.
MIDDLETOWN, Dec. 13 -- The Middletown Giants, one of the NECBL's charter franchises, is looking to move to Holyoke, Mass. In December, the Holyoke Park and Recreation Commission began negotiating with the franchise to play at MacKenzie Field in Holyoke in 2004. A member of the Middletown Parks & Recreation Commission said that the Giants have not re-applied for usage of Palmer Field for the 2004 season. The Giants played for 10 years in Middletown.
PORTSMOUTH, N.H., Oct. 2, 2003 -- One of the owners of the Willimantic-based Thread City Tides is looking to complete the sale of the team to a group from Portsmouth, N.H. "I hope it ends up there, quite honestly," said Joe Cerreto, president of the limited partners for the Tides. "I think it's a great fit, a great location." Tide shareholders voted six weeks ago to put the team up for sale. The Tides, if moved to Portsmouth, would be dormant in 2004 and begin playing in 2005. Groups in Quincy, Mass., and Albany, N.Y. are also bidding for the Tides. The price tag is $50,0000, but a source told the Portsmouth Herald that the price is negotiable.
MIDDLETOWN, Oct. 2, 2003 -- The NECBL announced that it has approved the sale of the Middletown Giants from Ron Lucia to Harold Moffie, president and owner of Connecticut Health Care Facilities, which develops and operates senior living projects in Connecticut. No sales price was announced nor the future of the Giants franchise. Lucia had discussions this summer with officials in New Hampshire and Springfield, Mass., about moving the team.
Outstanding pitching lifted Torrington to the Southern Division championship and into the NECBL finals for the third time in team history. But it wasn't enough as Keene swept Torrington in the finals. Still, it was a stellar season for the Twisters.
Four Twisters named All-NECBL
The Twisters had three players named to the All-NECBL team in balloting conducted by the league coaches. Shortstop Armand Gaerlan, DH Jeff Natale and pitcher Dennis Robinson were named to the first team with pitcher Matt Torra named to the All-NECBL second team. Natale also won the NECBL's 10th player of the year award.
Game 2: Keene 7, Twisters 1
KEENE, N.H., Aug. 13 -- All season, pitching has carried the Twisters. In the NECBL championship series against the Keene Swamp Bats, the hitting couldn't help carry the load. Four Keene pitchers combined to limit Torrington to only four hits as Keene completed a sweep of the best-of-3 final with a 7-1 win over the Twisters Tuesday night. Keene, which won its second NECBL championship in the last four years, limited Torrington to just nine hits and one run in the finals.
Jabe Bergeron had a two-run single and Michael Lombardi a two-run double to highlight a five-run seventh inning for the Bats in game two. Steve Blackwood went 4-for-4 with two runs and an RBI while Kyle Keen and Tom Cashman each had an RBI for Keene. Matt Buschmann, Michael Yeager and Jason Kosow combined on a four-hitter and allowed no earned runs for Keene. Lance Salsgiver had two hits and Lawerence Best-Berfet scored for Torrington.
Keene took a 1-0 lead in the third inning on a solo home run from Blackwell but Torrington tied the game in the sixth at 1-1 on a sacrifice fly from Jim Fasano to score Zak Farkes. Keene took a 2-1 lead on a solo home run from Kyle Leen in the sixth and broke open the game in the seventh with five runs.
Game 1: Keene 2, Twisters 0
TORRINGTON, Aug. 11 -- Clemson righthander Jason Berken struck out 10 and allowed only five hits to lift the Swamp Bats to a 2-0 win over the Twisters in game 1of the NECBL championship series before a season-high 2,168 fans at Fuessenich Park Monday. Game two is Tuesday in Keene. Bobby Garza will start for the Twisters.
Keene took a 1-0 lead in the second inning on two singles, a pair of wild pitches and two walks. They made it 2-0 in the eighth inning after two singles, a fielder's choice and a bases-loaded walk. Twister starter Dennis Robinson (1-1) allowed seven hits and fanned nine but three walks really hurt him. Jim Fasano and John Ingram each doubled but no Twister runner ever touched third base.
Twisters earn spot in finals
NEWPORT, Aug. 10 -- Zak Farkes ripped a three-RBI double in the second inning as the Twisters survived a 1:57 rain delay and outlasted the two-time defending NECBL champion Newport Gulls, 6-4 at Cardines Field Sunday night to earn a spot in the NECBL championship series for the first time since 1998.
The Twisters, who swept the Southern Division final 2-0, will face Keene in game 1 Monday at Fuessenich Park at 7 p.m. The Swamp Bats are in the finals for the fourth straight year. The Twisters swept a pair from Keene this year, winning 1-0 and 6-5.
Torrington scored six runs on five hits in the second inning against the Gulls. Farkes had the key hit with one out. Jeff Hourigan, John Ingram and Emory Davies each added RBI singles in the pivotal inning.
Game 2 on Sunday in Newport
NEWPORT, Aug. 9 -- Game two in Newport in the Southern Division final between Torrington and the Gulls was postponed to Sunday at 6:35 p.m. due to heavy rain. Game 3, if necessary, will be Monday, Aug. 11 in Torrington at 7 p.m.
Keene beat Sanford, 7-6 Saturday night to sweep the Northern Division finals, 2-0, and earn a spot in the NECBL championship series for the fourth straight year. The Bats built a 7-1 lead but held off the Mainers down the stretch.
TORRINGTON, Aug. 8 -- Outstanding defensive plays from shortstop Armand Gaerlan and third baseman John Ingram helped the Twisters beat the Gulls, 2-0 in a playoff gem to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-3 Southern Division finals at Fuessenich Park.
Torrington starting pitcher Matt Torra was outstanding, scattering five hits and fanning seven, including three of the final six Gull batters he faced. Newport starter James Duffey allowed only three hits but it was enough for the Twisters, who once again scored with two outs. The Twisters have scored six runs in the post-season and all six have come with two outs.
Newport vs. Twisters
NEWPORT, Aug. 7 -- The Twisters will host the two-time defending NECBL champion Gulls Friday night in Torrington in game 1 of the Southern Division finals at 7 p.m. Game 2 will be Saturday evening at 6:35 p.m. in Newport with game 3, if necessary, on Sunday in Torrington. The Gulls won its semifinal series, 2-1 by outlasting Danbury. Newport won game 3 by a 16-4 score in a game cut short by rain at Cardines Field. The Gulls swept four games from the Twisters this season.
Southern Division semifinals
Twisters 2-2, Giants 1-0
TORRINGTON, Aug. 6 -- Three times in its Southern Division semifinal, the Twisters scored thanks to two-out rallies as Torrington advanced to the Southern Division finals. The most dramatic victory came in the opener. Middletown's Tim D'Aquila tied the game with a two-out homer in the top of the ninth but the Twisters put together three straight two-out singles to pull out the game 1 victory. Pinch hitter John Ingram ripped a RBI single down the first base line to win the game as Emory Davies scored from second base. Twister starter Dennis Robinson went the distance in game 1, scattering five hits and striking out 10 to earn the victory.
In game two, Torrington hurler Bobby Garza struggled early but got stronger as the game progressed. He had four of his nine strikeouts in the final three innings. In the sixth, Brandon Roberts singled to left field, moved to second on a bloop single to center field by Ingram and scored on a RBI single to left field from Emory Davies. The Twisters added an insurance run in the seventh. Best-Berfet rapped a two-out single to left field, stole second and scored on another single to left field from Zak Farkes for a 2-0 lead.
Middletown000 000 001 1-5-2 Torrington 001 000 001 2-6-1
Mike Parisi, Chris Blazek (9), Ryan Aldridge (9) and Josh Greco; Dennis Robinson and Emory Davies; WP: Robinson (1-0), LP: Blazek (0-1); HR: Tim D'Aquila (M)
Torrington 000 001 100 2-10-2 Middletown000 000 000 0-7-1
Bobby Garza and Emory Davies; Michael Koehler and Tim D'Aquila; WP: Garza (1-0); LP: Koehler (0-1)
Doubleheader on Wednesday
The Twisters will face Middletown in a doubleheader beginning Wednesday at 4 p.m. The two teams will play a pair of nine-inning contests after game 1 was washed out Tuesday.
Twisters open playoffs at home Tuesday
The playoffs begin Tuesday with Torrington hosting Middletown at 7 p.m. at Fuessenich Park in a best-of-3 Southern Division semifinal. All three games will be in Torrington because Middletown's home field is unavailable due to the Connecticut American Legion state tournament but the Giants will be the home team in game 2. Torrington swept 5 games from the Giants this season.
Twisters win Southern title
Gm. 39-40: Twisters 4-3, Lowell 1-0
TORRINGTON Aug. 2 -- Torrington clinched the Southern Division championship and earned the top seed in the upcoming New England Collegiate League Baseball League (NECBL) playoffs with a doubleheader sweep over Lowell. The Twisters clinched the Southern Division with a 4-1 win over Lowell in the opener and claimed the top seed in the NECBL playoffs with a 3-0 win in the nightcap. It is the fourth regular-season pennant for the Twisters and the first since winning the National Division in 2001. The Twisters (30-10) have won 30 games for the first time since 1998. "It's satisfying but we also know the job won't be completed without a playoff championship," Twister manager Gregg Hunt said. The Twisters lost in the NECBL finals twice in 1997 and 1998.
Game 38: Twisters 2, West Warwick 1
WEST WARWICK, R.I., July 31 -- Matt Torra allowed only three hits over six innings and fanned 10 as the Twisters (28-10) outlasted West Warwick and trimmed its magic number to clinch the Southern Division championship to one. Torrington can clinch the Southern Division title Saturday with a win over Lowell at Fuessenich Park and can clinch home field throughout the playoffs with two wins in its last four games. Zak Farkes was 3-for-4 while Brandon Roberts was 2-for-4. Randy Newsom earned his third save. The Twister pitching staff allowed only four hits and struck out 15.
The Twisters scored a run in the second inning when Jeff Natale singled, moved to second on a single by Roberts, took third on a walk and scored on a sacrifice fly from Brian Cavanaugh. They added the winning run in the fifth when Cavanaugh singled. He scored after Farkes singled and the centerfielder misplayed the ball.
CONCORD, N.H., July 30 -- Bobby Garza outlasted Concord's Pat Dowling in a pitching duel as the Twisters (27-10) cut the magic number to clinch the Southern Division to two games, thanks to Newport dropping a 6-1 decision to West Warwick. Garza went the distance, scattering seven hits, allowing one walk and fanning 11. Dowling allowed just one run on six hits, striking out four. Lawrence Best-Berfet led off the game with a ground-rule double over the left field wall, took third on a passed ball and scored on a groundout by All-Star Armand Gaerlan.
Magic number is four
The Twisters magic number to clinch the Southern Division has been cut to four thanks to Middletown's 3-1 win over Newport on Tuesday night.
Game 36: Newport 12, Twisters 1
NEWPORT, R.I., July 28 -- The Gulls continue to perplex the Twisters with a 12-1 rout, handing starting pitcher Dennis Robinson (6-1) his first loss of the season. Newport has won all four of its games with Torrington this season. The Twisters (26-10) still lead the Southern Division by three games and the magic number to clinch the division still remains five.
All-Star Game: North 6, South 0
CONCORD, N.H., July 27 -- The Northern Division shutout the Southern Division, 6-0, in the 10th annual NECBL All-Star Game Sunday. Twister hurler Dennis Robinson got the start for the South, pitching an inning of shutout ball with one strikeout. Twister shortstop Armand Gaerlan (0-for-2) and outfielder Jeff Hourigan (0-2) also started for the South. Jeff Natale (0-1) also saw action at second base. Pitcher's Matt Torra and Bobby Garza each pitched an inning of scoreless relief. Garza gave up one hit and fanned one. Robinson and Torra did not allow a hit.
The Middletown Giants seem to be leaning toward Chicopee, Mass., as its newest home. Portsmouth city manager John Bohenko said he planned to cancel a meeting next week with Giants owner Ron Lucia, who earlier this month identified the Seacoast as one of three markets his NECBL team would prefer to call home in 2004. "The city has no interest in meeting with the Middletown Giants at this point," Bohenko said. Even before the cancellation, Chicopee, Mass., had emerged as the front-runner in the lure-the-Giants derby. Lucia said he met with Chicopee on Tuesday and came away impressed with their offerings.
Six Twisters on All-Star team
TORRINGTON, July 20 -- Six Twisters were named to the 2003 NECBL Southern Division All-Star team and three will start. Right-handed pitcher Dennis Robinson, shortstop Armand Gaerlan and outfielder Jeff Hourigan were selected to start while Jeff Natale (DH), Matt Torra (RHP) and Bobby Garza (RHP) were named as Southern Division reserves. The 10th NECBL All-Star game is Sunday, July 27 at 6:30 p.m. in Concord, N.H. Hourigan will also participate in the home run derby. Manchester and Willimantic had four selections each to the Southern Division team while Newport had three.
Twisters clinch playoff berth
Game 33: Twisters 4, Middletown 2
MIDDLETOWN, July 24 -- Jim Fasano had a two-RBI single in the seventh while Zak Farkes added an RBI single as Torrington (24-9) topped the Giants at Palmer Field to clinch a playoff spot for the fifth time in its seven-year history. The Twisters scored three runs in the seventh to erase a 2-1 Giants lead. Twister starter Matt Brunnig allowed seven hits and struck out five over seven innings. He walked none. Randy Newsom earned the save for Torrington. Armand Gaerlan had a double for the Twisters.
Exhibition: Team USA 5, Twisters 0
TORRINGTON, July 10 -- Team USA's Justin Verlander (Old Dominion) took a no-hitter into the eighth inning before Marvin Lowrance's one-out single to left field as the U.S. national team prevailed before a crowd of 1,460. Team USA scored five runs in the first inning off Twister starter Matt Torra thanks to a three errors and several hits. Team USA improved to 14-0 against NECBL competition since 2000.
Final days for the Twister/Giants rivalry?
Twister pitcher Matt Brunnig can do something no other NECBL pitcher has ever done -- pitch with both arms and do it effectively. ."He is still free and easy throwing with both arms. If he ever switches sides during a game, it will certainly disturb the other bench," Twister coach Gregg Hunt said.
Twister debut was a record
NORTH ADAMS, June 7, 2003 -- The NECBL said 2,471 fans that saw Vermont play its debut contest was a record for a first-year team. Not so. Over 3,000 fans saw Torrington debut at Fuessenich Park on May 31, 1997 against Danbury. Other recent debut crowds included 2,347 in Keene (1998), 1,850 in Concord (2001), 2,042 in North Adams (2002) and 1,105 at Sanford (2002).
TORRINGTON, June 6, 2003 -- Fifteen players listened intently to Twister coach Gregg Hunt at practice less than 24 hours before the season-opening contest at North Adams. "Last year we were always waiting for players," Hunt said. "This year we have competition for spots from day one." Seven players return from last year's team and a solid core of players have been brought in to fill out the roster.
First baseman Jim Fasano (Richmond), the Atlantic 10 player of the year, returns along with pitcher/infielder Jeff Hourigan (Clemson) and outfielder Brandon Roberts (Michigan). Jacksonville's Lawrence Best-Berfet, Logan catcher Emory Davies, Richmond's John Cronin and Woodbury pitcher Peter Maki of Franklin & Marshall also returned.
"This team looks real solid," Hunt said. "We're not banking on any one player to do it for us. It looks like we will have good depth. Some of the players had phenomenal springs."
WAPJ-FM (89.9), which has been broadcasting Twister games since the inception of the team, won't carry the team this summer. However, fans can listen to the Twisters over the internet at NECBL.com.
Current record: 34-12
Games begin at 7 p.m. unless otherwise listed
June 7: @ N. Adams, ppd. to July 7
June 8: Ex: Wareham 8, Twisters 1
June 9: Twisters 3, Manchester 1
June 10: Twisters 5, Danbury 4
June 11: @at W. Warwick, ppd. 7/8
June 12: Newport 4, Twisters 0 (6)
June 14: Twisters 6, Keene 5
June 15: Newport 3, Twisters 1
June 16: Willimantic 7, Twisters 1
June 17: Twisters 5, W. Warwick 0
June 19: Newport 5, Torrington 2
June 21: @Danbury, ppd. July 17
June 22: @Lowell, ppd. to Aug. 2
June 23: Twisters 10, Willimantic 2
June 24: Twisters 2, Willimantic 1
June 28: Twisters 1, North Adams 0
June 29: Sanford 3, Twisters 2 (15)
June 30: Twisters 4, Danbury 0
July 2: Twisters 4, West Warwickc 2
July 3: @Newport, rain, TBA
July 5: Twisters 6, Sanford 2
July 6: Manchester 14, Twisters 1
July 7: Twisters 2, North Adams 0
July 8: Twisters 7, W. Warwick 2 (7)
July 8: Torr. 16, W. Warwick 2 (7)
July 9: MIDDLETWN, ppd. July 12
July 10: EX: Team USA 5, Torr. 0
July 11: Twsters 2, Manchester 1
July 12: Twisters 7, Middletown 1
July 12: Twisters 1, Middletown 0
July 13: Twisters 9, Middletown 5
July 14: Twisters 6, Manchester 4
July 16: Twisters 6, Danbury 2
July 17: Danbury 4, Twisters 2
July 18: Concord 4, Twisters 0
July 19: Vermont 4, Twisters 3
July 20: Twisters 1, Keene 0
July 21: Twisters 7, Willimantic 5
July 22: DANBURY, ppd. Aug. 4
July 24: Twisters 4, Middletown 2
July 25: Twisters 9, Willimantic 5
July 26: Twisters 5, Vermont 0
July 28: Newport 12, Twisters 1
July 30: Twisters 1, Concord 0
July 31: Twisters 2, W. Warwick 1
Aug. 2: Twisters 4-3, Lowell 1-0
Aug. 4: DANBURY, cancelled
Aug. 4: @Newport, cancelled
Regular season record 30-10
Aug. 6: Twisters 2, Middletown 1
Aug. 6: Twisters 2, Middletown 0
Aug. 9: at Newport, ppd. rain
Aug. 11: Keene 2, Twisters 0
Aug. 12: Keene 7, Twisters 1
Tuesday, Aug. 5
Divisional semifinal, game 1
Middletown at Torrington, rain
Danbury 5, Newport 3
Sanford 3, North Adams 1
Concord at Keene, game suspended by rain in 8th with Keene leading 9-0
Wednesday, Aug. 6
Divisional semis, game 2
Torrington 2-2, Middletown 1-0
Newport 2, Danbury 1
Sanford 9, North Adams 0
keene 9-5, Concord 0-4
Thursday, Aug. 7
Game 3, if necessary
Newport 16, Danbury (7, rain)
Friday, Aug. 8
Keene 12, Sanford 2
Torrington 2, Newport 0
Saturday, Aug. 9
Keene 7, Sanford 6
Torrington at Newport, ppd., rain
Sunday Aug. 10
Torrington 6, Newport 4
Mon. Aug. 11
Keene 2, Torrington 0
Tuesday, Aug. 12
Keene 7, Torrington 1