Wolpiuk helps stop Greenwich's win streak
In a matchup between two of the premier baseball teams in the FCIAC, it was St. Joseph that put four runs on the board to beat Greenwich, 4-0, on April 17.
Coach Jim Chaves’ Cadets were able to push a runner home in the third and fourth innings, then iced the game by capitalizing on a key Greenwich error to start a two-run, two-out rally in the bottom of the sixth.
“We made mistakes and they capitalized,” Greenwich High coach Mike Mora said. “They didn’t make any mistakes. With two good pitchers on the mound, that’s what is going to happen.
“It was a good game, but when we gave them the two runs at the end, it make it hard for us to score four, five runs when you can’t really bunt or steal. Give their pitcher credit.”
With the loss, Greenwich saw its 26-game FCIAC regular season win streak come to an end, a streak that was started two seasons ago.
“Mike does a great job with his team and he always has them prepared,” Chaves said.
“They are very disciplined and they’ve had a great run. That’s twenty-six FCIAC games in a row. They are a good program and we respect them, but we think we are a pretty good program ourselves.”
Throughout the contest, it was a battle between both team’s number one pitcher.
St. Joseph starting pitcher Stanley Wolpiuk had a stellar outing for the Cadets (5-2). With revenge on his mind from last year’s outing, an extra-inning loss to Big Red, Wolpiuk threw seven strong innings.
The SJHS ace gave up only six hits and one walk while striking out seven. Throwing one pitch shy of 100, Wolpiuk threw 62 for strikes.
“I always want to win and that is a good offense ,” Wolpiuk said. “I was spotting my fastball and curveball most of the time.
“I wanted this game from the beginning of the season, since last year when I pitched against them and lost in extras. I really wanted this game.
“The defense was great and I rely on them. They always get out of big situations.
In his previous two outings, Wolpiuk only gave up one run in 14 innings of work.
“He was absolutely outstanding,” Chaves said. “They’ve got a really good lineup and we knew coming in that we were going to have to keep them off-balance.
“He had all his pitches going and throwing multiple pitches for strikes. I think he kept them off-balance and it’s great to see. “He’s a real competitor out there.”
Wolpiuk’s counterpart on the mound, GHS senior Ryan Marks, was also up for the challenge and kept the game within reach for most of the contest.
He threw a complete game and gave up only four hits — striking out six batters and walking one. Throwing 81 pitches on the day, 56 of them were strikes.
After Marks retired the first seven St. Joe’s batters, Mike Pulaski singled to center in the bottom of the third.
Up next was Jake Amoroso, who singled to left. With runners on first and second, Jon Prutting came up and laced a screamer to left field that plated Pulaski.
The Cadets added another run in the fourth inning.
Ryan Moran drew a walk to start the inning, Mark Hirschbeck singled to center field and both stole third and second base, respectively.
With one out, Brett Olayos hit a roller to short, but the Greenwich shortstop was unable to control the ball.Olayos reached on the error and Moran came home to score the second run for St. Joseph.
The back-breaker for Greenwich (5-2) was in the sixth inning.
After Marks retired the first two St. Joe’s batters with ease, an infield error helped Hirschbeck reach base.
Nick Williams then blistered a single to center. The Cardinals’ center fielder fired the ball in to third to try and cut down Hirschbeck, but the throw sailed wide and Hirschbeck was able to turn the corner and score.
A double by Olayos that was just out of the reach of Greenwich third baseman Cameron Fennell helped score Williams and give the Cadets their 4-0 lead.
“We haven’t had many outbursts this year, so we’ve been trying to preach capitalizing on any opportunity we got,” Chaves said.
“I thought the bottom of the order did a great job getting us going in the bottom of the third inning. That was big for the other guys to see.”
Greenwich had a few chances in the contest.
In the top of the sixth, Ricky Okazaki hit an infield single to short and Taylor Olmstead reached first on a fielder’s choice.
With one out, Olmstead stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch, but Wolpiuk struck out the next two GHS batters to end the threat.
In the second inning, Fennell smacked a one-out single to right and took second when Liam O’Neill connected on a single to left.
That’s as far as the Cards would get in the inning.
Fennell went 3-for-3 for Big Red, while Okazaki, O’Neill and Ryota Fujikura each had one base hit apiece to round out the offense.