Westport Senior Legion edges Ridgefield with playoffs ahead
Updated 4:25 pm, Thursday, July 17, 2014
The equation has been simple from the point of view of Westport Senior Legion coach Jeff Love. If they come, he will build it.
Behind an influx of recent Staples High graduates, Westport has locked up a spot in the Zone 4 playoffs with an eye on making a deep postseason run. Westport moved to 18-8 this summer with a 3-1 win at Ridgefield on Wednesday afternoon.
"We were a little short on numbers with the early start, but the guys that we had filled in admiralty and did a nice job," Love said.
Westport, which finishes its season Thursday at home against Ridgefield, will begin postseason play this weekend.
"The simple fact is that we've got some talent," Love said. "A lot of the kids have been staying in town the last couple of years and it's showing in the record. Westport has good baseball players; if they choose to play here we are going have a solid club."
Wednesday's game ended in bizarre fashion as Ridgefield fielded just eight players in the top of the seventh inning. A switch in the field involving the designated hitter resulted in starting pitcher Dean Kisciras being forced to exit the game. Without a replacement in the dugout, Ridgefield was forced to go shorthanded.
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In the bottom of the seventh inning, Ridgfield had a runner on first with two outs and Craig Burke at the plate. Had Burke reached base, the next batter -- the DH spot -- would have been ruled automatically out and the game would have ended. Burke, needing a home run to extend the game, popped out to center field.
Rob Vallone pitched four innings of one run ball for Westport, allowing five hits and recording three strikeouts. Ryder Chasin pitched the final three innings, including working out of a crucial jam in the fifth inning with runners on second and third.
"Our pitching was impressive today," Love said. "Vallone has come back and thrown pretty well and Ryder came in and slammed the door. Overall I'm happy."
Sam Ellinwood, who went 2-for-4, broke a 1-1 tie with an RBI double over the left fielder in the fifth inning. Ellinwood scored on an RBI groundout by Adam Dulsky two batters later.
Ellinwood reached second on an error to lead off the game and scored on an RBI groundout by Bryan Terzian. Ridgefield tied the game in the bottom of the third after Burke hit an RBI double.
"(Kisciras) did a good job of keeping our kids off balance," Love said. "He had some deception in his breaking pitches that got our guys on their front foot."
Ridgefield had a chance to take the lead in the bottom of the fourth. With runners on second and third with one out, Ridgefield had the runner at third caught in a rundown and was eventually tagged out. Vallone then escaped the jam with a strikeout.