Playing at home for the first time since an ill-advised drying effort led to a fire that closed the field and made national news, the Ridgefield High baseball team relied on a trademark performance for a big win.
Junior righthander Matt DeLuca scattered six hits as the Tigers edged previously unbeaten Fairfield Ludlowe, 2-1, on Wednesday afternoon at Governor Park.
Ridgefield, which had lost two of its last three games, improved to 7-2 with the triumph.
DeLuca needed only 94 pitches to record the complete-game victory. He struck out nine batters and walked none.
After DeLuca struck out four batters in Ludlowe’s first two at-bats, Ridgefield went ahead with a run in the bottom of the second. Matt Restivo led off with double on a shot to the right-field fence and advanced to third on Colin LaCoille’s single. Sean Livingstone then scored Restivo with a sacrifice fly to centerfield.
Cole Blackwell followed with a single to put runners on first and third with one out, but Ludlowe pitcher Matt Micinilio struck out the next two batters to limit the damage.
The Tigers’ added their other run in the bottom of the fourth inning. LaCoille singled, went to second on Matt Lavorgna’s sacrfice bunt, and scored on Blackwell’s double to left field, giving Ridgefield a 2-0 lead.
Ludlowe (8-1) broke through in the top of the fifth. Tom Stasko singled and moved to third on Blake Benway’s single, with Benway going to second on the throw. Jack Vogel’s single then scored Stasko and sent Benway to third with one out.
With Derek Tallman at the plate, DeLuca’s pitch went through the legs of Livingstone, Ridgefield’s catcher. Benway broke for home on the play, but Livingstone retrieved the ball and threw to DeLuca, who tagged out Benway. DeLuca then struck out Tallman to keep Ridgefield ahead 2-1.
DeLuca allowed a leadoff single in the top of the sixth before retiring the next three batters. He then set down Ludlowe in order in the top of the seventh to end the game.
Notes: Micinilio (four innings) and reliever Connor O’Neill (two innings) held Ridgefield to six hits while walking one batter and striking out seven.
LaCoille and Blackwell each had two hits for the Tigers.
Ridgefield was five-for-five on stolen-base attempts. Blackwell swiped two bases and Alex Hanna, Nick Cullinan and Johnny Briody each added one steal.
DeLuca is now 3-0 this season with a 1.09 ERA. In 25.2 innings, DeLuca has allowed 14 hits and five runs (four earned) while walking six batters and striking out 33.