BRADFORD – The Bradford Railroaders varsity baseball team played host to the Ansonia Tigers Monday in the first round of Division IV tournament action.
Bradford moves on in tournament play, taking a 21-12 win over the Tigers in a game of three-scoring runs including a 5-0 Bradford run to open the contest followed with a 12-0 Ansonia scoring run and Bradford nailing down the win with a 16-0 run to close out the game.
“Luckily we put in seven innings,” Bradford coach Shane Snyder said, “and it couldn’t have come at a better time.”
TJ Pullins took the mound for Bradford, allowing an opening Tigers single to center off the bat of Alex Hughes.
Three consecutive fly balls had Ansonia taking the field with Max Muir taking the mound for the visitors.
The Railroaders took an early 1-0 lead, using an opening double off the bat of Pullins and a single from Mason Justice batting in the two hole to plate a run. Bradford took a 3-0 lead at the end of one inning of play with the aid of two Ansonia errors.
Pullins got two quick outs in the top of the second with back-to-back strikeouts followed with the following three batters reaching by way of walks, loading the bases for the Tigers before a third strikeout of the inning kept the shutout intact with the Railroaders coming to the plate.
Bradford added two seconding inning runs, getting RBIs from Justice with a single and Brandon Wysong picking up a RBI with a bases loaded walk, bringing a Tigers change with Hughes taking over the pitching duties.
A strike out and a popup to third had Ansonia out of the inning and trailing 5-0 after two complete.
Ansonia opened the third inning with a strikeout followed with the next six batters reaching base, starting with a Dalton Subler double to the wall in center. Hits from Muir, bunt singles from Trent Rader and Michael Werts and a walk produced three runs.
With the bases loaded, a strikeout had the second out of the inning with Ansonia trailing 5-3 with Hughes coming to the plate and drilling a grand slam home run over the left field wall, giving the Tigers a 7-5 lead.
Hughes set the Railroaders down in order in the bottom of the third with back-to-back opening strikeouts and a groundout to short.
Ansonia took an 8-5 lead in the top of the fourth with an opening Muir double in the gap in left-center followed with a single to center off the bat of Darien Burk to drive in a run.
The Railroaders’ lone runner in the bottom of the fourth reached with a hit batsman with the Tigers taking an 8-5 lead to inning No. 5.
Ansonia put the first two fifth inning runners on with a Hughes bunt and a Dane Wentworth swinging bunt followed with Subler driving a double to the fence in right-center, giving the Tigers a 10-5 lead.
Before Bradford recorded the first out the Tigers had an 11-5 lead, taking advantage of a passed ball with Subler sliding home safely from third.
A Rader double to center had the score 12-5 in favor of the Tigers with the Railroaders coming to the plate in the bottom of the fifth.
“We talked about it before the game,” Snyder said. “We’ve been in this situation multiple times this year. We know at some point we are going to be down, but we are that team that just has to keep fighting.”
Bradford put eight fifth inning runs on the board with 13 Railroaders coming to the plate to take a 13-12 lead into the top of the sixth.
Clinging to a one-run lead, Bradford went to its ace, bringing Wysong in to pitch the final two innings, keeping the Tigers off the board while sending 13 hitters to the plate in as many innings and scoring eight runs in the bottom of the sixth to win 21-12 and move on in tournament play.
“Brandon (Wysong) has thrown really well for us this year,” Snyder said. “He’s our team captain, he’s our team leader, and everybody feeds off him. Once he’s grooving, offensively and defensively, everybody just kind of follows suit with him.”
Wysong picked up three strikeouts in two innings of relief pitching.
“In that situation (down 12-5) it’s going to come down to the team who wants it and who wants to win,” Snyder said. “Lucky for me I have a group of seniors who want to win. The rest of the team just feeds off of them so when you get four guys that really have the desire who want to win that big game, everybody is going to feed off them. Everyone is eventually going to come through.”