STAMFORD — With the wind blowing out hard to center field at Cubeta Stadium for two of the most potent lineups in the FCIAC in No. 1 Staples and No. 4 St. Joseph, lots of runs seemed like a good bet Tuesday.
The first two innings lasted nearly an hour and the teams scored five combined runs. It looked like a double-digit barnburner was on tap.
However, Staples starting pitcher Alex Deutsch and St. Joe’s reliever Michael Chaves put a stop to that as the teams scored just one more run the rest of the way, as Staples held on for a 4-2 win in the FCIAC semifinals.
Staples return to the finals after losing in the championship game to Darien last season.
The Wreckers won the FCIAC championship in 2008, 2009 and 2011.
“My first inning is always my worst. Once I can get by the first inning, I can normally get it done,” Deutsch said. “I just relied on my slider and great plays by my defense. It feels great to be going back. Last year we came up just short and I am really excited to get back this year and, hopefully, get a championship.”
Staples went up 3-0 in the bottom of the first, with Zach Zobel driving in a run on a single to right and two runs coming in on a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch before a walk.
St. Joe got two back in the top of the second on a line drive to the left field fence, scorched by Jack Wallace, scoring two runs.
Deutsch would not allow any more runs, giving up just one more hit the rest of the way, working into the sixth.
Deutsch finished with nine strikeouts.
Staples tacked on a run on a wild pitch in the fourth but were otherwise held in check by Chaves, who entered with the bases loaded in the first.
“(Chaves) had a lot of command,” St. Joseph coach Jim Chaves said. “He wasn’t walking many guys. He was hitting spots and making good pitches, he kept us in the game after we gave up three in the first inning. I thought if we only gave up four runs that we’d have a great shot to win the game but offensively, we just couldn’t get anything going.”
Senior Russell Krauss picked up the save for Staples, entering with no outs and one on in the sixth and striking out four over the final two innings.
“When I saw the wind blowing out and our lineup and their lineup, I thought it would be 10-8,” Staples coach Jack McFarland said. “Our lineup has to do a little more if we are going to go all the way here and win this championship. It says a lot about our program and kids that we make it two years in a row. We feel like there is some unfinished business from last year. We are excited to be playing for a championship.”
FCIAC BASEBALL SEMIFINALS
STAPLES 4, ST. JOSEPH 2
- JOSEPH 020 000 0—2 4 0
STAPLES 300 100 X—4 4 0
Records: SJ—14-8; S—19-3
Batteries: SJ—Al Paolozzi (L), Michael Chaves (1), Trent Price (6) and Aaron Kirby; S—Alex Deutsch (W), Russell Krauss (S, 6) and Chad Knight