Kopack lifts Senior Legion baseball to upset victory over Greenwich
Updated 10:35 pm, Wednesday, July 13, 2011
When Jimmy Kopack is on, his team always has a chance to win.
Throw out the rankings and records of both teams because they don't matter. The righty Kopack proved this Monday by pitching ninth-place Westport to a 3-2 upset home victory over Zone IV frontrunner Greenwich.
Westport raised its record to 6-15 and won its second straight game -- its first winning streak of the season and it ended Greenwich's nine game winning streak. The Greenwich Cannons dropped to 20-3 and suffered their first road loss of the season.
Kopack allowed two runs, one earned, on seven hits with two walks and six strikeouts.
"I was throwing my curveball really well and I put it over the plate," Kopack said. "I spotted my fastball and I tried to get ahead of the hitter."
Greenwich wasn't an easy team to beat and showed why it's been leading the zone throughout the season by lacing two singles in the first inning and starting off the top of the second inning with a walk and infield hit. However, Kopack battled back by striking out Brendan Ryan looking and inducing Andrew Van Eyck to pop up to shortstop Bryan Terzian to end the first inning unscathed.
After allowing two base runners in the second, Kopack escaped the frame with no runs allowed by inducing a popup and striking out the next two batters looking.
"I didn't get rattled too much and I got ready for the next hitter," Kopack said. "My catcher Alex Gandolfo got me to settle down and called a great game."
The Cannons scored two runs despite not hitting the ball hard in the top of the third. They did their damage on bleeders, starting with Brendon Hardin leading off the inning with an infield hit to shortstop. Dylan Callahan walked and Ryan Brennan reached on a fielder's choice on a groundout to second baseman Alex Ludel. Ludel threw it to Terzian for the force but Terzian's relay went past first baseman Julian Clarke and Hardin scored. Van Eyck flied out to right field but Eyck flied out to right field but Kevin Collins kept the inning alive with an infield hit to shortstop.
Kopack should have escaped with only one run allowed but Terzian's error on Taylor Olmstead's grounder plated the second run.
Meanwhile, the righty Van Eyck was masterful through three innings and didn't allow a hit. Terzian (2-3) changed things by lacing a leadoff single to center field.
"I was looking for a pitch to hit, got a fastball and luckily, it dropped for a base hit," Terzian said. "That's when the momentum changed for our team."
Following Terzian's hit, Gandolfo followed by lining a single to left and Marco Romero lined a single to right to load the bases. Ludel drove in Terzian with an infield hit. Although the bases were loaded with no outs, Westport didn't score again as Van Eyck induced two routine outs before being threatened by Jonathan Friedman's liner to center. However, Hardin made the catch for the final out.
Westport came back in the bottom of the fifth with Nick Kiedaisch leading off with a single to left.
"I took the first pitch and got a single," Kiedaisch said. "I was looking for a fastball, it was an inside pitch and I took it."
Kopack walked and Terzian hit a two-run double in the gap between left and center.
"Jimmy was pitching well and I tried to get runs for him," Terzian said. "I was looking for a curveball with two strikes and I tried to hit it in the gap."
Kiedaisch said, "Without Jimmy's walk and "The Bull's" double, nothing would have happened."
From the fifth inning on, Kopack was untouchable. He retired the last eight batters he faced and defused the Cannons.
"It shows our team can beat anyone on offense and defense," Kopack said.