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    Wednesday, June 19, 2024

    Dull leads an exciting championship victory for the Bears in DII baseball

    Stonington’s Grayson Dull hits an RBI double during a game against East Lyme earlier this season. Dull earned Most Valuable Player honors Friday as Stonington edged Lyman Memorial 3-2 in eight innings for the ECC Division II baseball tournament at Dodd Stadium. (Dana Jensen/The Day)
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    Norwich — Grayson Dull, whose surname belies his pitching effort, entered this championship game with the bases loaded and his team trailing by two runs already.

    More than five innings later, Stonington’s Dull stood on the mound at Dodd Stadium protecting a one-run lead in extra innings as Lyman Memorial threatened with second and third and one out.

    Dull was perfect on both occasions, clearly earning the Most Valuable Player award in Stonington’s 3-2 win over Lyman Memorial in eight innings Friday night in the Eastern Connecticut Conference Division II title game.

    “Unbelievable,” Stonington coach Bob Cahoone said, needing one word to describe what the patrons experienced.

    Dull, who entered in relief of starter Cam Ogden in the third inning, pitched 5.2 innings of scoreless, one-hit relief. He induced a 4-6-3 double play in the third to escape a bases-loaded jam and a pop up/strikeout combination in the eighth to touch off his team’s celebration.

    “That last out — wow,” Cahoone said. “Grayson did a great job. In the second half of the year, he’s been putting the fire out.”

    His teammates, meanwhile, rallied from an early 2-0 deficit. In the fourth, Dylan Cimini, who was hit by a pitch, eventually scored on Finn Eck’s sacrifice fly. An inning later, Alex DePerry’s two-out RBI single scored Michael Keefe, the No. 9 hitter, who hit a one-out triple.

    With the game tied in extras, Cimini led off with a single, stole second and scored on Wyatt Verbridge’s RBI single.

    This all spoiled a noteworthy effort from Lyman starter Jared Russo, whose right arm closed Lyman’s semifinal victory on Thursday, started and went seven innings Friday — and then caught the eighth inning.

    The Bulldogs left the bases loaded after scoring two runs in the first inning and failed to capitalize on a bases-loaded opportunity in the third.

    Russo allowed four hits and walked two.

    Lyman mustered three base runners in Dull’s 5.2 innings.

    The Bulldogs scored in the first when Alex Ortiz was hit by a pitch and Jeremiah Bobbi walked with the bases loaded, plating Isaac Cone and Nick Chalifoux respectively.

    Both the Bears and Bulldogs begin play in the state tournament Tuesday. Lyman will play at home against Old Saybrook, likely featuring a pitching matchup between ECC Player of the Year (as voted by the coaches) Dominic Pontbriant and UConn-bound Connor Lane.

    Until then, however, the Bears can celebrate.

    “We battled. We battled, we battled,” Cahoone said. “We’ve talked about that all year.”

    Said Dull: “We’ve had a lot of ups and downs this year. But we’re going into the state tournament with momentum.”

    m.dimauro@theday.com

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