Trumbull Junior Legion leading Zone 4
Ryan Vawter ripped a long double up the gap in left-center field to lift Trumbull Post 141’s Junior American Legion baseball team to an eight-inning 3-2 victory over Ridgefield Post 78 on Monday night.
Vawter, a rising junior at Trumbull High, had the first and last hit for manager Bob Buswell’s 17U team.
After adding victories over Darien/New Canaan (8-1) and Fairfield (10-4), Trumbull improved to Zone 4 best record to 20-2.
Stamford is 19-3.
The rivals meet in the regular-season finale scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday at Westhill High.
“Our ability to grind out the tough wins,” Buswell said when asked for the key to Post 141’s season. “We have kids stepping up from the bench and everyone contributes. Pitching and defense will keep you in games and if you hit enough you will win.”
Vawter’s game-winning hit came with two outs and darkness threatening to have the game called.
Eric Harvey drew a two-out walk off Ridgefield’s Matt Lavorgna, before Vawter hammered the second pitch he saw up the gap to empty the dugout.
I told the kids at the beginning, you are Trumbull and Trumbull plays for titles,” said Buswell, who is assisted by Matt Renzoni. “They’ve grown up playing for titles, the majority of these guys played regionals as 14s (Babe Ruth). We want to get to states, then let chips fall where they may.”
Ridgefield (13-10) rallied with two runs in the top of the seventh inning to extend the game.
Trumbull starter Matt Delaney entered the frame having allowed five hits, two of the infield variety.
The right-hander hadn’t walked a batter and struck out three.
Ridgefield’s Kory Nossan and Lavorgna opened the rally with singles, before Delaney got a fly out to Jack Welch in left and then caught a pop-up back to the mound.
The second out proved costly, as Jack Gonzalez’s eight-pitch at bat put Delaney over the pitch count limit with 95, and Buswell brought Welch on in relief.
Top of the order batter Johnny Briody put down a well-placed bunt up the third baseline to keep Ridgefield hopes alive.
A pair of balk calls brought the tying runs across, before Welch made a fine play to throw out Alex Hanna to end the inning.
Despite working the count to draw four walks off Ridgefield starter C.J. Stafford, Trumbull couldn’t produce a run through the first four innings as the righty got the last out on strikes in the third and fourth.
Vawter opened the fifth with a double to left-center for Post 141’s first hit of the game.
Welch’s second successful sacrifice bunt moved him to third.
Cam Andry came on in relief and walked Tim Seymour.
Beau Demelo then hit a sacrifice fly to center field to give Trumbull the lead.
Delaney set Ridgefield down in order in the sixth, with Demelo making a strong throw from deep shortstop to Pete Autori for the second out.
Autori went high to grab the toss and got his foot down on the first base bag just ahead of the hustling Andry.
Trumbull loaded the bases in the sixth.
Rob Goldsmith and Steve Ioli worked out walks and went to second on a wild pitch, prompting Ridgefield manager Kevin Briody to intentionally walk Autori.
Delaney singled to right for Trumbull’s second base hit, and Goldsmith scored to make it 2-0.
Lavorgna came on in relief.
The righty notched a strikeout before Colin LaCoille at shortstop fielded Yeury Dilone’s high chopper and pegged the ball home to Ryan Bogursky for the force out.
Lavorgna then put the third out in the books to keep the deficit at two.
Ridgefield had hits in the first three innings on singles from Lavorgna and two by Hanna, but couldn’t score with Goldsmith ending the third by throwing out Hanna attempting to steal.
In the fifth, Lavorgna and Gonzalez had singles, before Delaney took on the top of the order and got a force out grounder to Vawter at third and a fly out to Welch.