Greenwich Baseball Survives a 6-5 Nail-Biter in New Milford
In the midst of four games in five days for the Greenwich High baseball team, the Cardinals played visitor to New Milford High in a non-conference matchup game being made up on Thursday.
While the Cardinals never trailed during the game, New Milford High pushed Greenwich to the limit in the bottom of the seventh inning with a chance to tie or win the game with a late rally that proved to be too little too late.
“In high school baseball, every run you can get is important,” said GHS head coach Phil Tarantino following the 6-5 win. “That’s a good team we played. We needed every run we could get to get out of here with a win.”
Trailing 6-2 headed into the bottom half of the seventh inning, the Green Wave started the comeback with the four consecutive hits — starting from the pecking order of the lineup — and knocked in a pair of runs before a single out was recorded.
Leadoff hitter Owen Swanson ran out a bobbled infield ground ball and Brendon Profita slapped a double to put two runners in scoring position.
Jackson Olsen then cranked a two-RBI double to cut the lead to 6-4 and Matt Ryan’s single would put the Cardinals in a dangerous spot late in the game.
Greenwich would have a chance to turn the double play to end the game, but when the runner was called safe at first, the run that had crossed the plate just moments prior brought the lead down to one with two outs in the inning.
The Cardinals were able to get the last batter to fly out to left field, bringing the Green Wave’s built momentum to a screeching halt as the eighth batter of the inning couldn’t bring in the tying run that was left stranded on base.
“One of the things I’ve been preaching to these kids since I took the position was family and to never give up,” said New Milford head coach Ryan Johnson. “I’m proud of the guys showing a lot of heart at the end of the game. Sometimes it’s a little too late. We want to have the same type of effort in the beginning of the game as we did in the end of it.”
Brett Collins got the start for the Cardinals in the SWC-FCIAC matchup that was postponed from an earlier date on the schedule. In 5.1 innings, Collins was stellar from the mound with five strikeouts, two walks and two runs allowed on five hits.
Collins gave up a home run to New Milford’s Matt Ryan in the bottom of the fifth, but still left the game with a 3-1 lead intact.
“Brett was terrific today,” said GHS head coach Phil Tarantino. “He got an opportunity today and to his credit, he stepped up and was terrific.”
The Cardinals jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the first inning after walks and stolen bases given up to both Ryan Kelly and Eric Mini. Kevin Woodring popped one up in the outfield deep enough for the Kelly to tag up from third base and score the game’s first run.
In the third, King blooped a double into the shallow outfield thanks to his speed and awareness of the defense. Colin Kelly, who was on base due to an inning leadoff walk, scored after getting caught in a run down and after the defense shifted their focus to the confusion at second base.
Across the diamond, two runners were standing on second base, leaving Kelly to sneakily sprint for the plate. Conversations with coaches and umpires ensued, but only one out was awarded to the defense, meaning that the run counted to increase Greenwich’s lead to 3-0.
“We didn’t execute that how we would have liked it, but we were very lucky how it worked out,” said GHS head coach Phil Tarantino. “I think both teams were a little surprised at what happened, but we wanted to establish second and third base on the run down. Our guy vacated and they chased him luckily.”
At the plate, Kevin Woodring reached base three times with single, walk and a reached base on error to go with his sacrifice fly to break the seal. Ryan King slapped two doubles and stole a base while Connor Langan hit a pair of singles in the win for the Cardinals. Paul Williams added a much-needed insurance run in the seventh inning with an RBI single.
“We have some returning players for over three years and they had some really positive at-bats today. They were patient and they hit the ball hard. That’s all we can ask. I’m happy with their progress at the plate.”
The win puts Greenwich at 2-1 and the Cardinals are scheduled to play Wilton on Friday at home.