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Cardinals baseball team getting set to play in Class LL state tournament

Hank Van Shaik of Greenwich swings the bat during the FCIAC Tournament quarterfinals against Staples at Havemeyer Field in Greenwich on May 17. The Wreckers were victorious, 15-0. Photo by David Fierro

By David Fierro

Following a 2-5 start to its season, the Greenwich High School baseball team experienced a resurgence, going 10-3 over its final 15 games of the regular season to earn the No. 2 seed in the FCIAC Tournament and a home game against seventh-seeded Staples.

Yet, the Wreckers are the team the Cardinals have had the most trouble with this season.

Going into their FCIAC Tournament quarterfinal-round game against the Wreckers on May 17 at Greenwich’s Havemeyer Field, the Cardinals were 0-2 against Staples, while being shutout in both games.

Unfortunately for the Cardinals, that pattern continued in the FCIAC quarterfinals on May 17, as Staples broke open a close game the final three innings, posting a dominant 15-0 win.

Staples then lost to Trumbull, 3-0, in the FCIAC Tournament semifinals. Trumbull plays Wilton in tonight’s 7 p.m. FCIAC Tournament final at Cubeta Stadium in Stamford. In the FCIAC quarterfinal-round matchup, the game was scoreless after three innings, but Staples scored two runs in the fourth inning, added three more in the fifth inning and three in the sixth, before scoring seven times in the seventh.

“They have a potent lineup and they’ve had our number this year,” Greenwich coach Adrian Arango said of Staples. “We’ve had trouble with them all year. That’s three losses to them with no runs scored.”

Second baseman Jules Cisero went 3 for 4 with a home run, two RBIs and two runs scored, while Staples teammate Noah Saed, a third baseman, had two hits, a homer, two runs scored and five RBIs.

Andrew Oppenheimer had two hits and two runs scored, while outfielder Jack Farren was 2 for 4 with one run scored and two RBIs in the winning effort. Catcher Jake Goldshore homered and drove in three runs for the Wreckers, who are 3-0 against the Cardinals this season.

Senior right-hander Tommy Passamano pitched five innings for GHS, allowing five runs after throwing three scoreless innings to start the FCIAC quarterfinal.

“Tommy pitched out of some huge jams early, he kept us in it,” Arango said. “We’re down 2-0 going into the fifth, the game was tight and Tommy did everything we could to keep us in it.”

With the game scoreless, Staples took the lead in the top of the fourth inning. Cisero hit a two-run home run over the left center field fence, giving the Wreckers a 2-0 lead. In the fifth inning, Saed smashed a three-run homer to left field, upping Staples’ advantage to 5-0.

Farren delivered a two-run single to key Staples’ three-run sixth inning and Goldshore homered during the Wreckers’ seven-run seventh. Senior Troy Goodwin, junior Lucas Meinelt and sophomore Luke Tocci combined to pitch the final three innings for the Cards.

“One thing about the FCIAC is one team is only going to be happy at the end,” Arango noted. “We have the state tournament and we have 10 days to prepare. We’ve been very resilient, we started 2-5 and here we are as the No. 2 seed in the FCIAC.”

Ranked 14th in Class LL Greenwich (12-9) will get a home game in the first round of the LL state tournament next week.

“We’re going to have a home game in the state tournament and hopefully, this will fuel us,” Arango said. “We thought it would be a tight game, the last few innings the game got away from us.”

Once again, Staples was led on the mound by hard-throwing junior left-hander Kai Nee. He allowed only one hit in five innings, while striking out 11 batters and walking just two to earn the win.

“This year, we haven’t been given much of a chance by anybody, but this has been a resilient group. We have great leadership, we have great captains,” Arango said.

Tommy Passamano of Greenwich delivers a pitch against Staples in the FCIAC Tournament. Photo by David Fierro
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