Baseball: St. Joseph finds way to defeat Warde

Through the first six games of the season, nothing seems to be able to derail the St Joseph baseball team.

The Cadets overcame cold temperatures, having their postponed home game moved to Fairfield Warde, a season-low offensive showing and the Mustangs mounting a last-inning rally to put the potential tying run on base, and held off their FCIAC counterparts 5-3 on Tuesday afternoon.

The game was originally to be played in Trumbull the day before, but was washed out because of rain and shifted to Fairfield because of field conditions.

“The kids battled and they did what they had to do,” said St Joe’s coach Jim Chaves, adding that the chill in the air and wind gusts made it tough on pitchers, hitters and fielders alike. “This is a tough place to play. It’s always windy here.”

The Cadets remained unbeaten behind six shutout innings from starting pitcher Al Paolozzi, who struck out eight batters and allowed only four hits and two walks.

“I think today he pounded the zone, got ahead of guys and pitched to contact,” said Chaves. Our defense was sharp and Al definitely showed some mettle out there.”

A lefthander, Paolozzi said knowing how explosive his team’s offense is — St Joes had a previous low of nine runs and has plated as many as 25 in a game — puts him at ease on the mound.

“It kind of makes my job easy. Even when they struggle a little like today,” Paolozzi said. “I got ahead with my fastball, I threw the change-up down and away and I finished them with the curveball.”

The Cadets, Chaves noted, missed an opportunity to pile on runs in the fourth inning.

Already leading 3-0 entering the fourth, St Joseph scored twice for a 5-0 lead and had the bases loaded with one out but could not capitalize on the opportunity with the middle of the order up at bat. A strikeout was followed by an inning-ending tag play at home when Owen Horne tried to score on a wild pitch.

“They’ll get it done more often than not,” Chaves said of his offense.

A leadoff walk by Jake DeLeo and an error set the table for an RBI single from Jimmy Evans in the first inning.

Another walk by DeLeo sparked a two-run rally in the third. DeLeo and Jack Matthews, who singled, both scored in the frame. An error, a walk by Evans and single by Charlie Pagliarini, who knocked in a run, made it 3-0.

In the fourth, Luke Kirby, Horne and Matthews all had singles and DeLeo drew his third walk of the game. Horne and Matthews both drove in runs in the inning.

Matthews and Pagliarini each had two base hits.

Warde, aided by a couple of errors, a walk and hit batter, scratched out three runs on just one hit in the seventh inning. The Mustangs had two men on base when St Joseph’s second reliever of the inning, Trent Price,  who got the final three outs, knocked down a hard grounder back to the mound and threw to first base to end the game.