Ben Cherico leads Ridgefield baseball to a dominant victory over Danbury

Ben Cherico led Ridgefield with three RBIs against Danbury on Friday, including the walk-off two-run single.

Ben Cherico led Ridgefield with three RBIs against Danbury on Friday, including the walk-off two-run single.

Will Aldam / Hearst Connecticut Media

RIDGEFIELD — Ridgefield baseball opened the season just two spots removed from the GameTimeCT preseason Top 10 poll but took down No. 5 Fairfield Prep in its first game.

The Tigers improved to 2-0 on Friday with a 12-2 six-inning mercy-rule victory over neighboring rival Danbury (2-1).

Ridgefield totaled 12 hits and did not commit an error on defense, while the one though six hitters each had at least one RBI.

“The lineup has been extremely productive in the first two games,” Ridgefield coach Mike Scarlett said. “The guys at the top get stuff started with power, but the guys in the bottom half have been coming through too. It’s everybody.”

Ben Cherico led the team with three RBIs, collecting two singles including the walk-off two-run single to end the game an inning early.

“We’re aggressive,” said Cherico, a first baseman and pitcher. “Lineup starts off hot with the (Buccieros), and you can’t sleep on anyone in our lineup. One through nine they will put up fights and good at-bats. We attack.”

Senior second baseman Aidan Stern, senior shortstop Matt Bucciero and Andrew Castelluccio each had two hits as well. Eight of the nine Ridgefield starters reached base in the game.

“I think we’re a top-five team,” Cherico said. “I think there are certain teams that get slept on, and I think we’re one of them. With the one-two punch of me and (Andrew Castelluccio) on the mound, I think we can beat anyone.”

Cherico is committed to D-I St. Louis University, while Castelluccio is heading to St. John’s. Both pitched against Fairfield Prep.

Ridgefield didn’t need to depend on either of its two Division I-committed arms. Instead, it was junior Will Hanna who got the ball in his first career varsity start.

Hanna earned the win on the mound, only allowing one hit in three innings of work, but five hit batsmen led to two earned runs.

“I tried to suppress the jitters, but I was excited to come in and pitch against a great team like Danbury,” Hanna said. “I’m hoping to come back out in my next appearance and show everybody what I can do.”

Myles Gythfeldt came in for the final three innings to earn the save, despite the lopsided score, allowing just one hit as well while striking out two.

“We’re fortunate right now to have a lot of pitching,” Scarlett said. “Will (Hanna) had some command issues, but aside from hit batters he was great today. Then Myles, I pulled him out of left field and he comes in and does a great job. Whoever we call on is going to step up.”

The season may be young, but Ridgefield has exploded for 21 runs in two games while only allowing two.

“We’re feeling great, you can’t ask for more than what we have gotten thus far,” Scarlett said. “These guys play with a ton of energy and come out here really focused. I think they want to prove that last year was a great building block and they want to take it to the next level.”

The Tigers made a Class LL tournament quarterfinal run last season, and after this week it would hardly be a surprise to see Ridgefield make its season debut in the Top 10 poll.

“I honestly never look at the polls,” Scarlett said. “I had no idea before these games whether we were ranked or unranked. If we are ranked that’ll be fun and if not, then we’ll just keep playing the way we are playing.”

Danbury suffered its first loss of the season after defeating Foran (9-1) and Branford (19-4).

Danbury only mustered two hits, but some bad luck was a factor, especially for sophomore outfielder Luke Ciccone, who lined out three times.

“I was happy today, I thought we hit five line drives at people,” Danbury coach Shaun Ratchford said. “I’ll take that all day. At some point they’re going to fall.”

Though the two are FCIAC rivals, the first of two meetings this season was technically a non-league game.

“Usually, we play relaxed and we didn’t do that today, we let the score dictate how we play and how we compete,” Ratchford said. “That is why you play four games before you start the FCIAC, so we can find out what we need to work on. Now the question is are we going to work on it or cover it up with makeup? We have to deal with it.”


DANBURY 020 000 — 2 2 1

RIDGEFIELD 104 232— 12 12 0

Batteries: R—Will Hanna (W), Myles Gythfeldt (SV, 4) and Peter Rowan; D—Thai-ler Sostakas (L), Aiden Hefele (4), Marcus Maravilla (6) and Roman Hausmann.