NEW CANAAN -- It would be hard to ask for a better opening day: blue skies, enthusiastic fans, and indomitable pitching. New Canaan put it all together at Mead Field on Wednesday, routingNew Fairfield 9-0 behind the stalwart pitching of junior David Giusti.
Giusti was rock solid, retiring the Rebels in order in five of the six innings he pitched. Giusti notched six strikeouts on the day, walked one, and held New Fairfield to just three hits.
"I was hitting my spots," Giusti said, "and my defense was right there behind me."
New Fairfield coach Joe Garbowski was a bit more effusive in his praise of Guisti.
"Oh man, the kid was on, and he was loose up there. You could see it in his demeanor. I told my boys `you just faced a very, very talented team, and if you want to compete, you have to compete with the best.'"
The defending Class L champion Rams made a statement in the bottom of the first when Dan Rajkowski hit a towering two-run triple to deep center. Erik Jager then brought Rajkowski home with an RBI single.
New Canaan sat on their three-run lead for the next three innings as both pitchers found their groove. New Fairfield's Nick Roberti struck out two and managed to silence the Rams' bats for the most part -- until the fifth inning.
In the bottom of the fifth, the New Canaan bats ignited. Zach Smith singled in Alex LaPolice to get the party started. With two outs and runners on second and third, Brandon Abate launched a two-run triple to deep right center. After Kane Curtin drew a walk, Max Wilson, who was batting in the No. 8 slot, drilled a two-run double to cap a five-run inning.
New Canaan's Victor Lu registered an RBI in the bottom of the sixth when he singled in Kyle Levassuer to put the game on ice.
"The bottom picked the top up today," said Rams coach Mitch Hoffman. "It was nice to see the team's comprehensive approach, top to bottom, we're not just looking to see one guy do it."
Rams co-captain Matthew Toth echoed the sentiment.
"It was a great start overall. Our defense was solid, and we couldn't have asked for any better pitching from Giusti. With the young guys really stepping up. we have a well rounded team."
Giusti gave up three hits in the fifth inning but was able to contain the damage. Rajkowski came in as a closer in the final frame, and although the Rebels were able to load the bases, he managed to pitch himself out of a jam to seal the deal.
As a team the Rams had seven hits and committed one error. New Fairfield had three hits and four errors.
New cANAAN 9, NEW FAIRFIELD 0
NEW FAIRFIELD 0000000--0 3 4
NEW CANAAN 300051X--9 7 1
Batteries: NC: David Giusti (W)/Dan Rajkowski and Zack Smith/Victor Lu; NF: Nick Roberti/Steve Bova/Nick Gilroy and Zach Farias
Triples: NC: Dan Rajkowski, Brandon Abate. Double: NC: Max Wilson
Records: NC1-0, NF 0-1