Rocky Hill 8U team takes tourney title

It was 6 runs in one inning, half a dozen in another, as the Rocky Hill Little League 8-and-under travel team won the tournament title by beating Middletown 12-6 on Aug. 2 at Gorman Park in East Hartford.

Rocky Hill came out swinging and plated six in the first inning, and at first it seemed like Middletown would be in for a long afternoon. But, the M-towners came back in the third by playing a lot of smart, station-to-station ball, and slowly plated 5 of its own to cut the Hill’s lead to a run.

The game’s only controversial play came in the fourth, when Rocky Hill’s Anuj Patel appeared to slide home safely under the tag of Middletown’s catcher, but was ruled out by the umpire.

Patel more than made up for it in the fifth inning, by making two great stops and two long throws to get the final two outs, and that missed run didn’t ultimately affect the outcome, as Rocky Hill put another six on the scoreboard in the fbottom of the inning, including a bases-clearing double by Robert Gwara. Middletown could only muster one more run in the bottom of the sixth, as Rocky Hill’s pitching and defense only seemed to improve as the game went on.

Coach Jason Myers said many of his players were in last year’s tournament, and lost in the semifinals, but this year’s win is some redemption.

“This year, the coaches made a commitment to each other to really get the kids together and work on the basics – the fundamentals – to control the ball and control the game,” Myers said. “It’s a special group of kids. They all go to the same school system, and they all work together, play hard and have fun…and good things happen.”

Myers said the final game actually provided the team with the most adversity it had to overcome, after having shut out all other tournament teams.

“It was the first time we had runs scored on us in the tournament,” he said, adding that the team’s first game, to Hartford before the tourney, served as their motivation the rest of the way. Rocky Hill trailed by seven runs with two outs in the last inning in that game, and came back to win.

“So, we used that game as a springboard for the rest of the season,” he said. “We learned from that game why we were in that position, but also that timely hits, good pitching and good hitting really pays off.”

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