St. Joseph baseball wins pitchers' duel with Lawmen, 1-0

Both teams had their chances at claiming victory Monday afternoon in Milford, but it was the St. Joseph High School baseball team that was able to plate a run early and upend Jonathan Law 1-0.

"I thought it was big," St. Joseph head coach Jim Chaves said. "We have seen that we could win the slugfests and now they can win the 1-0 games. Like I said at the beginning of the year we are an inexperienced team, a young team. Any win we can get is a good win for us."

The Cadets were able to grab back-to-back doubles in the top of the second inning to plate Matt Laveneziana and score the only run of the contest.

"The difference in the game was that they got the big hit in the beginning of the game and we didn't get the big hit at the end of the game," Law head coach Greg Simler said. "We gave ourselves chances, but give some credit to St. Joe's. They made the pitches they needed to make and made the plays they had to make."

In the top of the second inning, Laveneziana got the ball rolling with one out when he smacked a double down the right field line. Up next was Brendan Rush, who immediately laced a double down the right center field gap to drive Laveneziana home and give the Cadets the early 1-0 lead.

St. Joe's slim lead in the second turned out to be the difference due to the stellar pitching from both teams.

The Cadets were led by Joe Zanchetti, who was solid throughout the contest. In 5.2 innings of baseball, the SJHS hurler gave up no runs and four hits, while striking out two and walking two.

"This game was pretty important because we were won our first two but lost the next two in a row and this was a pretty big game coming in," Zanchetti said. "We needed to get this one. I really felt good and thought my fastball was working really well today. I got a little nervous in the second and third inning thinking that I didn't have anything to lean back on, but as I got in the fourth inning, I got into a groove and felt better."

Zanchetti's performance was much better than his first start of the season, as he gave up three runs against Darien and lasted only five batters.

"Joey did a great job today," Chaves said. "In his last outing against Darien, unfortunately he lasted five batters. It wasn't his best showing and we got on him about it. We told him that when push comes to shove that next week he's going to have to go out there get people out. He certainly came out today and gave us everything we needed because we were only able to muster one run today."

Coming on in relief for the final four Lawmen batters was Mike Rotundo, who struck out three batters en route to the save.

"He's a senior captain, so he's been around," Chaves said. "He's seen a bunch of wins and the strong pitchers that we have had in the past. He knew how bad we wanted this victory. He was also on the mound for us in the Staples game where we had the 3-2 lead in the bottom of the seventh and he gave up a solo home run to tie. So he wanted to come out here and redeem himself and I think he did a nice job today."

Even more clutch was the way Rotundo worked out of trouble. Coming on for relief in the sixth inning after Nick Glorioso reached base with a walk, Jeremiah Bravo was hit by a pitch and Tom Marchitto loaded the bases by reaching base on an infield single with two outs, Rotundo struck out Kyle Frey to end the threat.

Again in the seventh, Jonathan Law had a golden opportunity to push a runner home. With one out, Nick Catandella started things by reaching base on an infield error. With two outs, Glorioso stepped up and connected on a single to shallow center, but the play only advanced Catardella to second.

The bases were loaded when Rob Griswold reached on an infield single to second. Rotundo settled back down and got the final Law batter to pop out to center to end the contest.

"Earlier in the game I probably would have taken a shot and I just didn't feel like at that moment that I didn't want the game to end at third base, especially with our three hitter coming up," said Simler, talking about Catandella stopping at second instead of trying to advance to third. "Robbie has been hot for us, so I wanted to give him the chance to do something. And he did, but the ball just didn't go through the infield. Their kid made a nice play on the ball to keep the game going."

St. Joe's had chances in the fifth and sixth innings to extend its lead. During the fifth, they had runners on first and third with two outs, but the double steal attempt didn't go well, as Marchitto put the tag at the plate to a sliding Dave Capela for the out to end the threat.

"That was planned and it was nothing on them," Chaves said. "We were trying to steal a run there. We were struggling to swinging the bats and I'll take the blame for that."

In the sixth, an infield single by Andrew Walsh, a single to left by Tully Horne and a walk to Laveneziana had the bases loaded with one out. However Law relief pitcher Catardella struck out the next batter and popped the final batter of the sixth to short.

"We threw out a couple of different arms today," Simler said. "We were trying something a little different, trying to get people some work and keep guys fresh. I want to see everybody throw and try something different. I was pleased with it."

Jonathan Law's pitchers were also up for the challenge. Catandella gave up three singles and had two strikeouts in two innings of work. Kyle Frey started the game and also lasted two, giving up one run and three hits. Evan Carollo was strong for the next two innings, retiring the Cadets in order and giving up only one hit while striking out three.

"I think we were very poor at the plate today offensively," Chaves said. "A lot of front-foot hitting and they threw a lot of soft guys at us. In the first inning we squared up a couple of balls and I think they realized that we were a fastball hitting team. But we have to make an adjustment and we just didn't do that all game long."