Legion baseball: Stamford defeats Trumbull in 10th inning

Trumbull Post 141’s American Legion baseball team is locked in for the state tournament as the No. 3 seed out of Zone 4.

While the states don’t begin until Saturday, manager Jack McFarland’s team took on Zone 4 kingpin Stamford in a playoff-style match up at Trumbull High Field on Monday.

The locals took a 3-0 lead in the second inning, saw Post 3 score one run and two in the fifth, before Stamford tallied three runs in the top of the 10th to win a 6-3 decision.

Ruben Rodriguez’s bases-loaded two-out triple to center field put the winning runs on the board for head coach Kevin Murray's squad in this three-hour clash.

The zone rivals will complete the regular season in Stamford with a 5:30 game Tuesday at Cubeta Stadium. Stamford is 20-2 and Trumbull is 14-9. Wilton (16-7) is second in zone play and Westport (12-10) fourth.

Trumbull’s three-run rally was well-oiled by a pair of bunts.

Danny Ruchalski led off the frame with a single off Stamford right-hander Grant Purpora.

Andrew Lojko worked out what would be the only walk issued by Stamford pitchers, using seven pitches before going to first base.

Tim Lojko was called on to bunt, and his ball down the third base line went for a single to load the bases.

Purpora stuck out the next batter, but Evan Warner took a 1-2 offering and doubled to dead center for a 2-0 lead. Rob Goldsmith stepped in, swung through an inside pitch, and then put down a squeeze bunt to the right of Purpora to plate Tim Lojko.

Warner got the start and the right hander was helped by double plays turned by his defense in the first and third innings.

Stamford’s Adam Stone started the game by reaching on a chopped single to third base. T.J. Wainwright, on a hit-and-run play, then fouled out to Vin DeRubeis off the first base line. DeRubeis quickly threw to Dustin Siqueira covering first for the inning-ending twin killing.

Stamford looked to build a rally in the third on a walk to Rodriguez and a flared single to center by Stone. Warner struck out his fourth batter, before Dino DePreta walked on a 3-2 pitch.

Stamford was again denied a run, this time by Jack Lynch who caught a line drive off the bat of Conor Nicholson and Siqueira beat Wainwright to second for the double play.

Purpora would retire eight of nine batters (Jake Teixeira reached on a strikeout/wild pitch), and Stamford drew a run back in the fourth.

Warner struck out the first two batters with his curveball. Reed Gesualdi rescued the inning for the visitors by walking on a 3-2 pitch. From little pine cones do ….. as Leo Socci doubled to center to make it 3-1.

Stamford scored two runs off Trumbull relief pitcher Ryan Vawter in the fifth. Wainright doubled, DePreta reached on an error and Nicholson sacrificed them up a base. Hunter Semmel double to right-center field was good for two runs and a tie game.

Trumbull’s Goldsmith ripped an 0-2 pitch into center for Post 141’s  fourth hit of the game to begin the fifth. Stamford catcher Nico Kydes made a stellar play on Siqueira’s foul pop by the Stamford dugout for the first out, and Purpora got two ground ball outs to end the inning.

Vawter, and then Lynch in the seventh and eighth, kept Stamford off the scoreboard. Lynch picked a runner off first base to end the eighth, with DeRubeis applying the tag.

Lynch ended a stretch of 10 consecutive batters set down by Purpora when he pulled a hard single into right field with one down in the eighth. Kydes threw him out stealing. Purpora ended his night with his eighth strikeout to end the inning.

Semmel pitched the final two innings, striking out four of six batters he faced.

Jared Rosen pitched the last two innings for Trumbull. He retired five batters in a row, before Kydes walked with two out in the 10th. Gesualdi doubled him to third, Michael Grafstein was hit by a pitch, and Rodriguez emptied the bags with his triple.