The Aces began the softball season in Norwalk by winning the first tournament of the season. They are one victory away from bookending the year with the city championship.
The Aces won the winners' bracket final over Saugatuck Construction, 13-1, in five innings Thursday at Calf Pasture Beach. The Aces will play in the championship round tonight at 7:30 against the winner of the losers' bracket final, which will be played 6:30. If The Aces lose at 7:30, a winner-take-all game will follow at 8:30.
"Before the game, we knew whoever won this game was going to be in the driver's seat,'' said Doug Vroman, who cracked a three-run home run, delivered four RBIs and scored three runs Thursday night. "We have to come out and play in the final like we've been playing."
"Last night we scored 27 runs and tonight we scored one,'' Saugatuck's Jim Coughlin said. "They come out ready to play tonight. I hope we get back to the final. We have to play better than this."
The Aces took control with a four-run first inning. They added three more in the third, all coming with two outs. Tom Cossuto (three hits, two RBIs), Nate Sumpter and Matt O'Brien delivered two-out hits to drive in runs. Vroman's home run in the fourth iced it. "You like to drive a ball in a situation like that with men on,'' Vroman said. "Fortunately, I got a pitch I could drive and it carried a little bit."
The Aces got contributions from the entire lineup as all 11 batters got at least one hit. Pitcher Dave Liberatore and a tight defense limited the thunderous Saugatuck lineup to just eight hits. Tony Rios had two of them, including an RBI single in the fourth.
Whatever happens Friday night, there will be a new city champion. Marinello's Pizzeria, the 13-time city champion, fell in the losers' bracket semifinals, 15-10. Marinello's landed in the losers' bracket Wednesday in a 27-4 drubbing by Saugatuck.
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