Westport Senior Legion loses in pitchers' duel
Clarke blinked first, hanging a curveball to Taylor Olmstead in the third inning that Olmstead deposited deep in the trees beyond the left-field fence for a two-run home run in the third inning, igniting Greenwich to a 3-1 victory at Staples High School on Thursday.
"It was like a slider or curveball and he just hung it inside and I was just looking to keep my hands back and I jumped on it," Olmstead said. "Give the kid credit, he pitched a great game, but when someone is pitching like that we have to take good approaches at the plate and take advantage of any mistakes and, like I said, he left one up and I was able to hit it over the fence, but I wasn't trying to do that. I was just trying to hit the ball hard and get it in play."
The inning started with Brendon Hardin hitting a double off the fence in left-center field before Olmstead connected for his bomb.
The Cannons (14-2) added one more run in the third when Ryan Hardin singled, driving in Cam Fennell, who had reached on a single.
More InformationFact box
That would be all Greenwich needed as Polak pitched 6 2/3 innings, allowing one unearned run and six hits while striking out three.
It was another strong start from Polak, moving the Cannons to within one win of securing a playoff spot.
"He has been doing that all year," Greenwich coach Mike Abate said of Polak. "He is new to the team and this is his third start and he has given us two good starts before and he just knows how to keep the hitters off balance. He is not overpowering, he works off his change-up, almost working backwards and kids get frustrated because it is so hard to pick up his timing."
Polak was cruising until the sixth when he allowed the one unearned run.
Frank Vartuli singled to plate Frusciante, making it 3-1.
Polak avoided further trouble when the next batter hit a shot into the left centerfield gap that substitute left fielder David Berdoff made a leaping grab to save two runs and the Cannons' lead.
Having players that can come off the bench to make big plays is a strength of this Greenwich team, according to Abate.
"I am very happy with how we are pitching and playing defense," Abate said. "Berdoff makes a big play in left field, because if that ball is in the gap it is a whole different story. This is probably our deepest team. Anybody I bring off the bench with this team can compete no matter what the situation is."
Polak's start over shadowed Clarke, who was solid aside from the two mistakes in the third inning, pitching a complete game, allowing eight hits while striking out nine.
"Theme of the season, one bad inning," Westport coach Wayne Randazzo said. "Our problem is we don't score enough runs. We have been in every game except for two this year. If Julian would just get mean and be mean the entire game, he can throw like that every single time."
Westport loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh, but Dylan Callahan relieved Polak with two outs and got Smith to pop to second to end the game.
Greenwich 3, Westport 1
GREENWICH 003 000 0 -- 3 8 2
WESTPORT 000 001 0 -- 1 6 2
Doubles: G Brendon Hardin. Home runs: G Taylor Olmstead.