Tyler Giambra tosses no-hitter as Woodland advances to first Class M baseball final, to face Barlow

BRISTOL — Tyler Giambra had his good stuff Tuesday night and his confidence grew with every pitch.

He looked at the scoreboard from time to time and saw the zeroes — one in the runs and hits column for Law. Those zeroes never went away.

Giambra threw the first no-hitter of his entire baseball career, sending seventh-seeded Woodland to the Class M state championship game thanks to a 3-0 win over No. 19 Law at Muzzy Field.

“I knew I was going to throw a no-hitter since the second inning,” Giambra said. “Once I looked up at the zero, I was not allowing a hit. There was no shot I was allowing a hit.”

Giambra, a senior, struck out seven straight early on and 11 overall. Michael Merchant popped out to Woodland third baseman Matt Deegan in foul territory to set off the Hawks’ celebration

“That’s the best feeling I’ve ever had in my life, having my teammates dogpile me after I just threw a no-hitter and sent us to the championship,” Giambra said.

“He was awesome, he was lights out. He’s an absolute workhorse, he’s a competitor,” Woodland coach Steve Bainer said. “All we do is hand him the ball and say, ‘Keep us in it.’ Today he did exactly that. Not only did he keep us in it, he carried us.”

The Hawks (21-6) will now face No. 4 Barlow in the Class M final Saturday at 7 p.m. at Palmer Field in Middletown.

Getting past this round at Muzzy had not been easy. The Hawks lost to Northwestern in last year’s M semis at Muzzy and to NVL rival Wolcott in the 2019 M semifinals.

“It’s humbling. There has been a lot of good teams that came through here,” Bainer said.

Giambra only allowed two baserunners for Law (15-9). Kian McEnerney reached on an error with two outs in the fourth inning and Mike Merchant walked to lead off the fifth inning.

Merchant advanced to third on a sacrifice and a wild pitch, respectively. But Giambra stranded him there.

“I thought he changed speeds well and did a really great job out there. He did all the things you want a pitcher to do in a big game,” Law coach Greg Simler said about Giambra.

Hunter Hoxie allowed just two hits and struck out eight for Law. He allowed just five baserunners.

Woodland scored its first run in the bottom of the fourth inning. Ryan Montini walked, went to second on a wild pitch, moved to third on a flyout to center field and then Bainer called for the safety squeeze bunt.

Michael Belcher laid the bunt down the right side and Montini beat the relay throw home.

We were putting together good swings against that kid. I knew we would break through at some point,” Bainer said.

Montini launched a two-run home run to right-center field in the sixth.

“It was a hanger, I just put a normal swing on it and it went,” Montini said. “Honestly, I don’t even remember (the trip around the bases). I saw it go over the fence and that’s all I really remember.”

Said Bainer: “He had the biggest home runs, the biggest hits all year. He’s been an absolute dude for us.”

Player of the Game

Tyler Giambra, Woodland: Throwing your first no-hitter ever in a state semifinal? Does anything else need to be said?

Quotable

“I think we were all looking at the scoreboard, but to be honest with you, the biggest one we were looking at was the runs column.” — Woodland coach Steve Bainer.

WOODLAND 3, LAW 0

LAW 000 000 0 — 0 0 1

WOODLAND 000 102 X 3 2 1

Hunter Hoxie and Cody Dineson; Tyler Giambra and Anthony Marsala. HR: Ryan Montini (W).

Records: L 15-9; W 21-6.

Barlow tops Sheehan, earns 1st title appearance since 1964

Matt Scott didn’t have his A game on Tuesday. And the Sheehan baseball team was going to make the Stanford University commit work for every out.

The Titans did get an earned run off the Barlow High senior, but Scott still managed to work his way in and out of trouble in the Class M state semifinals.

His pitching, combined with some key hits, including a two-run single by Jason Gaudio, helped No. 4 seed Barlow advance to the Class M state championship game by defeating No. 17 Sheehan 4-2 at Muzzy Field.

“I fell behind early in the count and my mechanics were a little bit off today,” Scott said. “Halfway through the game, I switched to the stretch. I tried to simplify things and focus on throwing my pitches and not worry about anything else.”

Scott allowed one earned run on six hits over six innings to move to 8-0. He struck out seven and threw 115 pitches.

Scott stranded 11 runners and Sheehan (15-9) left 13 on base overall.

“There are going to be days where all pitchers, even Matt Scott, don’t have their best stuff,” Barlow coach Matt Griffiths said. “Those are the days you have to battle, and that’s what he does, he keeps his composure really in any situation and that’s one of the things that separates him from others. He knows how to bear down and knows how to minimize when he needs to and against a team like Sheehan at this point of the year, he has to do that.”

Said Sheehan coach Dom Lombardozzi: “It’s wild to think we had that many opportunities. We didn’t get that one or two clutch back-to-back hits that would give you a lead versus a kid like that and change the game over into our favor.”

Barlow (22-4) reaches the championship final for the first time since 1964. The Falcons face the winner of top seed Woodland or No. 19 Law this weekend at Palmer Field in Middletown.

“I was surprised that we did it in 1964, to be honest,” Griffiths said. “I know it means a lot to the guys. All year, one of the things we’ve done is not look too far ahead and that’s served us well.”

Scott struck out the side in the fourth inning. He also drove in the game’s first run on an RBI triple off the center-field wall in the bottom of the third inning.

After Scott struck out the first two batters he faced in the fifth, Charles Ennis and Andry Guy singled for Sheehan. Then Sheehan pitcher Matt Moconyi helped himself, singling back up the middle into center field to score Ennis and tie the game at 1.

“I think when you try do something different, that is when you fall into trouble a little bit,” Scott said. “I was trying not to give any free bases away. I gave away a lot today, but was able to get out of it and trust my defense behind me to make plays.”

Barlow broke the 1-1 tie in the bottom of the inning. Will Scott walked and was sacrificed to second. The Titans intentionally walked Matt Scott, then Sheehan center fielder Tony Sutera dropped a shallow fly ball he had to hustle in for to load the bases.

Guy came on in relief of Moconyi. T.J. Baer’s sacrifice fly scored Will Scott.

Gaudio’s two-run single in the sixth put Barlow up 4-1 at the time.

Ian Nilsen relieved Scott and the Titans loaded the bases with one out, putting the tying run on first base. Scoring late in games is something Sheehan did all season long.

Aiden Caraballo delivered a sacrifice fly, but Nilsen got the last out to send the Falcons to the final.

“It means everything. Baseball really hasn’t been on the map at Barlow for a few years now,” Scott said.

Last time

Barlow reaches its first state championship game since 1964, when it defeated East Hampton 14-2 in Class S.

Player of the Game

Matt Scott, Barlow: Didn’t have his best stuff, but the Stanford-bound senior allowed just one run on six hits through six innings and added an RBI triple.

BARLOW 4, SHEEHAN 2

SHEEHAN 000 010 1 — 2 7 3

BARLOW 001 012 x — 4 7 1

Matt Moconyi, Andry Guy (5) and Guy, Paul Gorra (5); Matt Scott, Ian Nilsen (7) and Kyle Asanovic. 3B: Scott.

Records: S 15-9; B 22-4.