Shorthanded Westport Senior Legion baseball falls to Bridgeport
Updated 1:41 am, Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Give the Westport Senior Legion baseball team credit for putting together a patchwork team in the face of absences.
Westport has two of its top righty pitchers, Jimmy Kopack and Julian Clarke on a mission in Costa Rico this week. The team also missed starting right fielder Zach Mitchell, catcher James Frusciante and lefty pitcher Chris Speer, who are at a football camp Monday and will return to the diamond Friday, and third baseman Bryan Terzian, who splits time with another team, was also not at Monday's game at Bridgeport's Seaside Park.
Despite this high absentee rate, Westport showed many positive signs in an 8-1 loss to Bridgeport in dropping to 3-7. Bridgeport raised its record to 6-8.
"It's going to be a tough stretch," Westport Coach Wayne Randazzo said. "I have people playing positions they normally don't play. I had pitchers playing right field, first base and designated hitter and it messes with the lineup. The lineup is all over the place and the continuity isn't there."
Compounding the problem for Westport was that this was its third straight game in a stretch where it will play nine games in nine days. Westport doesn't have a day off from competition until next Monday.
"When our full team is here, we can play with anyone," Randazzo said.
The loss to Bridgeport ended Westport's one-game winning streak (an 8-1 road win over Fairfield at Seaside Park Sunday morning) and was its fifth loss in six games.
In its loss to Bridgeport, Westport followed a pattern of hitting well and putting runners on base but not delivering the timely hit that produced needed-runs.
Westport opened the game by loading the bases with one out. Ben Greenberg led off the game with a walk, Nick Kiedasch followed with a single and after Marco Romero lined out to right, Alex Gandolfo reached on a fielder's choice to load the bases. However, no runs scored because Bridgeport lefty Pablo Hernandez bore down and struck out Alex Bauer and induced Alex Ludel to ground out to shortstop.
"When he needed to get an out, he got an out, their pitcher was good," Randazzo said.
Hernandez pitched a complete game in scattering eight hits with five walks and five strikeouts.
Bridgeport scored three runs of righty Jonathan Friedman, who started his first game of the year. Ricky Rodriguez delivered a two-run double delivered a two-run double for Bridgeport. Following the inning, Friedman settled down and pitched four innings. He allowed four runs.
"He [Friedman] did a good job but most of the kids didn't get playing time during the high school season [and are just getting warmed up]," Randazzo said.
Romero hit well for Westport and was 3-4 at the plate. In fact, he's been one of the team's top batters lately.
"Focus and seeing the ball come out of his [the pitcher's] hands," said Romero on the key to his hitting. "You have to recognize the ball before it goes out of his hands."
Overall, Westport left 10 runners on base. Worse, Westport also had two runners thrown out at the plate and a base-runner erased by a double play.
Kiedasch led off the fifth inning with a walk. Romero followed with a single and Gandolfo (1-3) singled to left, but Kiedasch (2-3) was thrown out at home on a play in which it looked like he beat the tag.
Westport scored in the seventh. Greenberg led off with a single to left, Kiedasch followed with an infield single, Romero singled to center to load the bases and Gandolfo's groundout plated Greenberg. Bauer then flied to center fielder Donte Younger, who nailed Kiedasch at the plate for a double play and final out of the game.
"The only place we couldn't score was if we hit it to center field," Randazzo said. "There were a lot of positives. We got runners on base but couldn't score."
Jon Lobello also had a hit for Westport. The righty Bauer relieved Friedman in the fifth. Bridgeport scored four runs in the sixth.
Westport played at Wilton yesterday after press time, hosts Bridgeport today at 5:30 p.m. at Staples and plays at Bridgeport tomorrow at 5:30 p.m.