St. Joseph loses to Greenwich in baseball

Every time the St. Joseph High School baseball team has needed a shut-down effort on the pitcher’s mound, Mike D’Agostino has been there to deliver.

The sophomore right-hander did it again Friday afternoon, tossing seven solid innings in an important FCIAC matchup against Greenwich.

D’Agostino certainly pitched well enough to win, but the young Cadets simply made one too many mental mistakes and left too many runners in scoring position, allowing the Cardinals to pull away with a 4-2 victory at Shea Field.

D’Agostino gave up four runs, but one was unearned and another came gift-wrapped in the seventh inning.

The Trumbull resident scattered seven hits, including just three over the first five innings while striking out two and walking only one.

D’Agostino also received a great defensive effort from second baseman Dave Capela, who had eight assists.

Greenwich sophomore right-hander Connor Langan ended up getting the win, his first of the season, finishing with six straight scoreless innings after allowing two unearned runs in the first. Langan allowed five hits with two strikeouts and one walk.

“(D’Agostino) definitely pitched well enough to win,” St. Joseph head coach Jim Chavez said. “For a sophomore, he’s kept us in every game he’s been in. Three runs in any game should be enough to win the game.”

Greenwich looked like they were going to give St. Joseph the game, allowing two unearned runs in the bottom of the first to give the Cadets a 2-1 lead.

The Cardinals made three errors and also had a potential go-ahead run picked off third in the fourth inning.

St. Joseph gave it right back, allowing single runs in the sixth and seventh, including a bizarre play at the plate that allowed the Cardinals to score an important tack-on run.

“We’re in the same boat with Greenwich. They’re the same type of team we are,” Chaves said. “They just made a few less mistakes than we did. They got a couple of two-out hits and we had none.”

St. Joseph failed to score over the final six innings, this despite putting the leadoff runner on second with no outs in the fifth on a double by catcher Brendan Rush, a runner at second with one out in the sixth, and another on second with two outs in the seventh.

“It’s frustrating, especially when you score two innings in the first you think maybe you have something going,” Chavez said. “I thought we’d score six or seven runs. The big inning was the fifth when we got the leadoff double and didn’t get him over. That pretty much summed up the day for us.”

St. Joseph fell to 5-5 overall and 4-5 in the FCIAC with the setback while Greenwich improved to 5-5 overall and 5-4 in the FCIAC in a game that could have major playoff implications down the road.

“I thought this was a huge game in terms of getting back in the FCIAC playoff race,” Chavez said. “Now they have the tie-breaker against us. Now it’s out of our hands. We don’t control anything against them. I know they’ll be one of those teams at the end battling for one of those playoff spots.”

D’Agostino might have gotten out of the first inning unscathed, but an outfield error on a leadoff single allowed Devin McGrath to reach second. McGrath was able to score on two straight groundouts to the right side.

St. Joseph came back in the bottom of the first.

Sophomore shortstop Neil Velazquez (2-for-4) led off with a single and Matt Laveneziana (1-for-3) reached on an infield error.
Andrew Walsh replaced him at first on a fielder’s choice and Tully Horne plated two runs with a two-run double into the gap in right-center.

Greenwich tied it in the fourth as Erik Mini doubled and scored from third on a wild pitch. Jason Capozza singled and reached third with one out, but fell asleep on third base and D’Agostino picked him off.

Alex Loparco doubled to lead off the sixth and scored on an RBI-single by Kevin Woodring with two outs to give Greenwich a 3-2 lead.

The Cardinals put runners on second and third with one out in the seventh. St. Joseph brought the infield in and McGrath grounded to short. Velazquez picked it and fired home, but Rush failed to make the tag, throwing to first thinking it was a force

Velazquez gave the Cadets some hope with a two-out double to left, but Langan ended the game on a fly ball to left.