Baseball: Trumbull trio shuts out Central Hilltoppers
The interruptions over the second half of the high school baseball team have been few for Trumbull. After winning only four out of their first 10 games playing in weather that wasn't conducive to good baseball, the Eagles have now rolled off eight wins in their last nine games.
Monday afternoon, in a rare 5 p.m. home start, Trumbull used the efficient pitching of Ryan Vawter (five innings, 56 pitches) and the hitting of junior Chris Brown (three singles, one RBI) and a big, bases-clearing double by freshman Luke Masiuk to blank Bridgeport Central, 6-0.
"I'd attribute our success in the last nine games to the weather, the fact that our hitters have been gaining experience, going from zero at-bats and upwards to 50, and to the team's overall confidence," said Eagles’ head coach Phil Pacelli, as Trumbull reached 12-7 headed into a Wednesday finale with Danbury. "We certainly didn't look past this game. We needed to get another win."
The only flaw along the way to a regular-season ending game against Danbury, was an 8-5 loss to Norwalk.
Vawter picked up his third win without a loss by pitching five, scoreless innings. He allowed only a first-inning single to Jaylon Bell while striking out four and not yielding a walk. During one stretch, he retired 14 straight batters.
"My curve ball wasn't as good as it's been, so I relied on my fastball today," Vawter said. “That, and counting on my defense to make the plays behind me."
Trumbull had an error-less game where Brown, a junior shortstop who plays travel baseball during the summer and fall and was a key player this past winter on the school's basketball team, led the way with five assists and a put-out. At the plate, he had three of Trumbull's nine hits.
"Baseball is the type of sport where it takes awhile to get back into the groove," Brown said. "And basketball is a long season. We've really hit our stride in the second half of this season. Now, we want to keep it going."
The Eagles got all the runs they would need in the opening inning.
Lead-off hitter Tim Lojko, a lefty swinger, dropped a little blooper inside the line in left and Brown followed with a line-drive single.
After Kevin Bruggeman flied out to center, Brian Hance worked a walk off Central's starting and loser pitcher, sophomore Alex Sierra, to load the bases.
Sierra, one of two pitchers used by Central coach Joe Pagan, then induced Jay Chiappetta into a pop-up handled by Bell the Hilltoppers' shortstop.
But Masiuk drove a 1-2 offering from Sierra all the way to the base of the fence in left, which scored Lojko, Brown and Hance.
Devin DiCocco kept the inning alive for Trumbull when he reached on a fielding error before Sierra notched a strike out.
After the Bell single, Vawter cruised the rest of the way before Jake Teixeira took over in the sixth. After getting the first two batters out, Teixeira, who's been used mainly in relief, gave up back-to-back hits (Bell and Joaquin Brasher) before getting D'Zsan Livramento to hit into a fielder's choice.
Central put two more runners on in the seventh off Brandon Bottino, who struck out Sierra and Kurtis Kennedy to end the game.
"We have seven seniors on this team and they'll be playing their last full week of high school baseball," Central coach Joe Pagan said. "Every time we go out, we're the underdogs. I'm just telling them have fun, work hard, and maybe we can sneak one out here. Maybe we can get by someone."
All of Pagan's seniors are college-bound while the coach, who has been at Central for seven years, played for the Hilltoppers and for four years at Southern Connecticut State University.
Trumbull added a run in the second on Brown's RBI single and two more in the fifth, where the Eagles used a pair of hits, a walk, an error and a wild pitch to do the damage.
Bridgeport Central 000 000 0 0 5 1
Trumbull 310 020 x 6 8 0
BC- Alex Sierra (L), Jalen Orozco (5), and Don Livamento
T- Ryan Vawter (W, 3-0), Jake Teixeira (6), Brandon Bottino (7) and Kevin Bruggeman, Robert Goldsmith