The move up to the Interscholastic Athletic Conference Large School Division this year ended up changing one word on the trophy for the Thomas A. Edison baseball team.
After winning four consecutive IAC Small School titles, the Spartans captured the Large School championship Wednesday night with a 9-5 victory over Dryden at Dunn Field.
Edison (16-2), winner of six in a row and the fifth-ranked team in Class C, scored four runs in the fifth inning to grab a 6-2 lead, then added a run in the sixth and two in the seventh after the Purple Lions cut the lead to 7-4.
Dryden (11-6), which has lost four in a row since rising to No. 9 in the state Class B rankings, scored a run in the seventh inning, but Edison turned a double play to help slow the Purple Lions’ comeback bid. Dryden loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh but could only push across one run, due in part to an unusual game-ending play.
Dryden coach Kim Brown felt his team did some good things but hurt itself by committing eight errors, which he said led to seven unearned runs.
“I thought John (Whitmore, starting pitcher) threw strikes, then Bruno (Bugliosi) came on and threw strikes,” Brown said. “Offensively, we couldn’t have had a better approach, we put the ball in play and put it in play hard, hit some shots. But I can’t even recall a team of mine committing eight errors in a game. We just didn’t make the plays.”
Brandon Michaud tossed a complete game for Edison, which won the title under first-year coach Zach Brown after he took over for the highly successful Mike Bennett.
“I’m happy for my guys. They worked really hard,” Brown said. “We struggled early on, but then we started hitting the ball well.”
Michaud allowed eight hits, walked two and did not strike out a batter.
Tyler Troccia was 2-for-4 and started two double plays at shortstop, including the one in the seventh inning. Andy Wilkins also had two hits and drove in three runs, including a bases-loaded single in the fifth that brought in all three runners following an error.
Troccia’s two-out single in the third inning gave Edison a 1-0 lead. An RBI single from Wilkins made it a 2-0 game.
“We struggled with their pitcher, but I thought we kind of figured him out,” Brown said. “About the third inning we really started hitting the ball well. He got to about to 90 pitches and his ball started to elevate and I think we took advantage of him at that point.”
Dryden came up to bat in the bottom of the seventh with the top of the order coming up, trailing 9-4. The Purple Lions loaded the bases, then Edison issued an “unintentional intentional walk,” Kim Brown said, to clean-up hitter Brian Colbert, making it 9-5. Bugliosi then came up and hit a hard liner to the Spartans shortstop, who caught Derek Wilson straying too far off second and doubled him up.
With runners on first and third and two outs, senior Alan Davis hit a deep line drive to left-center field that the Edison centerfielder tracked down but bobbled and dropped. But Davis was ruled to have slammed his helmet down in frustration, thinking the ball would be caught, and despite reaching second base safely was ruled out, ending the game.
“I didn’t see the play,” said Dryden coach Brown, who was coaching third at the time and was focused on the runner coming from second. “But you can’t do that (slam your helmet) and the ump made the call.”