A back-and-forth battle between unbeaten Milford and loser’s bracket winner New Milford went into extra innings before New Milford walked off with a wild 9-8 extra inning victory in the first game of the 13U Babe Ruth state tournament championship game at High Meadow Field in Newtown on Thursday.
The teams will meet again at the same location on Friday in a winner-take-all ending to the double-elimination tourney.
First pitch is set for 6 p.m.
Milford fell behind 5-0 before a valiant comeback put the locals in front 6-5 in the top of the sixth.
New Milford tied the game in the bottom of the inning and the score remained 6-6 until the ninth.
Milford went back in front and seized an 8-6 advantage only to see New Milford again answer, this time scoring three runs to walk off with the victory.
The comeback by Milford started in the fourth when Joe Gaetano beat out an RBI infield single with the bases loaded.
It remained 5-1 through four complete innings, thanks to a stellar defensive play by Gaetano who made a catch in right field and threw home to catcher Cody Dineson to nail a New Milford runner at the plate.
Milford’s bats really came to life in the sixth.
A hit by Dineson, walk by Matt Piechota and error loaded the bases with one out.
Gaetano again came through, driving in a run with a clean single to center, reloading the bases for Mike Cosmas who hit a sacrifice fly to make it 5-3.
Jason Cruz, who came on in relief of starting pitcher Kian McEnerney, batted with two outs and bounced a single between shortstop and second, plating two runs to knot the score.
Cruz advanced to second base on the throw home. He stole third and scampered home with the go-ahead run on an errant throw during the steal.
A couple of Milford errors allowed New Milford to get the score even in the bottom of the frame.
In the ninth, Riley Jordan walked, stole a base and scored on an error. Tyler Shea, who reached on an error, scored on a double off the bat of Dineson.
Down 8-6 in the bottom of the ninth, New Milford had a couple of hits and trio of walks, with the decisive run pushed across on a base on balls.