Ridgefield Legion team pushes win streak to three

Losing seven of its first eight games, the Ridgefield Post 86 American Legion senior (19U) baseball team looked headed for a dreary season this summer.

The forecast has since improved.

Following a 1-0 win over Trumbull last Wednesday, Ridgefield swept a road doubleheader from Bridgeport on Saturday by scores of 7-2 and 9-6. Post 86 now takes a three-game winning streak and a 4-7 record into Wednesday's game at home against Wilton.

In Saturday's opener, Ben Wattles pitched a three-hitter for Ridgefield. Wattles, who struck out five batters and walked one, took a no-hitter into the sixth inning.

Kory Nossan had two hits, and Thomas Gioffre, Johnny Briody, Cameron Andry, Colin Lacoille, Ryan Bogursky (double), and Chris Macchia added one hit apiece for Post 86.

Briody knocked in two runs, and Andry, Lacoille and Bogursky each had one RBI.

Ridgefield scored four runs in third inning. Macchia walked, Gioffre bunted for a base hit, and Matt Lavorgna was hit by pitch to load the bases. Briody delivered a two-run single to right, and Andry and Lacoille followed with RBI singles.

In game two, Nossan pitched five innings for Ridgefield, allowing six runs (two earned). Lavorgna relieved and held Bridgeport scoreless in the final two innings.

Bridgeport threatened in the bottom of the sixth, loading the bases with one out. But Lavorgna got a ground ball to first baseman Andry, who threw home for the force out, and then induced a grounder to short for the third out.

Nossan and Bogursky each had two hits for Post 86, with Lavorgna, Briody, Andry, and Wattles adding hits.

Trailing 6-3 in the fifth, Ridgefield made it 6-4 without the benefit of a hit. Briody led off with a walk, stole second, moved to third on a groundout, and scored on Wattles' RBI groundout.

Ridgefield took the lead in the top of the sixth by cashing in on small ball. Nossan singled to right, Ben Cohen walked, and Bogursky laid down a sacrifice bunt that led to an error. Gioffre followed with a sacrifice bunt of his own and was also safe on a bad throw. Lavorgna and Briody followed with RBI singles to put Post 86 ahead, 8-6.

After Lavorgna escaped trouble in the sixth, Ridgefield tacked on a run in the seventh. Nossan, Cohen, and Bogursky had consecutive one-out singles, and Gioffre followed with a sacrifice fly to center.

“We threw a lot of strikes today. Our fielding was good enough, but I think we can keep improving just by slowing down a little bit and taking what the play gives us,” said Ridgefield manager Kevin Briody. “We’re starting to put together better at-bats, attacking fastballs, and doing a better job of situational hitting and bunting. We’re starting to get a better feel for each other and picking each other up.”

Ridgefield's win streak began with a 1-0 victory over host Trumbull last Wednesday.

Alex Price pitched six and two-thirds shutout innings for Post 78 before being removed due to pitch-count rules. Nick Cullinan came on in relief to record the final out.

“I think he (Price) threw harder than I’ve seen him throw in the past,” said Briody. “He’s a very good pitcher. He changes speeds and hits spots very well, and he kept them off-balance.”

Price, a recent Ridgefield High grad who will play at Middlebury College, struck out 12 batters.

Trumbull used a pair of walks and a hit batter to load the bases in the bottom of the first before Price struck out the next two batters to escape trouble.

“I just had to settle in, which I did, and it was a huge momentum boost for the whole game,” Price said.

Price was in cruise control from that point on, allowing only two hits — a second-inning double and a sixth-inning single. He finished with three walks and two hit batsmen.

Trumbull used three pitchers to keep the game close throughout.

“I think both teams realized early on that it was going to be a pitchers' duel. I think both teams were just trying to scratch out a run,” Briody said.

The lone run came in the top of the fifth, when Ridgefield picked up its first two hits of the day. Andry singled on a hard line drive off Trumbull starting pitcher Ryan Vawter and advanced to second on an errant pickoff attempt. Wattles reached on a bunt single to put runners on the corners, and Cohen hit a sacrifice fly to left to drive home Andry.

Notes: Sunday's game against Bridgeport was postponed and rescheduled for this Friday.