The Trumbull High School baseball team showed plenty of fight Monday evening against Stamford, as it battles to qualify for the FCIAC playoffs.

But all head coach Phil Pacelli could do on this night was tip his cap to the Black Knights, who used a gritty complete-game performance by senior left-hander James Gronberg and some clutch hitting to post a 5-4 victory to spoil Trumbull’s Senior Night.

Gronberg threw 132 pitches to earn the victory, tossing a scoreless seventh after Trumbull clawed to within a run with three in the sixth.

Stamford (10-8 overall, 8-8 FCIAC) had a 4-0 lead after two innings and scored all five of its runs with two outs to hand junior lefty Joe Nemchek (4-1) his first loss of the season.

Gronberg scattered five hits over seven innings with 11 strikeouts and three walks.

“The kid threw a great game for them. I was very impressed with him,” Pacelli said. “All their runs came with two outs, and that’s what playoff time is all about. We’re both trying to squeeze into that eighth spot. They did it tonight and we didn’t.”

The loss forces Trumbull (10-8 overall, 9-7 FCIAC) to win its final two games of the regular season against Fairfield Warde and Greenwich to reach the conference playoffs.

“There’s no quit in these guys, and I still feel like we’re a playoff-worthy team,” Pacelli said. “It’s not going to be an easy task getting in, though.”

Gronberg went 3-for-4 to lead the Black Knights offensively, including a double to lead off the game.

Catcher Tyler Serricchio and second-baseman Michael White had RBI-singles in the first and Jay DeVito drove in two runs with a two-out single in the second.

Five of Stamford’s 10 hits came over the first two innings.

Trumbull scored one run in the second on a one-out single by junior Alex Rauso and an RBI-single by senior Matt Fasoli (2-for-3).

Stamford made it 5-4 in the top of the sixth on a single by White (3-for-3, walk) and a two-out, opposite-field single by Nick Frattarolli.

Fasoli relieved Nemchek and walked the first batter he faced, but got Gronberg on a called third-strike to end the threat.
Trumbull made it a game with three in the bottom of the sixth.

Carlos Garrido led off with a single, but was forced out at second. Brian Hnatuk was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second and Connor Smith crushed a two-run double to the gap in right.

Fasoli (2-for-3) followed with an RBI-single to center, but the Eagles got no closer.

Nemchek allowed nine hits and five runs over 5.2 innings with five strikeouts and no walks. Fasoli walked three and struck out one in one inning of work.

Stamford had the bases loaded with two outs in the seventh before Frank Puglia got the final out to give the Eagles hope in the bottom of the frame.

Garrido reached first on a wild pitch after striking out with two outs in the seventh, but Gronberg got Chris O’Brien on a pop fly to left to end it.