Baseball: Ridgefield holds off Trumbull in FCIAC semis
“Every game of ours this year has been a thrill ride,” Ridgefield High baseball coach Paul Fabbri said after his fourth-seeded Tigers defeated eighth-seeded Trumbull High, 3-2, in the FCIAC semifinals at the Ballpark at Harbor Yard on Wednesday night.
“Trumbull is such a storied program, they have kids that will fight you out there.”
The Tigers will meet No. 2 seed Wilton High in Friday’s title game slated for 7 p.m. at Harbor Yard.
The Warriors defeated No. 6 Darien High 12-3 in their semifinal.
Ridgefield pitcher Alex Price improved to 7-0 on the season, allowing Trumbull solo runs in the the third and sixth innings.
Collin Lowe came on to pitch the seventh and got out of a two-man on base, no out situation.
“We had plenty of chances,” Trumbull coach Phil Pacelli said. “This is a tough one to swallow. Hey, I’m proud of my guys. We were 2-7 and ended up at Harbor Yard.”
Ridgefield took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the fourth inning on an RBI hit from Pete Columbia and a squeeze bunt by John Thrasher.
Thrasher made the lead stand up in the top of the sixth.
Ridgefield had taken the score to 3-1 on Lowe’s leadoff triple and a passed ball.
Trumbull’s Danny Ruchalski opened the sixth with a double up the gap.
Tony Socci stepped in and drove a pitch deep to left-center.
While Eagle fans were thinking home run or at least a triple, Thrasher got on his horse and made the running catch in the deepest recesses of the ballyard.
Ruchalski tagged up and scored, but the air was let out of the rally balloon.
“John Thrasher might be best centerfielder I’ve seen,” Fabbri said. “I don’t know how many other guys make that catch.”
Pacelli agreed: “They took two away from Tony tonight, you need to give them credit because they made the plays.”
Socci came to the plate with one run in and runners on first and second in the third inning.
His sinking liner to left field was caught by Anthony Maccia to save a run and short-circuit the rally.
Price stranded two runners in the first (Andrew Lojko single), one in the second (Tyler Zikias single), escaped the the third inning jam, and picked a runner off first to halt the Eagles in the fourth.
Lojko led off the fifth with a single, but was erased on an inning-ending double play started by Colin Motill at second base and turned by shortstop Matt Colin.
Lowe came on in relief of the lefthanded Price in the seventh.
The right-hander was reached for an infield single by Kevin Bruggeman.
Pinch-runner Tim Lojko went to second on a wild pitch and Dustin Siqueria walked.
Andrew Lojko looked to bunt the runners up a base.
The pitch missed his bat and skipped off catcher Ben Cohen’s glove.
Tim Lojko looked to advance, but Cohen pounced on the short getaway and threw a dart to Matt Stamalis at third, who caught the runner on the helmet going by for the first out.
Lowe got the last two batters on a strikeout and a grounder to third.
“Our catcher, this is his second meaningful game after coming up from the junior varsity,” Fabbri said. “The play he makes switches us for hoping for extra innings into us winning a baseball game.”
Trumbull had advanced to the finals four times in the last five postseasons, winning in 2012.