Updated: Spiegel pitches Trumbull into semifinals
Gerard Spiegel retired 17 of the last 18 batters he faced, and he left that runner stranded at third base with a game-ending strikeout, when eighth-seeded Trumbull High advanced to the Class LL state tournament semifinals with a 2-1 victory over Staples of Westport on June 1.
Staples (18-8) was coming off a 5-4 upset win over top-seeded Xavier of Middletown.
The Wreckers took on a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning. They loaded the bases on a hit batter, a fielder’s choice, a walk and a single by Bryan Porter.
The run scored on Nick Vega’s RBI grounder to second base.
Trumbull (19-7) tied the game in the top of the third.
Carl Johnson worked Staples’ Rob Vallone for a leadoff walk.
Luke Waldek singled through the hole, and with one out, Brandon Liscinsky fell behind in the count 0-2. He spoiled the next pitch before hitting a single to center to load the bases.
Willy Velez brought the run home with a grounder to second base.
Spiegel, who finished with a three-hitter and four strikeouts, had plenty of help from an error-free defense.
Johnson at first turned an unassisted double play in the first inning, and Casey Mack at third base, Waldek at shortstop and Liscinsky at second base each had multiple assists.
Trumbull brought the go-ahead run home in the home sixth.
Velez worked Vallone for his fourth free pass, only to be forced out at second by Mack. Vallone got the second out on James DeNomme’s grounder to second, which moved Mack to second.
Mack went to third on a wild pitch, and after Keyes walked, Ryan Fritz hit a dribbler up the first base line.
Vallone looked to tag Fritz out, but the ball came out of his glove. Fritz was safe and Mack scored for a 2-1 Trumbull lead.
Staples’ Matt Smith opened the seventh with a clean single and was sacrificed to second.
Velez in right-center field made a good play on Noah Yokoi’s fly ball into the gap for the second out.
Smith went to third on the catch, but Spiegel struck out Vega to end the game.
Trumbull opened states with a 2-1 victory over Kennedy of Waterbury on May 29.
Jake Levinson scored on a fielder’s choice in the bottom of the eighth inning to give Trumbull the win, and Liscinsky had an RBI single.
Kennedy (10-11), the 25th-seed, scored its run in the second.
Billy Stickle pitched into the seventh inning, before Avery Santos came on in relief.
Ryan Bayuk pitched seven shutout innings and Trumbull defeated ninth-seeded Shelton High (15-6), the defending state champions, 2-0, on May 30.
Trumbull scored both its runs off in the bottom of the fourth inning.