Hackers in search of fourth straight title

NAUGATUCK — The Connecticut Hackers could make a little history this Sunday in West Haven.

The Hackers, a Naugatuck-based National Adult Baseball Association team, will play in the Southern Connecticut division championship game at Quigley Stadium. At stake: a division-record fourth straight post-season title.

With a mix of former Naugatuck High School standouts and other players from around the state, the Hackers will face the Meriden Blaze, who finished the season with a 19-2 record and the regular-season division crown. The Hackers appear to be entering the game on the rise.

“Our pitching has been there all year, our defense has been there all year and now our hitting is starting to become more cohesive,” said player and manager Mike Doran. “Especially with the small ball we’ve been playing and the timely hitting.”

The first two post-season games were a good example of the Hackers coming together.  The pitching and hitting came together in wins over the Milford Monsters and Meriden Heat.

Hackers pitching has allowed only two runs in 18 innings. The combination of Mike Fox and Wes Dutton has been unstoppable.

In the semi-final against Milford, Fox and Dutton were stellar.  Dutton started, tossed seven scoreless innings and struck out seven. Fox came on in relief to record the final six outs.

At the plate, the Hackers made a statement early with a three-run first inning. Steve Webb was hit by a pitch and Fox singled him to third. Fox stole second, and Dan Kaminski followed with a sacrifice fly to center to score Webb. Dutton followed with an RBI double to make it 2-0.  Jacin Perez capped off the inning with a run-scoring single.

In the second, Webb smashed an RBI double. In the fifth, the Hackers scored twice more on a fielder’s choice and a throwing error.

In the first- round game against the Heat, Fox went the distance and fanned 10 in a 4-2 win. The Hackers also jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first. Craig Vincelette delivered a two-run single to score Jeff Farrell and Kaminski.

On Sunday, the Hackers will face perhaps their toughest test of the season. Charlie Hesseltine, a former Bridgeport Bluefish player and MLB draft pick will start for the Blaze.

The Hackers will counter with Fox, who has won the league’s pitcher of the year award. This will be the Hackers fifth straight appearance in the title game. First pitch is set for 1 p.m. Sunday at Quigley Stadium in West Haven.

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