Baseball: Ridgefield edges St. Joseph in playoff bid matchup

Ridgefield’s Mike O’Brien looks to get the pickoff tag down on St. Joseph’s Jake DeLeo. — Bill Bloxsom photo
Ridgefield’s Mike O’Brien looks to get the pickoff tag down on St. Joseph’s Jake DeLeo. — Bill Bloxsom photo

Ridgefield High defeated St. Joseph, 5-4, in an FCIAC baseball game that saw both coaches imploring their respective teams to dig deep until the final out.

That’s what happens when the regular season is coming to a close and opportunities to move up in the conference standings are on the wane.

With the win, coach Paul Fabbri’s Tigers moved to 7-6 in the FCIAC, just below the cut for the eight-team playoffs. Ridgefield is 11-6 overall.

St. Joseph was seeded fifth coming into the contest at the Dalling Sports Complex in Trumbull. Coach Jim Chaves’ Cadets are now 9-6 overall and 8-5 in the FCIAC.

The sloppiness of the play belied the game’s importance, as only one of the nine total runs were earned. Ridgefield took advantage of four St. Joseph errors to score all its runs. Three of four Cadet runs took advantage of extra outs afforded them.

Ridgefield’s key rally came in the top of the fifth inning when it scored a pair of runs to snap a 2-2 tie.

The first came on Colin Motil’s single to left that scored John Thrasher, who had reached on an error and stole second and third.

Collin Lowe’s long sacrifice fly to center plated Motil, who had advanced to third on Armand Fabbri’s double into no man’s land down the left field line.

St. Joseph made it interesting in the bottom of the sixth.

Al Paolozzi led off the frame with a single and both runners were safe when S.J. Arnone’s one-out infield grounder was misplayed. Jake DeLeo’s hit loaded the bases for Neil Velasquez, who ripped a two-run single to pull the Cadets within 5-4.

Alexander Price came on in relief, the third Ridgefield pitcher, and the lefthander got the next batter looking at a 2-2 pitch to strand runners on second and third.

Price set St. Joseph down in order in the seventh.

The Cadets took a 1-0 lead in the first when DeLeo led off with a walk and stole second.

He went to third on a Velasquez’ fly ball and scored when the relay throw was offline.

Harrison Porter walked leading off for Ridgefield in the second.

He went to second and third on wild pitches and scored on a passed ball.

St. Joseph made it 2-1 in the bottom of the second.

After a pair of walks, Tiger shortstop Quinn McDonald started a double play, well turned by Motil at second base.

Zach Dunkel saved the rally for St. Joseph with an RBI single. Dunkel had two of the Cadets five hits.

Ridgefield, which had four hits, tied the game at 2 in the third on a walk, an error and Motil’s RBI grounder.

The Tigers added its fifth run in the sixth on a walk, a stolen base that led to an error, and Matthew Colin’s sacrifice fly that scored pinch-runner Dan Ignatowich.