Greenwich baseball rallies to beat New Canaan
Published 9:39 pm, Wednesday, May 15, 2013
NEW CANAAN -- The New Canaan and Greenwich baseball teams had both secured spots in next week's FCIAC tournament, meaning neither team needed a win Wednesday at Mead Park but that did little to diminish the playoff like atmosphere present from the opening pitch.
After grabbing an early lead, Greenwich came from behind to beat the Rams 7-5, with the final two outs coming on strikeouts with the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh inning.
The Cardinals (16-3, 15-2 FCIAC) switched things up at the top of the order, moving Taylor Olmstead from the three spot to leadoff and moving Ryota Fujikura to third in an attempt to better utilize Olmstead's speed and get him more at bats during the game.
The strategy worked to perfection in the first inning as Olmstead led off with a single, Ricky Okazaki bunted for a single and Fujikura sacrifice bunted them to second and third before new clean-up hitter Vincent Ferraro sent a blast to the right center field fence to give Greenwich a 2-0 lead.
Ferraro then came around to score on a single by Liam O'Neil, giving the Cardinals a 3-0 advantage after a half inning.
"With Taylor's speed and being able to get him up more times in a game worked out," Greenwich Coach Mike Mora said. "We aren't sure we are always going to do that but I felt like in a game like today if he got on base it would put pressure on them and it did."
Greenwich was on the verge of breaking the game open in the second inning but Alex LaPolice caught a fly ball in foul territory down the leftfield line and fired a strike to home plate to cut down the Greenwich runner attempting to tag up from third base.
The Rams (15-4, 13-4 FCIAC) got on the board in the third with Henry Lavieri getting hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, followed by an infield single by Casey Ouellette and a wild throw to first base that allowed Lavieri to score.
Grady Amrhein gave the Rams a 4-3 lead in the fourth with a sacrifice fly that plated LaPolice.
New Canaan Coach Mitch Hoffman was pleased with how his team responded after falling behind early.
"It was a nice fight and I am happy with how we played after being a little flat the last few games," Hoffman said. "I think we had 10 or 11 hits in the last four innings and that is nice to see. The game didn't mean anything but we have to learn from the experience and learn how to capitalize in spots where we didn't today."
Greenwich re-took the lead in the fifth when Olmstead led off with a double and Okazaki plated him with a single and came around to score himself on a groundout by O'Neil, making it 5-4 Cards.
Okazaki went 4 for 4 with 2 RBI and 2 runs.
"Last game I couldn't really help out the team so today I just came out and played my game," Okazaki said. "We don't really care about hat seed we are in the playoffs we just want a home game and go into the playoffs playing like we did today."
Greenwich built the lead to 6-4 on another RBI hit by Okazaki in the sixth, but New Canaan cut the lead to 6-5 on a sacrifice fly by Lavieri in the bottom of the inning.
The Cardinals tacked on an insurance run in the seventh, making it 7-5.
The Rams loaded the bases with one out in the seventh but reliever J.T. Hintzen struck out the last two batters, including a 12-pitch at bat by LaPolice to close out the game.
Greenwich 7, New Canaan 5
GREENWICH 300 021 1 -- 7 12 3
NEW CANAAN 003 101 0 -- 5 10 2
Doubles: G -- Taylor Olmstead, Vincent Ferraro; NC -- Brian Moran
Records: G 16-3, 15-2 FCIAC; NC 15-4, 13-4 FCIAC