COMMENTARY: Alarcon answered the bell for Blasius in series-clinching win

In a series-deciding game, there are likely going to be some gut check moments where a player or team needs to come up big.

Blasius Chevrolet starting pitcher Dave Alarcon Jr. faced a gut check moment, and then some, in the top of the eighth inning of Game 3 of his team’s Connecticut Tri-State Baseball League first round series against the Winsted Whalers on Monday evening at Hotchkiss Field in Prospect. Bases loaded, no outs, the tying and go-ahead runs on second base and first base, respectively.

Alarcon couldn’t have been blamed for being tired. He was in his 16th inning over work over the past two days. Alarcon pitched all eight innings in his team’s 7-3 Game 2 loss at Walker Field in Winsted on Sunday. He wanted the ball again Monday, but said he needed to start if he picked up a ball.

Everything went pretty well for the first seven innings Monday. Blasius held a 4-1 lead after seven innings. Then came one big swing from Winsted’s Austin Brochu leading off the eighth. Brouchu blasted an Alarcon offering over the right field wall to cut the Whaler deficit to 4-2. From there, Alarcon gave up a pair of singles and a walk to load the bases. What made the situation worse was Winsted’s No. 1, 2 and 3 batters were due up.

Alarcon answered the bell three straight times in that eighth inning jam, and he did it like this: Strikeout, strikeout, strikeout. The first two strikeouts prompted a yell out of Alarcon from the mound, and his teammates joined in with loud cheers of support when the third strikeout ended the jam.

It was one of the best pitching performances this writer has ever seen from an amateur in a big moment in a big game. Blasius added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth inning to go ahead 5-2, and Alarcon went back out for the top of the ninth inning. The game wasn’t over, however, as Winsted had its No. 4, 5 and 6 batters due up. The No. 6 batter, who came in as a defensive replacement for an injured teammate, was lifted for a pinch hitter.

None of that mattered to Alarcon, who set the Whalers down 1-2-3. Strikeout, strikeout, strikeout. You read that right. Alarcon’s last six outs of his second complete game in as many days came via strikeout. You can’t make that stuff up.

This writer told Alarcon afterward that he went to hell and back in that eighth inning. All Alarcon could do was laugh. He had answered the bell, and his fourth-seeded Blasius team had earned a semifinal date with the top-seeded Tri-Town Trojans, who are the defending champions. That best-of-three series begins Friday in Litchfield. Don’t be surprised to see Alarcon on the mound again, possibly more than once.

PHOTO CAPTION: Blasius Chevrolet starting pitcher Dave Alarcon Jr. ended his Game 3 start against the Winsted Whalers with six consecutive strikeouts. (Copyright, Sports on CT-69)