Tigers rally to eliminate Staples
Published 3:27 pm, Thursday, May 31, 2012
With one out to go and the would-be tying run on deck Wednesday against No. 12 Staples, Ridgefield baseball coach Tony Wilmot called a meeting on the mound with a clear message: bear down.
Wrecker first baseman Bryan Terzian -- who already had burned Tiger pitching for two doubles and an RBI -- was stranded on deck as Zach Levins flew out to deep center field to end the game, solidifying the 6-2 win for the No. 5 Tigers in the second round of the Class LL state baseball tournament.
"Today I was getting a little bit concerned, but the guys -- they never quit," Wilmot said. "The at-bats were good, the morale was good, and they just found a way to put three or four hits together and get back in the ballgame."
Down 2-0 for most of the game, a six-run fifth inning propelled the Tigers (17-5). Staples (16-8) starter Chris Speer faced just one more than the minimum number of batters over the first four innings -- thanks in large part to two errant Ridgefield steal attempts -- but ran into trouble in the fifth.
After back-to-back Tiger hits chased Speer, a pinch-hit single from Adam Zandri and a wild pitch tied the game.
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Leadoff hitter Timo Muro gave Ridgefield the lead with a two-RBI double to right, bringing in the Wreckers' third pitcher of the inning -- senior Julian Clarke -- who fared no better. Ryan Debany and Eric Jones each knocked in a run before the inning ended, and by then the damage was done.
"We tip our hat to them, they did what they had to do up at the plate," said Staples coach Jack McFarland. "They made the swings. That was the difference."
But when Ridgefield starter Ryan Callanan -- a Lafayette-bound senior -- took the mound for the sixth after a nearly 30-minute wait, he seemed to have lost the stuff that helped him retire 13 straight Wreckers between the first and fifth innings.
Callanan hit the first batter and allowed a double to Terzian, bringing in senior Brad Rosenfield, who went the final two innings without allowing a run.
For a while, it looked as if Staples -- which downed No. 21 Glastonbury 22-5 Tuesday -- was going to come out on top, just as it did in the teams' FCIAC quarterfinal matchup on May 23, a 1-0 Wrecker win.
Staples touched up Callanan for a pair of runs in the first -- including one on Terzian's first double -- but the lefty settled down, thanks in large part to groundballs to his infielders.
"First innings have been where he struggled, even though he's plenty warm and plenty sweaty," Wilmot said. "But if he gets through the first, you're in big trouble."