Wolcott baseball walks off on New Fairfield, reaches Class M state final

Nick Sconziano, right, scored the tying run, and Nate Northrop, left, later knocked in the winning run in Wolcott baseball’s Class M semifinal victory on Tuesday at Muzzy Field. (Copyright, Sports on CT-69)

The No. 13 seed Wolcott baseball team went from spinning a shutout to spinning out of control against No. 17 New Fairfield in Tuesday’s Class M semifinal game at Muzzy Field in Bristol.

In one inning, the Eagles watched a three-run lead morph into a two-run deficit. That deficit remained until there was only one out left in Wolcott’s season. At that point, the Eagles pulled off a miracle.

Wolcott scored twice in the bottom of the seventh inning to tie the game, then Nate Northrop walked it off in the eighth inning for a stunning 6-5 win. The fourth straight one-run victory vaulted the Eagles into the state final where they will face third-seeded Nonnewaug, a 7-5 winner over seventh-seeded St. Joseph of Trumbull on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at Palmer Field in Middletown.

Wolcott (17-8) almost didn’t make it to Middletown. After building a 3-0 lead with a three-run fourth, the Eagles gave up five runs in the fifth to fall behind, 5-3. Kyle Grabowski’s two-out single off Joe Ferrucci got things going for the Rebels, then later Teagan Beames blasted a grand slam off reliever AJ Martinez.

Wolcott couldn’t get anything across the plate in the fifth and sixth innings. In the seventh, head coach Craig Prasauckas pinch hit for each of the bottom three batters in the lineup. After two outs were made, junior Logan Szep singled to keep the Eagles alive. Nick Sconziano picked up an infield single off the glove of pitcher Justin McCormack. Drew Rocca worked a 3-0 count before going back to 3-2 against Beames in relief. Rocca smacked a single to right field to score McCormack and cut the deficit to 5-4.

With Martinez at the plate, Sconziano scored on a wild pitch to tie the game, 5-5, and set off a big celebration from the Eagles and their fans on the third base side of Muzzy.

Rocca, the third Wolcott pitcher, tossed a scoreless top of the eighth. With one out in the bottom of the eighth, Josh Dunne walked. He moved up to second base on a wild pitch, then reached third on a passed ball. Northrop – who had misplayed a fly ball in right field and was later pinch hit for in the seventh – smacked a ball the other way to right field through a drawn-in infield to score Dunne with the winning run.

The first person to greet Northrop was first base coach Matt Mancini, who grabbed the senior for a big hug. The rest of the team wasn’t far behind.

Incredible win is an understatement for this game. It was also the third time that Wolcott has won in eight innings. The Eagles claimed victory in their final at bat for the fourth straight game.

Wolcott will be going for the second state championship in program history. The first was of course won on the memorable two-run walk-off home run by Ray Bartoli in 2016. The Eagles returned to the final in 2018 and 2019, but lost both times.

GALLERY: Here are my photos from Tuesday’s game.