Terzian's bat, arm help Staples hold off Trinity Catholic
By Dave Ruden
WESTPORT — Bryan Terzian quietly bided his time on the Staples High School bench last season, a freshman talented enough to contribute right away but squeezed out of considerable playing time by a veteran lineup.
This season the Wreckers are going to be leaning on Terzian more, and based on his performance Friday afternoon against Trinity Catholic, he is going to fulfill the lofty expectations.
Terzian went 3-for-3 with four RBIs, and pitched 3 2/3 innings of relief to get the win as Staples, after seeing its 6-0 lead whittled down to a single run, pulled away for a 9-5 win.
“He’s a very aggressive pitcher and a pretty strong kid,” Staples coach Jack McFarland said. “He’s a sophomore and has a lot to learn. Physically, he’s ready to be on the varsity.”
Terzian had already homered and doubled in a run when he moved to the mound from third base in the fourth after the Crusaders had scored three runs to cut their deficit in half. He got a force out to end the inning, and after giving up two runs in the fifth settled down and faced the minimum nine batters the rest of the way, allowing just a walk.
Asked if it was difficult to come in without warming up on a cold day, Terzian said, “A little bit. It was hard to get the offspeed pitches, but I thought I hung in there.”
Terzian broke the game open in the bottom of the sixth inning when his hard grounder down the line caromed off the glove of Trinity first baseman Jeff Cortese on a diving attempt, going for a two-run double that provided the Wreckers with their final runs.
“We were a great hitting team last year and this year we’re just as good or better,” said Terzian, who added he was more gratified by his efforts preventing than producing runs. “Pitching wins games and everything.”
Terzian also made an impression on Trinity coach Tracy Nichols, who has always handled the team’s pitchers.
“He’s got a strong arm,” Nichols said.
Nichols would have liked to have had similar pitching depth Friday. Chris Neuscheler gutted out a complete-game effort, recovering after allowing the first four batters to reach base and score in the third inning to fall behind, 6-0.
Nichols’ two top options out of the bullpen, Nick Russo and Tre Pizzutello, both sprained their ankles during the game and were unavailable.
One trademark of the Trinity program, no matter the composition of the roster, has been a gritty attitude, and that was apparent again after the team appeared on the verge of getting blown out early.
“I liked the way we battled,” Nichols said. “We have a young team, and even our seniors are inexperienced. They didn’t fold, and I think we are going to be a pretty good team.”
In the fifth, Patrick Murphy singled in a run and Jeff Cortese had an RBI groundout as Trinity inched within 6-5 before Staples got a run back in the bottom of the inning on a walk, sacrifice and error.
Frank Spoto had two hits for Trinity.
“I don’t think 9-5 is indicative of how we battled today,” Nichols said.
Dave Ruden can be reached at email@example.com. Read his blog at http://blog.ctnews.com/overtime/ and follow him on Twitter at DaveRuden.