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Staples baseball uses 'complete' performance to beat Darien

Published 9:04 pm, Monday, April 29, 2013
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For the first time in a while, as coach Jack McFarland pointed out, the Staples High baseball team managed to do all the little things right on Monday.

Behind some clutch hitting and a complete-game effort from pitcher Chris Speer, the Wreckers topped Darien 5-1 on the road to compile their first win streak in nearly a month.

"We played a complete baseball game today," McFarland said. "We had pitching, defense, timely hitting. That's what it takes. That's what we're capable of. This is the kind of game I've been waiting a long time for."

Speer notched his first victory of the season, scattering six hits and three walks over seven innings. He carried a shutout into the seventh inning, but allowed an unearned run on a two-out single by Nick Pettit.

"I'm very excited," the southpaw said of his outing. "I've been having a little trouble in the past. My team was great giving me the support that I needed. I just felt comfortable out there."

That support came both at the plate and in the field. Staples' defense was close to flawless behind Speer, who routinely pitched to contact.

"Our outfield defense today was unbelievable. They were very aggressive," said McFarland, referring to Alex Ludel in left field, James Frusciante in center and Matt Smith in right.

Darien hit some balls hard, but struggled to get the clutch hits it needed. The Blue Wave, which went down in order just once, stranded nine runners.

"You'll never look at the scoreboard today and believe we hit well. But we hit well today," Darien coach Mike Scott said. "Their outfielders made a couple very nice plays and we hit some balls right at people. That's the way this game goes sometimes."

Staples (7-5), however, pieced together some timely hits, scoring four of its five runs with two outs. Three of those runs came in the fourth inning on two-out hits by Frusciante and shortstop Sam Ellinwood, making it 4-0.

Bryan Porter's two-out single in the fifth made it 5-0 and ended the day for Darien starter Mackenzie Glavin. The right-hander allowed five runs on seven hits in 4 2/3 innings.

"He was battling," Scott said of Glavin. "He was making good pitches."

Ahead 5-0, Speer retired Darien in order in the fifth inning, then worked around a leadoff single in the sixth. Staples catcher Noah Yokoi picked off a runner at first to end the sixth.

The Wreckers (7-5) have won back-to-back games for the first time since April 6, when they started 3-0. McFarland is hoping that his team can add to its streak in its chase for an FCIAC playoff spot.

"We sat the kids down after 10 games and we said, `This is what we have to do to get to where we want to go.' Since we've done that, we're 2-0," McFarland said. "We still have work to do, but every game for us is the World Series. ... There's going to be a battle for that 7-8 spot in the FCIAC."

Staples, which collected nine hits on the afternoon, went ahead 1-0 in the second on a sacrifice fly by Porter.

dbonjour@scni.com; 203-255-4561 ext. 114; twitter.com/DougBonjour

STAPLES 5, DARIEN 1

STAPLES 010 310 0 -- 5 9 1

DARIEN 000 000 1 -- 1 6 1

Records: Staples 7-5; Darien 5-7.

Batteries: S -- Chris Speer (W) and Noah Yokoi; D -- Mackenzie Glavin (L), Ames Murray (5) and Anthony DiMeglio.

Highlights: S -- Speer pitched a complete game, allowing just six hits and an unearned run. He struck out four. Sam Ellinwood went 2-for-3 with a walk and two RBI. Bryan Porter went 1-for-2 with a walk and two RBI. D -- Nick Pettit had an RBI single. Andrew Maley went 2-for-2 with a walk.

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