GREENWICH -- The Greenwich baseball team seems to be pushing all the right buttons at all the right times this season.
Add Monday's 4-3 win over New Canaan to the list of shrewd baseball moves by the Cardinals.
Kyle Ballone had been struggling at the plate and was hit for by the designated hitter last week against Trumbull, but the big first baseman kept working and was hitting the ball so well at practice over the weekend that coach Mike Mora decided to give him another shot in the lineup. Mora's hunch proved a good one as as Ballone went 2 for 2, scoring the game tying run in the fifth inning.
"I love it. Kyle has been working hard," Mora said. "We have been moving some guys around, DH-ing some guys at different times and the one thing is, he has stuck with it. He doesn't get down, he comes to practice everyday and he works hard. Kyle had a great batting practice yesterday and I said `You're in the game.' We evaluate everyday at practice and I couldn't be happier for him because the kid wants to play and he got two big hits today."
The win keeps the state's No. 1 ranked team undefeated at 15-0 and 13-0 in the FCIAC, but it did not come easy against a young New Canaan team.
Andrew Casali pitched a complete game for the Rams, allowing four earned runs on six hits.
New Canaan coach Mitch Hoffman knew a few little things cost his team the game, but was pleased with the way his starting pitcher battled.
"If we played like this all year we would be winning more than we are losing," Hoffman said. "Andrew had a hell of a performance ... but it didn't go our way and against a team that is 14-0 you can't make a couple of mistakes and expect to win."
Ryan Marks pitched one inning in relief of Casey Gaynor to pick up the win and sophomore Kyle Dunster became the all-time single season saves leader at Greenwich, picking up his fifth save of the season.
New Canaan got on the board first in the third inning when Willie Burger hit a line drive to right field that hit off the glove of a diving Taylor Olmstead, bringing home Grady Amrhein from third base with to outs.
The Cardinals answered right back, scoring twice in the bottom of the inning.
Matt Pruner walked to lead off the inning and came in to score on a RBI double by Dylan Callahan after being moved to second on a single by Ballone.
Ballone was cut down at the plate on a groundball, but Olmstead hit a sharp groundball between short and third to plate Callahan and give the Cards a 2-1 lead.
The Rams loaded the bases with one out in the fourth, tying the game right back up when Casali hit a sacrifice fly to right field, scoring Daniel Rajkowski.
New Canaan took the lead in the fifth when Rajkowski laid down a suicide squeeze, plating pinch runner Alexander LaPolice, who was running for Burger.
Ballone led of the bottom of the fifth with a double off the right field fence and scored to tie the game on a groundout by Callahan.
Callahan's groundball to second base with the middle infielders playing back is the type of fundamental baseball that Mora thinks helps set his team apart.
"We work on it everyday when we take batting practice," Mora said. "We work on situational hitting, then we give them their six swings in the cage."
Olmstead led off the bottom of the sixth with a double to left center field, was sacrificed to third by Marks and came home with the winning run when Cam Fennell hit a bloop single to centerfield that fell just in front of a charging Nick Cascione.
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