Wolpiuk, St. Joseph snap New Canaan's unbeaten streak
NEW CANAAN -- Facing a previously red-hot New Canaan lineup, St. Joseph pitcher Stanley Wolpiuk carved his way through the Rams' batting order to lead the Cadets to their third straight win while dealing the Rams their first loss of the season at Mead Park Wednesday afternoon.
Wolpiuk went the distance while permitting seven hits, fanning eight, walking two and hitting a batter to pace his team's 4-1 victory.
"He bounced back," St. Joseph coach Jim Chaves said. "He had a rough outing against Ridgefield, but he's our No. 1 and we're going to go to him every time."
Wolpiuk had a two-run lead before he ever threw a pitch, as the Cadets plated two in the top of the first.
St. Joseph's Ishmael Herrera sparked the rally with a single and came around to score on monster shot to straightaway center by Ryan Moran. Moran's blast may have been ticketed for a home run, but it struck the tree in centerfield.
St. Joseph's Mark Hirschbeck made it 2-0 when he drilled New Canaan pitcher David Giusti's offering back into Giusti's pitching arm for an RBI infield single. Giusti stayed down for a few seconds, but remained in the game after a few warm-up pitches.
"He got hit on his pitching elbow," New Canaan coach Mitch Hoffman said. "We're going to get it X-rayed and take a look at it. He had big guts to get back out there."
After Wolpiuk notched his first strikeout for the first out, New Canaan's Matt Toth hit a fly to shallow right field that was caught by backpedaling second baseman Hirschbeck. Hirschbeck threw a laser to home plate to complete the 4-2 double play and prevent the Rams from scoring.
"I just tried to get out of the first inning. I just had to buckle down and throw strikes," Wolpiuk said. "No doubt about it (going the complete game). I had a lot left in the tank, and I was just really pumped up."
After Giusti retired the first two St. Joseph batters to begin the top of the third, the Cadets started a two-out rally when Moran was hit by a pitch and Hirschbeck singled, bringing Nick Williams to the plate. Williams came through with a two-run double to boost his team's lead to 4-1 for the Cadets' third and fourth two-out RBIs.
"Those can be a bit demoralizing for a team," Chaves said. "We talk about it constantly: Two-out runs, two-out runs, two-out runs. They did a great job with the two-out hitting today."
After the double, Giusti was removed in favor of Andrew Casali, who tossed four-and-a-third innings of lights out relief. Casali retired 13 of the 14 batters he faced while striking out four and hitting a batter.
"He came in, we gave him the ball and he shut them down. Everything has been good, but we fell a little short today," Hoffman said. "We came out hard and aggressive, but the fact is they caught a few balls and we were not aggressive with runners on third base and less than two outs. We have to still maintain that aggressive approach."
With his team still protecting a three-run lead, Wolpiuk recorded a strikeout to start the bottom of the seventh, but the Rams refused to go quietly. Pinch-hitter Grady Amrhein delivered a solid single up the middle and Ouellette went opposite field to put runners at first and second with only one out.
Seemingly unfazed, Wolpiuk regrouped to notch his eighth and final strikeout and induced a fielder's choice on a groundball to third baseman Brett Olayos to slam the door.
Wolpiuk was also the beneficiary of some great defense, as both of his corner outfielders made difficult backhanded running catches in the fifth. On consecutive batters, right fielder Jake Amoroso ran down a deep fly in the right-centerfield gap to rob Ouellette of extra bases, and left fielder Williams snared LaPolice's deep fly to left field before running into the fence.
"They were awesome. Just great defense all around," Wolpiuk said. "The hitting was great, and it was good teamwork today. We're like one big family and we all come together at game time."
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ST. JOSEPH 4, NEW CANAAN 1
ST. JOSEPH 202 000 0--4 6 0
NEW CANAAN 010 000 0--2 7 0
Records: New Canaan 4-1, 2-1 FCIAC; St. Joseph 3-1, 2-1 FCIAC.
Batteries: NC--David Giusti (L), Andrew Casali and Casey Oullette; SJ--Stanley Wolpiuk (W), and Ishmael Herrera. 2B: NC--Matt Toth; SJ--Nick Williams. 3B: SJ--Ryan Moran.