New Canaan baseball rallies to overtake Greenwich
Updated 2:02 pm, Wednesday, May 13, 2015
Twice the New Canaan baseball team found itself with its back up against the wall and twice it delivered in brilliant fashion.
The Rams scored four runs in the seventh to tie Greenwich before plating three in the eighth to walk off 8-7 against the Cardinals on Robby Jones' two-run homer over the right-field wall.
"I can't lie, I was a little nervous being in that situation," Jones said of being up with two outs and the tying run on base. "But I'm very confident in myself because I've worked my butt off for this spot and I feel like it's starting to pay off."
The sophomore lefty actually started the game on the mound for the Rams (12-3, 11-2 FCIAC), going four innings and giving up three unearned runs.
"Robby pitched great today," Rams coach Mitch Hoffman said. "He had three unearned runs and we can't do that. We have to do a little bit better if we want to go after our goal."
Greenwich (7-8, 6-7) led New Canaan 5-1 going into the bottom of the seventh behind some sloppy Ram defense and the arm of Michael Genaro, who went 6 1/3 innings and struck out six.
In the seventh, Matthew Burger led off with a double and moved to third on a groundout. Burger then scored on David Giusti's infield single and Jones, Kyle Levasseur and Zachary Smith all followed with base hits to tie the game before a 6-4-3 double play forced extra innings.
In the top of the seventh, Greenwich tacked on two more runs, starting with Alex LoParco's leadoff triple. LoParco was brought home on a sac fly from Colin Kelly and the next batter Devin McGrath walked and stole second and third before scoring on Kevin Woodring's sac fly.
"It's heartbreaking," Greenwich coach Phil Tarantino said of the loss. "The kids played their hearts out and were one out away, so it sucks. They laid it on the line, which is what we ask and I'm proud of them."
It looked like Greenwich would end up being too much to overcome after its two-run eighth, but New Canaan got singles from Thomas Williams and Burger and a walk from Lucian Tamburro. Giusti then grounded into a double play, scoring one and putting a man on third before Jones delivered his bomb on a 1-2 pitch.
"It just shows a lot about the character on this team," Jones said of the comeback. "All the captains are very supportive and they give us a lot of advice because they've all been there before, it really comes from the coach and captains."
The coach and captains will have plenty of work upcoming in the next two weeks, where Hoffman said his team must improve to not put itself in a position where a miracle comeback is necessary.
"We just played Staples and now Greenwich and then we have Wilton and Trinity Catholic and then next week Darien then St. Joe and Stamford," Hoffman said. "There's no letdowns and that's the big difference between this and any other sport in the FCIAC is there's no letdowns, there's no weak guys."