Baseball: Four home runs carry St. Joseph to victory

STAMFORD — St. Joseph had to overcome a six-run deficit in the final two innings before coming away with a dramatic 10-9 win over Stamford on Saturday.

Aaron Kirby’s sharp on hopper kicked off a glove of second baseman Jon Oliveri and into right field, the hard-luck error allowing Al Paolozzi to score the decisive run in walk-off victory.

Forced to play on the road due to weather and field conditions, St. Joe’s was designated as the home team.

Coach Jim Chaves’ Cadets improved to 7-3 overall and Stamford fell to 4-6.

St. Joe’s hit four home runs in the victory.

“Stamford High is always a difficult place to play, especially for pitchers,” Chaves said. “I told the guys after they took a 9-3 lead in the fifth that this was an offensive ballpark and that you can score runs in bunches here.

“Losing a home game is always difficult especially since we feel we have such a nice facility. It takes the kids out of their routine a bit having to travel, but with the weather situation we had no choice and needed to play the game no matter what.”

In the sixth, Jack Wallace hit a two-out, two-run home run to cut the lead to 9-5.

Down to their final three outs, Kirby beat out an infield single to get the final-inning rally started.

Jim Evans hits a two-run home run to cut lead to 9-7.

The power surge continued. Charlie Pagliarini smacked a solo home run to make it 9-8.

Then the Cadets got some breaks to continue to the scoring.

Hadyn Gourley struck out but reached first on error by the catcher.

Paolozzi singled to right, putting runners on first and second with no outs.

Gourley broke for third on a pitch in the dirt and tied the game when the catcher’s throw sailed into left field. Paolozzi got to third base on the play.

Two outs later, Jack Wallace worked a walk and leadoff hitter Stephen Paolini, who hit a solo homer earlier in the afternoon, was intentionally walked to load the bases.

This set the stage for the game-winning moment.

Ryan Novitski threw 2.1 innings of shutout ball in relief. He had three strikeouts.

“Hoping that this is a game we can build off and get a significant win streak going,” Chaves said. “Also, playing this kind of game let the guys know that they have the ability to erase any deficit.”

The Cadets defeated Westhill of Stamford 18-2 on April 24.

“The offense has been fairly consistent the first half of the season,” Chaves said. “We are averaging over 10 runs a game. We tell our players that their job is to score five runs. We should be able to win most games scoring five. At that point it (the pressure) is on the pitching and defense. We would still like our team to cut down on our strikeouts.”

Schedule a challenge

The game with Stamford was originally scheduled for Friday. It was moved a day because of rain. That pushed the Cadets’ game with St. Paul to Saturday, May 4. St. Joe’s is scheduled to host that makeup game at approximately 3 p.m, following a 1 p.m. home game with Greenwich. Between the Stamford game and the May 4 double header, the Cadets are slated to play Norwalk, Trumbull and Fairfield Ludlowe.