Cadets get better of Cards, halt Greenwich baseball’s 26-game FCIAC win streak

In a match-up against two of the premier high school baseball teams in the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference, it was St. Joseph that was able to put four runs on the board and been Greenwich 4-0 yesterday afternoon.

“We made mistakes and they capitalized,” Greenwich High School head coach Mike Mora said. “They didn’t make any mistakes. With two good pitchers on the mound, that’s what is going to happen. It was a good game, but when we gave them the two runs at the end, it make it hard for us to score four five runs when you can’t really bunt or steal. Give their pitcher credit.”

The Cadets were able to push a runner home in the third and fourth innings and iced the game by capitalizing on a key Greenwich error to start a two-run, two-out rally. With the loss, Greenwich saw its 26-game FCIAC regular season win streak come to an end, a streak that was started two seasons ago.

“Mike does a great job with his team and he always has them prepared,” St. Joseph head coach Jim Chaves said. “They are very disciplined and they’ve had a great run. That’s 26 FCIAC  games in a row. They are a good program and we respect them, but we think we are a pretty good program ourselves.”

Throughout the contest, it was a battle of both team’s number one pitcher.

GHS senior Ryan Marks had a stellar outing for Big Red and kept the game within reach for most of the contest. He threw a complete game and gave up only four hits while striking out six batters and walking one. Throwing 81 pitches on the day, 56 of them were strikes.

“Ryan pitched a great game,” Mora said. “With four unearned runs, I think he deserved a little better than that. He struggled with his control early but I liked how he got stronger as the game went along. That’s good to see from your senior captain. I am confident that any time that Ryan goes out there that we have a chance to win. He gave us a chance today.”

Marks’ counterpart, Stanley Wolpiuk, was equally up to the challenge. With revenge on his mind from last year’s outing, an extra inning loss to Big Red, Wolpiuk threw seven strong innings. The SJHS ace gave up only six hits and one walk while striking out seven. Throwing one pitch shy of 100,Wolpiuk threw 62 for strikes.

“I always want to win and that is a good offense ,” Wolpiuk said. “I was spotting my fastball and curveball most of the time. I wanted this game from the beginning of the season, since last year when I pitched against them and lost in extras. I really wanted this game. The defense was great and rely on them. They always get out of big situations.

In his previous two outings, Wolpiuk only gave up one run in 14 innings of work.

“He was absolutely outstanding,” Chaves said. “They got a really good lineup and we knew coming in that we were going to have to keep them off-balance. He had all his pitches going and throwing multiple pitches for strikes. I think he kept them off-balance and it’s great to see. He’s a real competitor out there.”

Offensively Greenwich was led by Cameron Fennell, who finished going 3-for-3. Ricky Okazaki, Liam O’Neill and Ryota Fujikura each had one hit to round out the offense.

After Marks retired the first seven St. Joe’s batters, Mike Pulaski singled to center in the bottom of the third. Up next was Jake Amoroso, who singled to left. With runners on first and second, Jon Prutting came up and laced a screamer to left field that plated Pulaski.

The Cadets added another run in the fourth inning. Ryan Moran drew a walk to start the inning, Hirschbeck singled  to center field and both stole third and second respectively. With one out, Brett Olayos hit a roller to short, but the GHS shortstop was unable to control the ball. Olayos reached on the error and Moran came home to score the second run for St. Joseph.

The back-breaker for Greenwich was in the sixth inning. After Marks retired the first two St. Joe’s batters with ease, an infield error helped Mark Hirschbeck reach base. Nick Williams then blistered a single to center. The GHS center fielder fired the ball in to third to try and get Hirschbeck, however the throw sailed wide and Hirschbeck was able to turn the corner and score.

A double by Olayos that was just out of the reach of GHS third baseman Fennell helped score Williams and give the Cadets its 4-0 lead.

“We haven’t had many outbursts this year, so we’ve been trying to preach capitalizing on any opportunity we got,” Chaves said. “I thought the bottom of the order did a great job getting us going in the bottom of the third inning. That was big for the other guys to see.”

Greenwich had a few chances in the contest. In the top of the sixth, Okazaki hit an infield single to short and Taylor Olmstead reached first on a fielder’s choice. With one out, Olmstead stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch, but the SJHS pitcher struck out the next two GHS batters to end the threat.

In the second inning, Fennell smacked a one-out single to right and took second when O’Neill connected on a single to left. However that’s as far as the Cards would get in the inning.

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