NAUGATUCK — The Hackers used a big inning early and held on late to advance to their league’s postseason title game.
For the second week in a row, the Hackers won a close game, defeating Meriden 9-8 Sunday at Rotary Field in the semifinals of the Connecticut National Adult Baseball Association playoffs.
Last week, the Hackers beat the Connecticut Flyers of Bridgeport 7-6 in the quarterfinals.
The championship game will feature the Hackers and the Bridgeport All-Stars. The game will be at West Haven High School this Sunday, Aug. 24 at noon.
The Hackers scored in the first three innings, including a seven-run third, to take a commanding 9-2 lead. They would need every run.
In the bottom of the first, Dan Kaminski singled home Mike Fox to plate the Hackers’ first run. In the next frame, Mike Bochino was hit by a pitch, stole second and scored on a double by Ron Swierbitowicz to tie the game at 2-2.
Steve Webb led off the bottom of the third with a single and started a hit parade. The first six batters of the inning came around to score.
Fox followed Webb with a hit. Kaminski reached on a fielder’s choice and Wes Dutton walked to force home Webb. The next batter Jeff Farrell walked to score Fox. Bochino then reached on a fielder’s choice to score Kaminsk and give the Hackers a 5-2 lead.
Nick Pereira kept the rally going with an RBI single, and Swierbitowicz grounded into a double play to plate another run.
Matt Jaronko walked, moved to second on a R.J. Shaw single and scored on a Webb RBI hit. Shaw was thrown out at the plate to end the rally after Fox singled.
Fox pitched into the seventh and left with two men on base. Farrell came on in relief, allowed both inherited runners to score, but ended the threat and also pitched a scoreless eighth.
With the Hackers still clinging to a 9-8 lead, Farrell opened the ninth. He left the inning with one out and runners on first and second.
Webb relieved Farrell and induced a pop out to get the second out. The next hitter singled to the outfield, however a strong throw from Dutton kept the would-be tying run at third. Webb struck out the next batter on a nasty knuckle ball to end the game.
It is the Hackers’ seventh appearance in the finals in the last nine years.