Staples beats Greenwich behind Fitton's no-hitter
Staples High School sophomore right-hander Ryan Fitton wasn't certain that he had a no-hitter going when he took the mound in the bottom of the seventh inning of Thursday's game against Greenwich, but he sure knew something was up when his teammates swarmed him after he retired the final batter.
Keeping the ball down in the strike zone with an effective cut fastball, Fitton produced the type of outing all pitchers dream of having -- and one he won't soon forget. The 6-foot-5 Fitton pitched a no-hitter with six strikeouts to lead Staples to a 3-0 victory over Greenwich in an FCIAC matchup played in a little bit of hail, some rain and plenty of wind.
Retiring the first six batters he faced, Fitton issued four walks for the game and pitched out of his only big jam in the sixth inning.
"I thought I might have had a no-hitter going, but I really wasn't sure, because they had guys on base," Fitton said. "I really had no idea, but when I got that last out, it felt great -- it was awesome."
Effectively mixing his pitches, the Wreckers hurler induced 13 groundball outs.
"I kept hitting my spots and Phil (McGovern) called a good game behind the plate," Fitton said. "My cut fastball, which has a sink to it, was working well and so was my curve ball as my secondary pitch."
Said Staples coach Jack McFarland: "He (Fitton) is a big, strong kid who pounds the strike zone. He gets batters to hit a lot of ground balls, because he has a heavy sink to his fastball."
Greenwich (2-3) also received impressive pitching. Sophomore right-hander Connor Langan allowed only two earned runs in five innings, while striking out two. Anthony Ferraro, a sophomore left-hander was sharp in his two innings of relief for the Cardinals.
"Connor pitched another strong game for us and Anthony came in and pitched well," Greenwich coach Phil Tarantino said. "Really, it came down to them just getting a couple of more walks than we did. They only had a few hits."
Indeed, the Wreckers (5-2) totaled just three hits, but they made them count. After Langan retired the side in order in the first inning, the visitors plated one run in the second. Cleanup hitter Noah Yokoi and first baseman Ross Poulley each walked to start the second inning. Later in the inning with one out and two runners on, McGovern blooped a run-scoring single to shallow right field, giving Staples a 1-0 lead.
Langan held the Wreckers in check until the fifth inning. Leadoff batter Zach Azadian reached on an infield error and advanced to second on a wild pickoff throw. He scored when center fielder Nate Panzer grounded a single through the second base hole, putting the Wreckers on top, 2-0. The Cards threatened to score in the sixth inning, as third baseman Matt Strati and leadoff hitter Devin McGrath walked and went to second and third on a double steal with one out. But Fitton calmly retired the next two batters, keeping the Cardinals off the scoreboard.
"He kept the ball down and they made every routine play in the field," Tarantino said. "We had a chance with runners on second and third, but he made some big pitches to get out of the inning. I'm pleased with how we are playing though."
Staples added an insurance run in the sixth inning behind a double by Poulley and three walks. Ferraro relieved Langan after he allowed a double and walked a batter. Both teams were pretty sharp defensively, as Staples played errorless baseball, thanks to fine plays by Azadian at third base Casparius at shortstop. Greenwich also flashed some leather, with Strati, second baseman Alex Loparco and shortstop Colin Kelly displaying their defensive skills. First baseman Mike Genaro made the defensive play of the game for Greenwich, making a diving stop on a ground ball hit by Panzer in the sixth inning with the bases loaded. The defensive gem, prevented the Wreckers from scoring two more runs.
"Our guys know when he (Fitton) is on the mound they have to be ready to catch the ground balls," McFarland said. "It was a great baseball game with not a lot of errors."
Fitton, who also pitched a no-hitter when he was 12 years old credited the fielders in back of him.
"They were amazing, catching everything that came their way," he said. "They deserve a ton of credit."
STAPLES 3, GREENWICH 0
STAPLES 010 011 0 -- 3 3 0
GREENWICH 000 000 0 -- 0 0 2
Records: Staples 5-2; Greenwich 2-3.