STAMFORD -- Thanks to a slew of close and extra-inning losses, it's largely been a season to forget for the Stamford baseball team.
On Wednesday, however, the Black Knights managed to cure their late-game hex while making this season memorable: with their first city championship since 2008.
Kenny Wright plated the winning run as Stamford scored twice in the bottom of the sixth inning, breaking a 3-3 tie and sending the Black Knights to a 5-3 win over visiting Westhill to win the city title and improve to 5-8 on the season. The Vikings dropped to 6-7 with the defeat.
"I've been here five years and this is my first city title," Stamford coach Fred Kelley said. "It's great to be city champions. I think Westhill had won six out of seven. It was a nice win today, I'm proud of the boys."
Matt Sciaretta pitched 1 2/3 innings for the win in the edgiest of circumstances. Entering with a 3-2 lead and runners on second and one out in the top of the sixth, Sciaretta allowed a single to Joey DePreta to load the bases and a walk to John Spoto that tied the game. However, the senior struck out Chris Soule with two outs to prevent any further damage.
"He came in today in an absolute pressure-cooker," Kelley said. "His curveball was really electric today and had (Westhill) way off balance. I think he deserves a lot of credit."
After escaping the jam, Sciaretta worked around an error in the top of the seventh that put the tying run at the plate. Sciaretta got Tim Longo to line out to first baseman Tyler Kane, who made a diving leap to tag the first base bag and beat the retreating runner for the double play.
"I was feeling some type of pressure," Sciaretta said. "I've come into these types of games before; I knew what it feels like and what it takes to get the job done. The defense picked me up."
Stamford retook the lead in the bottom of the sixth. Wright and Kane led off the inning with singles before James Mattimore reached on a crucial error that scored Wright. Tyler Curto singled home Kane before Westhill pitcher Luke Dawson retired three straight.
"We didn't execute in some spots," Westhill coach DJ Mulvany said. "In the last inning we had some communication issues and where we had been solid defensively we had some miscommunication and that extended the inning and gave (Stamford) two runs."
The Vikings put 16 runners on base between walks, hits and errors, but only managed to plate three of them. Starting pitcher Ryan Duggan was solid, allowing three runs on four hits and five walks in four innings of work.
"(Duggan pitched) good enough to win," Mulvany said. "It wasn't his best but he kept us in the game and didn't fall apart; he didn't have control early but he overcame it. We didn't have his back offensively."
Westhill entered Wednesday winners of fix of its last six games and holding the last FCIAC playoff spot. The Vikings have a brutal schedule down the stretch with Greenwich, New Canaan, St. Joseph and Ridgefield -- the top four teams in the conference -- on the horizon.
"We have to put it behind us," Mulvany said. "If we hold on to this, Greenwich (Friday) will give us a pounding."
Stamford 5, Westhill 3
WESTHILL 000 111 0--3 5 3
STAMFORD 100 202 X--5 7 2
Records: Westhill 6-7, 6-5 FCIAC; Stamford 5-8, 4-7. Batteries: W--Ryan Duggan, Luke Dawson (L) and Joey DePreta; S--Derek Kronkowski, Matt Sciaretta (W) and Chris DiPietro. Highlights: W--John Spoto went 0-for-1 with three walks and a run scored. Pete Horn went 1-for-1 with a RBI and two walks. S--Tyler Curto went 2-for-3 with a walk. Tyler Kane went 2-for-3 with two runs scored.