Greenwich baseball falters in extras, falls to Staples 2-1

Greenwich High School starting pitcher Kyle Dunster did everything possible to keep his team within striking distance.

Trailing 1-0 heading into the sixth inning against Staples High School, Dunster hit the game-tying home run. However Staples was able to capitalize on two GHS errors in the ninth and came away with the 2-1 victory earlier today.

“We wasted a terrific effort by Kyle and JT (Hintzen),” Greenwich High School head coach Phil Tarantino said. “You have to make basic plays to win baseball games and we didn’t do that today.”

Although Hintzen picked up the loss in relief, it was the defense behind him that contributed. Zach Azadian started the bottom of the ninth inning for Staples by reaching base when the Greenwich right fielder dropped the pop fly and advanced to second when Nick Vega nailed the sacrifice bunt.

Ben Casparius hit a slow roller to short that advanced Azadian to third. Greenwich then intentionally walked Sam Ellinwood to get to Staples’ clean-up hitter Adam Dulsky, who was already hit by a pitch twice in the game. Dulsky took the Hintzen pitch to center field, however the GHS fielder bobbled the ball and Azadian was able to score the game-winning run.

“These guys are focused and understand the gravity of what the FCIAC is all about,” Staples head coach Jack McFarland said. “No one won any trophies today, but you have to grab your wins to get in that tournament. Whether you’re an eight seed or a one seed. Any one can win it. We are happy to get a big league win today and we are sure that Greenwich will be there down the road.”

Both teams started their aces and both didn’t disappoint. Dunster was stellar on the mound. In six innings of work, Dunster gave up only four hits and one earned run while striking out eight batters and walking two. He threw 97 pitches on the day and 70 of them were strikes.

“With Kyle and JT, we know that if we can score a run or two we are going to win,” Tarantino said. “Kyle was awesome today and dominated. But it goes back to that we didn’t pick the ball up. They were awesome and it’s as simple as that.”

Not to be outdone was Ron Vallone, as the Staples hurler also went six innings and gave up five hits and one earned run while striking out eight and giving up no walks.

“This was a great game by both starting pitchers,” McFarland said. “Our captain Justin Gallanty came in and pitched great. He put the ball in play and we just made the plays.

Even both team’s relievers were light’s out. JT Hintzen was dominating on the mound for Big Red, as he went the rest of the game and struck out three batters and walked only two. For Staples, Justin Gallanty struck out four GHS batters and walked one in three shutout innings.

Big Red got its lone run in the top of the sixth inning. With one out, Dunster stepped to the plate and launched a towering shot down the left line that stayed fair by mere inches for the deep homer.

“He put us on his back today,” Tarantino said. “He did everything he could to keep us in the game. He gave us an opportunity in extra innings to win. We had our chances, but we didn’t make the swings at the plate.”

The Cardinals had its best chance of scoring a run during the first. After Dunster reached base on a single, he stole second, but the next two GHS batters were unable to bring Dunster around.

Again in the eighth and ninth innings, Greenwich had its chances. With two outs, Dunster again made some noise, as he drew a walk and stole second. However a strikeout ended the threat. In the ninth Alex Loparco reached base on an error and stole second, but another strikeout ended the inning.

Staples scored its first run of the game in the bottom of the second inning and could have added a few more. Dulsky started the rally by getting hit by a pitch. Yokoi came up next and laced a single to right field that moved Dulsky to third. Bryan Porter came up next and hit a roller to short that drove home Dulsky and gave the Wreckers a 1-0 lead.

Nate Panzer kept things going by reaching base on an error and with two outs Azadian drew a walk to load the bases. However that’s when Dunster settled down for Greenwich and got Vega to strike out to end the inning.

With the loss, Greenwich fell to 3-2 on the season and will be back in action Tuesday afternoon when they make up their game at Fairfield Warde High School. Game time is slated for 4 p.m.

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