Staples baseball clubs Stamford
\April wins bring May grins for baseball teams around Fairfield County.
As Staples and Stamford High flipped over the calendar, the Wreckers are living up to past successes while the Black Knights find themselves in the thick of things, especially after knocking off the last remaining undefeated team.
The two teams met Wednesday, and it was Staples who wrecked Stamford's week with a 14-6 victory thanks to a pair of three-run homers by Tyler Jacobs.
"We knew they were good, and we were coming off a big game ourselves," Staples coach Jack McFarland said of a victory over Norwalk on Tuesday. "High school baseball is all about the match ups. We are trying to search our rotation and work some things out. We had a feeling coming up here it would be a little crooked either way, high scoring, and that's what it was."
In the other dugout, Stamford coach Fred Kelley was riding high after handing Greenwich its first loss in a 4-1 victory Tuesday.
Thanks two errors and a few key baserunning blunders, the Black Knights (7-4) failed to seize any momentum from the win over the Cardinals.
"Today was the antithesis of yesterday," Kelley said. "We were a little flatter at the plate today. We had some opportunities to put the game away, sloppy on the bases. There were plays here and there that could have changed things."
While it is true a few innings could have gone either way, one thing was certain -- Jacobs' home runs. They were going and never coming back.
After flying out twice earlier in the game, to deep left and deep center, Jacobs finally found the sweet spot. In the top of the fifth, with runners on first and second, the junior shortstop turned on a high fastball, smashing it over the 319-foot sign in left center, extending the lead to 11-4. He did the same in the next inning, totaling six RBIs on the day.
"The guys in front of me got on base all day," Jacobs said. "The first few times I didn't really produce. I hit the ball hard but no results. Then I just got a pitch I could drive and got the job done."
The Wreckers finished with 19 hits and notched multiple runs in every inning except two.
Staples (13-1) came out swinging and drew first blood in the top of the first. Lead-off hitter Jack Hennessy doubled to center, advanced to third on a past ball scored on Ben Lipper's single. After a stolen base, clean-up hitter Ryan Burke drove Lipper in with a base hit.
Stamford starting pitcher Tommy McIntosh (2-3) eventually settled in and recorded three straight outs to stop the bleeding.
Stamford failed to respond in the bottom half, but Staples didn't slow down and scored three in the second and four in the third.
No one was happier about the offensive surge than Wreckers' starter Rob Gau, who picked up his third win of the season.
"I thought we really came out as a team after yesterday's win, and we went in the right direction,' Gau (3-1) said. "We play as a team more and more each day. Today was a great offensive day as well as defensively."
The chunk of Stamford's runs came in the third inning. First baseman Steve Hagedus was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. Catcher Mike Beldotti then walked, and the two advanced one base after a groundout. With runners on second and third, Dan White hit a line drive hard enough to force an error while Hagedus and Beldotti scored. Zach Lyman hit an RBI single later in the inning.
With the victory, Staples appears primed to win its third-straight FCIAC title.
"This whole regular season is all about just trying to get to those playoffs," McFarland said. "We are just trying to take (wins) as quickly as possible."
After rattling off six straight wins, Stamford has hit a rough patch, losing five of its last six games. However, the Black Knights have shown they can play with the best and will try to prove it against a strong Ridgefield team Friday.
"In reality, we are in the thick of things," Kelley said. "Friday is going to be a tough Ridgefield team. So they are coming here, so we need to come with a purpose and be hungry."