TAKING THEIR TOLL

Titans storm back for state title win over Portsmouth

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The Toll Gate Titans freshman won the Division I championship after coming back to beat the Portsmouth Patriots 4-2, Sunday afternoon at McCarthy Field in West Warwick. Toll Gate’s Caden Haley led the offense with a 2-RBI double and a walk. The Titans came into the playoffs as the No. 4 seed.

“We battled back all year,” Toll Gate head coach Max Garcia said. “I told those guys, we’re down two, it’s a long game, keep your head up and keep battling and they came through. They worked really hard and they deserve it. I’m so proud of these guys, I can’t even give enough praise.”

The Titans sent No. 2 starter Dylan Barlow to the hill, and he put forward an impressive complete-game performance, striking out three while yielding three hits and one walk while earning the win.

“He came in and pitched a fantastic game,” Garcia said. “He hit all of his spots and he’s one of our best players and I commend him and the rest of the players for their great effort.”

Toll Gate’s No. 1 pitcher, lefty Darek Lallo, pitched a gem the previous game on Thursday against La Salle, who was the top team this season. Lallo was in center field for this game.

Toll Gate squandered an opportunity early. With two runners on and one out, the Titans’ Caden Haley and Alexander Maker grounded out one after another to end the top half of the inning.

Barlow got the first hitter he faced out on a ground ball, and followed it by fanning the second batter. Then, Portsmouth’s Justin Parsons blasted a double to left. Next, Michael Thomas Morrissey hit a single to drive in Parsons, giving Portsmouth a 1-0 lead.

Portsmouth tacked on another run in the bottom of the fourth. First, Parsons worked a one-out walk. With two down, Toll Gate third baseman Kenneth Capellan scooped up a grounder hit by Liam Griffiths, but he threw it by the second baseman, putting runners at the corners. Next, Portsmouth executed a double steal and Parsons scored from third, making it 2-0.

Toll Gate fired back during the top of the fifth. First, Nathaniel McCamish was hit by a pitch. With two outs, Lallo walked to put runners at first and second. Then, Haley stepped into the batter’s box and smashed a double to center, scoring both runners, and tying the game at 2. After Haley took third on a ball in the dirt, Maker hit a slow ground ball to drive him in, while giving the Titans a 3-2 edge.

Portsmouth brought in the lefty reliever, Parsons in the top of the sixth. The first batter that he saw, Toll Gate’s Maker, hit a leadoff single. With one out, Barlow helped his own cause by crushing a shot to left field for an RBI double, giving the Titans a little bit of breathing room at 4-2.

Barlow shut down the side in order in the bottom of the seventh to seal the win.

The Titans never allowed an opponent to score more than three runs in a game throughout their title run. They opened the postseason with a 5-3 win over East Providence before holding the Rams to only three as well.

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