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Fourth time not a charm for East Lyme

Jun. 4—HARTFORD — To think that virtually all other state tournament participants making it this far normally face unfamiliar opponents, who are far less inclined to know the details and nuances with which your conference foes are acquainted.

Then there's Woodstock and East Lyme, who could have hummed some Dylan lyrics Tuesday night — "what a drag it is to see you" — the fourth time they'd seen each other this season.

And the narrative has been this: Woodstock the puncher; East Lyme the punching bag. Three wins in three tries for the Centaurs, including in the Eastern Connecticut Conference Tournament championship game 11 days prior at Dodd Stadium.

It sure looked as though the narrative would change for most of Tuesday night, until Woodstock's three-run rally in the bottom of the sixth sent the Centaurs forth, by winning the fourth meeting, this time in the Class L semifinals at Dunkin' Park. Woodstock 3, East Lyme 2.

The Vikings had a 2-0 lead into the sixth with Woodstock barely registering a murmur off Central Connecticut-bound senior Alex Dreyfus. East Lyme managed two runs (after none during the regular season) off UConn-bound lefty Brady Ericson. It was all looking rather swell.

"I thought we had it," East Lyme coach Jack Biggs said.

But then came the sixth when No. 9 hitter Noah Sampson led off with a swinging bunt. Max Corradi followed with a double before an RBI groundout, sacrifice fly and RBI infield single made it 3-2.

East Lyme, down its last last strike, loaded the bases in the seventh before Ericson escaped — and the Centaurs marched on to Middletown, site of this weekend's championship game against RHAM of Hebron.

"We hoped early in the game our big guys could be a little aggressive against Ericson, get things going and help everyone else to relax," Biggs said. "We did that."

Indeed. Garrison Biggs' one-out single preceded Liam Cochrane's two-out double that gave East Lyme a 1-0 lead. A.J. Montejano doubled to begin the fourth and scored on two wild pitches.

Dreyfus, meanwhile, struck out 11 and allowed four hits in 5.2 innings.

"I saw a senior out there tonight who was ready to compete," Biggs said of Dreyfus. "He did everything he could to keep us in the game. He was tremendous."

And so was the season, except the inability to beat Woodstock.

"That old saying is sometimes it's better to be lucky than good," Biggs said. "The swinging bunt. The infield hit. What can you do? That happens and then the Corradi kid has killed us all year. A really good player."

m.dimauro@theday.com