GREENWICH, Conn. – The clock struck midnight on the Greenwich Senior Legion baseball team's 2012 season Thursday night with the Cannons coming up one game short of the state championship round.
A four-run seventh inning by Rocky Hill-Cromwell-Portland proved to be the difference, knocking Greenwich out of the state semifinal, 7-5.
The vaunted pitching staff on which Greenwich rode to a 25-2 regular season ran out of gas in the state tournament. After defeating Oakville earlier in the day to advance to the semifinal, Greenwich had to turn to players who don't usually take the mound, third baseman Cameron Fennell and outfielder David Berdoff.
"It's a tough tournament. Playing every day or twice a day, they really showed a lot of heart," Greenwich manager Mike Abate said. "They hit Cam and Berdoff a bit, but they did what we asked them to. We just weren't able to turn over our rotation. You really do need a lot of arms, and [RCP's] offense is really good."
Fennell pitched valiantly through three-plus innings, and Berdoff held off RCP for three more. But Greenwich's opponent finally broke through in the seventh on three straight RBI hits.
The top-seeded Cannons battled back from an early 3-0 hole with a three-run third, thanks in part to a two-run double by Fennell. Greenwich briefly took a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the sixth on a Matt Pruner RBI single.
Greenwich tried to mount a comeback in the eighth, and got one run back on another clutch hit by Pruner. But the rally was snuffed out with the tying run on first when Matt Tate's screaming liner was hit right at RCP's right fielder.
"I'm extremely proud of them. I really am," Abate said. "One thing I'm comfortable with this team is they know how to win. Usually when we're ahead in a close game we pull it off. It just didn't bounce our way tonight."
The Greenwich Senior Legion team finishes the 2012 season as Zone Four champions with a 33-4 record. The Cannons should be right in the thick of it again in 2013 with all but four players returning next season, Abate said.
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