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The Newtown Blue Stockings are hosting the 13U Babe Ruth Baseball State Tournament at High Meadow Field at Fairfield Hills this week. Newtown Middle School teacher Sue Lang, who taught some of the boys on the team, sang the national anthem as the tournament kicked off under the lights with Newtown taking on Danbury on July 6.
Head coach Geoff Curtis is assisted by Steffan Burns and Rich Turk, and Mark Mockovak leads the score keeping duties. A large contingent of volunteer parents have worked tirelessly throughout the week to keep the tournament running smoothly.
On the field, the Blue Stockings have had success, staving off elimination with a pair of must-win victories after winning their first game and then losing and being dropped into the elimination bracket.
In a tourney-opening 9-1 victory over Danbury, the Blue Stockings got redemption against a squad that had its number earlier this summer.
“The first win in the state tournament is very important, especially after losing to Danbury two times in the district tournament,” said Curtis, adding that Newtown had fallen to Danbury one other time this season. “The boys were excited about the opportunity to play Danbury; they had beaten us this season three times. They were all really close games.”
The state tourney matchup wasn’t so close, thanks to a strong all-around performance from the Blue Stockings.
Starting pitcher Charlie Curtis was solid on the mound, working out of a bases-loaded jam in the fourth and snaring a grounder to start an inning-ending double play in the sixth. Kyle Turk pitched the final frame to close out the win.
“Our starting pitcher went deep into the game, pitching to contact, which you can only do when you’re defense is playing well,” Geoff Curtis said.
After falling behind 1-0 in the first inning, Newtown, which played as the visiting team and batted in the top half of each inning, plated three runs in the third. Will Burns walked, and Reid Burns, Chad Argraves, Kyle Mockovak, and Sammy D’Aprile all had singles in the third.
Freddie Hubbard singled, stole second, and after a single by Charlie Curtis, scored on an error for a 4-1 lead.
Newtown put the game out of reach with a five-spot in the sixth. Pinch hitter JP O’Leary got things started with a walk, and Argraves singled with one out. Kyle Mockovak followed with an RBI double for a 5-1 lead. With two outs, Charlie Curtis smashed a bases-loaded, bases-clearing double to left center for an 8-1 cushion. Cody Meier laced a single to drive in the ninth run.
Newtown lost to Milford 9-4 in the second round the next day. Milford jumped out to a one run lead in the first inning. Newtown scored two runs in the second inning on a double by D’Aprile, which scored Reid Burns and O’Leary. The lead for the Blue Stockings was short-lived as Milford put six runs across the plate in the top of the third. Newtown cut into the lead in the bottom of third to three runs as Meier and Ben Carley scored on a double by Kyle Mockovak.
Milford added two runs late in the fifth to put the game out of reach. O’Leary and Matt Lokey were left stranded on the base paths in the final inning, as the Blue Stockings were unable to complete the rally.
The Blue Stockings reached the final four of the tourney with a 9-7 come from behind triumph in a must-win game against East Lyme on July 9. Newtown trailed 3-1 heading into the top of the sixth inning.
Reid Burns batted in Meier to tie the game, Kyle Mockovak knocked in Carley for a one-run lead, and another run came across on a wild pitch.
In the top of the seventh, Newtown broke the game open with four more runs highlighted by Hubbard’s two-run triple. Meier doubled to drive in Hubbard and scored on an error. In the bottom of the seventh, East Lyme scored four runs and had the potential winning run at the plate, but reliever Argraves got a ground out to end the game. Meier was the winning pitcher and was relieved by Kyle Turk before Argraves closed the door.
Newtown’s squad again won with its backs against the wall with a 9-1 victory over Stamford on July 10. The Blue Stocking offense exploded for six runs in the second inning with the big hit a bases loaded triple by Charlie Curtis scoring Hubbard, D’Aprile, and Lance Keayes. Reid Burns also delivered a key hit with an RBI. Keayes was the winning pitcher and was relieved by O’Leary.
In the sixth inning, O’Leary hit an inside-the-park home run, and Charlie Curtis hit his second triple, which resulted in his fourth RBI of the game and rounded out the Newtown scoring.
Newtown plays New Milford on Wednesday, July 11, at 6 pm. The winner plays against Milford on Thursday in the 6 pm championship-round opener, and needs a win to force a winner-take-all game on Friday, July 13, also at 6 pm. Milford needed just one win to capture the state title.