Baseball: How 'bout those Foran Lions?
Foran High defeated Guilford 10-8 in Saturday to advance to the semifinals of the CIAC Class L baseball tournament.
Waiting for Foran in the semis, to be played Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. at Hartford’s Dunkin Donuts Park, is Watertown High (14-9). The 20th seeded Indians knocked off No. 5 Branford 4-3 in their quarterfinal.
Trailing 8-4 entering the top of the seventh, the 32nd-seeded Lions (10-13) scored six runs to defeat the ninth-seeded Indians (15-8).
“That’s one of the best comebacks I’ve seen,” said Foran coach Garrett Walker of his team’s quarterfinal win. “That’s for sure.”
In the top of the seventh inning, Mark Wooten started a six-run rally with a homer to left center.
“It set the tone for the inning,” Walker said. “With the end of the season looming, that kind of picks us up a little bit and says you know what we haven’t been hitting the ball…That turned things around for us.”
John Lickteig followed Wooten’s homer with a single.
J.T. Lanese walked and Kevin Lanese singled to load the bases.
Turlis reached base after being hit by a pitch, scoring Lickteig.
David Payne then hit a routine fly ball to left fielder Logan Driscoll but he slipped and fell, allowing Kevin and J.T. Lanese to score, tying the game at 8.
After Matt Kennedy walked, Brett Huber hit an RBI single to center field, scoring Anthony Turlis to take the lead 9-8.
“That’s the exact guy we want to have up in that situation,” Walker said. “I don’t care if I had Babe Ruth, I’m picking Brett Huber right there.”
Wooten then flew out to right, scoring Payne to give Foran a 10-8 lead.
“Once we tied it up, I knew I was coming up again and I said I’m going make a difference this time,” Huber said. “I’m going to help my team out. That’s what it’s all about. We all pick each other up.”
Nick Hartley, who pitched 5.1 innings in relief of starter Chris Goglia, closed out the game with two fly outs to center and a groundout to second to send the Lions to the Class L semifinals.
“Everything changed from that second Law game when we were down, but we came back,” Huber said. “Kevin Lanese walked us off and we’ve been rolling ever since. We don’t feel there’s anything we can’t do.”
Foran, final team in the tournament, entered with humble aspirations — advance.
And, advance is just what the Lions did. They defeated the No.1 seed East Lyme in the first round, and No. 17 seed Berlin in the second round
“They made a decision that they were going to impose a little bit of their own will and things were going to be in their control,” Walker said of his players. “This is what happens when kids hold themselves accountable.”
Logan Hitchcock led the Indians with two home runs and four RBIs.
Charlie Danaher went 2-for-4 with an RBI and Matt Donlan went 1-for-4 with an RBI.
The Indians got off to a 2-0 lead in the first.
Sean Kellaher singled, Kameron Miles walked and Danaher singled. With Donlan at the plate, a passed ball scored Kellaher. Hitchcock then singled home Miles to give Guilford a 2-0 lead.
Guilford added another run in the second.
Evan Song reached base on a dropped strikeout and later scored on a Donlan double.
Foran scored in the top of the third.
Wooten started the two-out rally with a single. Lickteig then singled. J.T. Lanese then singled home Wooten to make it 3-1.
In the bottom of the fourth, Guilford tacked on three more runs on one swing. After Danaher walked and Donlan was hit by a pitch, Hitchcock hit a three-run homer to left center to make it 6-1.
Guilford added another run in the fifth inning when Song walked and Danaher’s RBI single drove him to extend the lead to 7-1.
The Lions started their comeback in the sixth inning.
Kevin Lanese led off with a single and Turlis followed with a single as well. Payne then doubled, scoring Lanese. Michael Leson then flew out to right field, allowing Turlis to score on a sac fly. Kennedy then drove in Payne on an RBI groundout to second to make it 7-4.
The Indians made it 8-4 in the bottom of the sixth when Hitchcock knocked his second home run of the game to deep center.