Newtown’s baseball team swept through the winner’s bracket and championship game, going 4-0 in the process, to win the Sr Babe Ruth 16-18 year old state title this past week. The tournament was held in East Lyme. This was Newtown’s first squad to win the state title in the age bracket.
Newtown opened against the host South East Conference (SEC) All-Stars, comprising players from East Lyme, Old Lyme, Niantic and New London. Behind the stellar pitching of Pat Mullins and some timely hits, Newtown prevailed 5-4 in extra innings. Brandon Marks homered in the first as Newtown took a 4-0 lead. SEC battled back scratching out runs in the third, fourth, and sixth innings to tie the game and send it to extras where Alex Roche ended it with a solo home run to left center in walk-off fashion.
In the second game, Newtown faced the Housatonic Valley League All-Stars comprising players from Naugatuck, Shelton, Watertown, Milford and Seymour and got all it could handle before pulling out a 2-1 win. After grabbing a quick 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first, Brandon Marks settled into a pitcher’s duel against Jake Walkinshaw, an All-State hurler from Seymour. Newtown managed only two hits after the first inning, loud doubles to deep center by Greg Horne and Dan Poeltl. Neither runner was able to score. Housatonic scratched out a run in the third inning and left the tying run at third base in their half of the seventh inning.
Facing Greenwich in the winner’s bracket finals, Newtown got an unbelievable pitching performance from Dan Poeltl who struck out 16 batters in seven innings in an 8-3 win. Newtown once again got on the board first behind a rocket triple to right center from Reid Schmidt and fielder’s choice ground ball from Poeltl to plate the first run. After scoring four in the fourth on consecutive hits from Mike Daubert, Brandon Cooper, Pat Mullins, and Alex Lapinski the game was under control. Greenwich did score three runs in the bottom of the seventh, but the deficit and Poeltl were too much to overcome. Newtown advanced to the double-elimination finals.
In the finals, Newtown faced the same SEC team from the opening round which had navigated through and won the loser’s bracket of the tournament, and won 14-1. Pat Mullins once again was on the mound for Newtown, this time hoping to end the tournament.
Newtown posted four runs in the bottom of the first and never looked back. The lead was increased to five in the second when Mike Daubert walked, stole second, and scored on a laser double from Brandon Cooper. In the third, Alex Roche led off with a single and Reid Schmidt followed with a two-run homerun down the left field line. After Dan Poeltl and Alex Romeo singled, Daubert walked and Cooper singled in another run giving Newtown an 8-0 cushion. Mullins then crushed a grand slam to left center, essentially ending any hope for the SEC All-Stars. Roche reached on an error, and Schmidt tripled in Roche, leaving Schmidt only a double shy of the cycle.
Newtown will take its 16-0 record into the Sr Babe Ruth Regional tournament which begins play in Stamford on July 19.