Old Lyme denied spot in title game

Old Lyme's Matt Przybysz reacts after making an out during the Wildcats' 3-2 loss to Oxford in the Class S semifinals Tuesday night in Berlin.

Berlin - Randy St. Germain stared off into the distance while trying to describe Tuesday's unfortunate first inning.

"I don't even know what to say," St. Germain said after his Old Lyme baseball team lost to Oxford, 3-2, in a CIAC Class S semifinal, taking a few moments to collect his thoughts.

"Maybe we were just a little tight. I don't know. I didn't feel like that, but it looked like maybe we were a little on edge."

Sixth-seeded Oxford scored all of its runs in the top of the first inning at Sage Park. And the Wolverines did so on two hits, a hit batsman and an error by the Wildcats.

"Give them credit," St. Germain said. "I think they got a couple of two-strike hits. They just reached the bat out and did the job. Then once that was over, (Old Lyme pitcher) Slater (Gregory) settled in. It was a pitching duel after that."

Gregory hit the first batter he faced, James Michaud, and gave up back-to-back singles to Steven Mahoney and Dale Keller.

Neil Ring's fielder's choice scored a run. Bryan Peterson followed with a sacrifice fly.

Kyle Chudoba hit what should've been a groundout, but a throwing error scored Ring to give Oxford a 3-0 lead.

Gregory allowed five hits with nine strikeouts, no walks and two earned runs for No. 7 Old Lyme, which finished 17-8 and was trying to join top-seeded Cromwell in an all-Shoreline Conference final on Friday night at 7 at Palmer Field in Middletown.

"(Gregory) just did a great job for us today hitting his spots," St. Germain said. "In the first inning, again, they did a good job hitting some pitcher's pitches. Then, as the game went on, I think Slater just beared down a little bit more; made it a little harder for them."

Kyle Chudoba pitched a three-hitter with 10 strikeouts and no earned runs for the Wolverines (17-7), who were part of a magical Tuesday for their young school.

Oxford opened six years ago and began varsity sports the following year. The baseball team won just seven games last season and didn't make the state tournament.

The baseball, softball and boys' volleyball teams all won state semifinal games Tuesday.

"It feels awesome," Chudoba said. "Our goal was to take it a day at a time, but we had thoughts on it (to get to the final). Hard work every single day. We didn't (think about) it but now we're here and we've got a game to win."

Old Lyme went down fighting as David Peck walked to lead off the seventh inning and Ross Golebiewski singled. Daniel Chapman walked with one out to load the bases.

Trent Garbati lined out to second, but the throw to first base for a double play went to the fence.

The umpires ruled it a two-base error allowing Peck and Golebiewski to trot home and the Wolverines' lead to 3-2. But Chudoba got Matt Przybysz grounded out to end the game.

"We didn't quit," St. Germain said. "I'm proud of the kids the way they battled in that last inning because not all teams would've done that. Matty hit that ball hard. Who knows? It gets in the hole, the game's tied.

"It was a good season. It's a great bunch of kids."

n.griffen@theday.com

Oxford's JP DeFrancesco dives safely back into second base as Old Lyme's Bill Buscetto waits for the ball on a pickoff attempt during Tuesday night's Class S semifinal baseball game at Sage Park in Berlin. Oxford beat the Wildcats 3-2 to advance to the finals.
Oxford's JP DeFrancesco dives safely back into second base as Old Lyme's Bill Buscetto waits for the ball on a pickoff attempt during Tuesday night's Class S semifinal baseball game at Sage Park in Berlin. Oxford beat the Wildcats 3-2 to advance to the finals.
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