Staples baseball shut out by Trumbull
A pair of locked in pitchers and a heavy wind blowing in from center field conspired to keep offense at a premium on Monday afternoon between Staples and Trumbull.
The Wreckers and Eagles combined for seven hits, but a pair of errors in the field proved to be the difference as neither Trumbull's Joe Nemcheck nor Staples' Ryan Fitton refused to allow solid contact.
The mistakes proved costly for the Wreckers, as Trumbull plated a pair of runs in the second inning off infield errors to prevail 2-0 at home in a battle between FCIAC playoff hopefuls. Nemcheck struck out 10 in five shutout innings while Fitton pitched a complete game.
"We were fortunate enough to cash in on some of (Staples') miscues, and that was enough," Trumbull coach Phil Pacelli said. "We had a couple of chances to tack a few more on but we did enough."
Staples also had runners on every inning, but couldn't plate them as Nemcheck had swing-and-miss stuff. Though he walked seven and hit another batter, Nemcheck got out of several huge jams early and tallied 10 strikeouts.
"He wasn't as sharp as normal early on, he had a few walks and a high pitch count," Pacelli said. "But he competes every pitch and every batter."
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The biggest of the jams came early, when Staples had the bases loaded with no outs in the top of the first inning. Nemcheck settled in and struck out the side for the Eagles (8-4), who have won five straight games.
"We stranded a lot of runners," Staples coach Jack McFarland said. "With the wind blowing in like this, the team that makes the routine plays and puts the ball in play is going to win the game. We struck out way too many (14) times."
Fitton entered the game with a scoreless streak of 17 innings. That was snapped early as a leadoff walk and a pair of errors -- one fielding and one throwing -- scored the game's first run. An RBI single by Dino DiGirolamo made it 2-0 and the inning ended in a rundown with an Eagles base runner tagged out between third base and home.
FItton settled in and retired nine of the next 10 batters before Trumbull attempted to extend the lead in the bottom of the sixth. An infield single and an intentional walk put runners on, but Fitton made a reaction catch on a line drive headed for the outfield to end the threat.
"(Fitton is) real sharp, he has a lot of movement," McFarland said. "It's tough to square him up, a lot of balls aren't hit hard against him."
The closest the Wreckers came to tying the game came in the sixth inning. With a runner on first, Ben Casparius laced a shot to center field, but the wind held enough for the Trumbull center fielder to make a jumping catch.
Trumbull reliever Brian Hnatuk struck out four in two innings to earn the save.
The game was crucial as the teams were deadlocked at 6-3 in the FCIAC heading into play Monday. The Wreckers (8-4) had their three-game win streak snapped.
"Anytime you can beat a team like Staples it's a big win," Pacelli said. "We were able to cash in on their mistakes. We've been winning a couple close games, playing good defense and getting good pitching."
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