Baseball: St. Joseph defeats Trumbull High

St. Joseph turned back Trumbull High, 13-4, in an FCIAC baseball game at Shea Field in Trumbull on May 8.

“We’d been struggling lately, and we were due for a breakout game,” Cadets’ head coach Jim Chaves said. “It’s the first struggling season we’ve had in awhile, so a lot of our guys aren’t used to a downswing.”

Sophomore Mike D’Agostino took the mound for the Cadets, tossing four and a third innings and yielding four runs on three hits and three walks. Junior Connor Hurley pitched the remainder of the game, allowing no runs and just two hits over two and two thirds innings.

Chaves credited his pitching staff with the victory, especially the late-inning efforts of Hurley.

“They had started to chip away at our lead, and Connor shut them down and really changed the momentum,” he said. “He did a phenomenal job.”

Trumbull to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first after a leadoff walk by senior Marcus Nieves, a single by junior Justin Waldek, a passed ball, and two fielders’ choices.

Trumbull starter Brian Hnatuk kept the Cadets off the board until the bottom of the third, when St. Joseph’s No. 9 hitter Matt McKernan belted a lead-off home run to left field to cut the deficit to 2-1.

Neil Velasquez tapped a grounder to short and beat out the throw, scoring on an infield single by Andrew Walsh.

St. Joseph’s bats were back on the attack in the next inning. Matt Lavenziana drew a leadoff walk and advanced to second on a single to left by Brendan Rush.

McKernan came through again for the Cadets, this time powering a triple to right field. The hit scored both Lavenziana and Rush, putting St. Joseph on top 4-2.

McKernan scored on an error and Dave Capela followed up with a dunk single.

Trumbull swapped pitchers, bringing in senior Frank Puglia to relieve Hnatuk. He induced a would-be double play on his first batter, but the throw sailed past first base and Velasquez came in to score, extending the Cadets’ lead to 6-2.

Puglia eventually worked his way out of the jam, leaving two St. Joseph runners on base that inning.

The Eagles fought back in the next half inning, chipping away at St. Joseph’s lead.

Dino DiGirolamo tapped a one-out infield single, advancing to second when Nieves reached base on an error. Both runners advanced on a passed ball, and the Eagles loaded up the bases when Waldek worked the count full and drew a walk.

Carlos Garrido wasted no time, launching the first pitch of the at bat over a leaping Tully Horne at first. The single knocked in two runs, cutting the deficit to 6-4.

The hit left runners on the corners, and Chaves opted to bring in Hurley. He struck out the next batter he faced and induced a groundout to end the inning.

St. Joseph added a single run in the bottom of the fifth. Walsh reached on an error and Horne drew a walk. Both runners advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Laveneziana.

Rush lifted a 1-1 pitch to shallow left field, which would have brought in more runs if not for Trumbull left fielder Alex Rauso.

Rauso judged the fly ball just right and snagged it in a diving catch, recovering to make the throw to the plate. Walsh tagged up and beat the throw, however, extending the Cadets’ lead to 7-4.

That lead would have been enough to secure the victory, but St. Joseph made extra certain with six insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth.

Junior Frank Perez drew a walk and Capela and Rotondo knocked back-to-back singles to load up the bases with one out for Walsh. It was time for a statement to be made, and the senior did just that, slamming the first pitch he saw to right center field for a bases-clearing triple.

The Eagles brought in their third pitcher of the game, Brian Gibbs, but the Cadets had a few more runs in them. Horne knocked a first-pitch single to right field, scoring Walsh, and Laveneziana worked a walk to put runners on first and second.

Rush reached on a messy fielder’s choice with a couple of Trumbull errors that resulted in two more runs crossing the plate, taking the score to 13-4.

St. Joseph loaded the bases with walks by Kirven and Perez, but Trumbull’s new pitcher, Jonathan Uber, retired the Cadets.
Hurley made easy work of the Eagles in the top of the seventh, sealing the deal on the Cadets’ win.

“We played lousy,” Trumbull coach Phil Pacelli said. “We had a bunch of errors, which really hurt us. We just have to put this behind us and regroup next week. We’re still in contention, but our character is going to be determined this coming week.”

Trumbull took on Ridgefield High and recorded a 5-3 victory on Monday night.

Ridgefield scored two runs in the top of the third inning before the Eagles went in front behind a five-run rally in the bottom of the fourth.

Trumbull’s Matt Fasoli had a two-run single. Chris O’Brien had two hits.

The Eagles’ Joe Nemchek moved his record to 4-0 with six innings of work. O’Brien pitched the seventh.