Baseball: Ridgefield erupts for 27 runs in opening win

Six days after it was supposed to start the season, the Ridgefield High baseball team finally played its first game Friday afternoon at Ciuccoli Field.

The Tigers scored enough runs for a couple of weeks.

A nine-run fourth inning was among several offensive outbursts that resulted in a 27-5 victory over visiting Bunnell.

"We swung it," said Ridgefield head coach Paul Fabbri about his team's approach at the plate. "[Bunnell] was on its third game in a couple of days, so they had no pitching left. We kind of did what we did against their three, four and five guys in the rotation. I was happy with the way we swung the bats."

Senior shortstop Matt Colin went 5-for-6 with four runs scored and six RBIs for Ridgefield. Dan Ignatowich added three hits and drove in five runs, while Tony Macchia had three hits and four RBIs. Alex Price and Collin Lowe each collected three hits, and Colin Motill added two hits and scored four runs.

After starting pitcher Andrew Mathes struck out the side in the top of the first, the Tigers scored three runs in the bottom of the inning. With one out, Motill walked and stole second and third. Lowe walked, and Macchia singled to right, scoring Motill. Ignatowich followed with a two-run double to left, putting Ridgefield ahead 3-0.

Bunnell batted around in the top of the second and scored four runs. Mathes gave up a leadoff walk, hit a batter, and then surrendered three straight singles. Joe Signorelli came on in relief and walked two batters before getting the third out with the bases loaded.

The Tigers took the lead for good with four runs in the bottom of the third — the rally included another two-run double from Ignatowich.

Jake Artzt, a junior who moved to Ridgefield from Pennsylvania last summer, came on to pitch the top of the fourth for the Tigers and held Bunnell scoreless over two innings.

"I thought Jake Artzt  did a great job of stabilizing the game for us when we kind of weren't throwing enough strikes," said Fabbri. "He came in and had some pretty good velocity."

Aided by five walks, Ridgefield sent 13 batters to the plate in the bottom of the fourth and scored nine runs to extend its lead to 16-4. More production came in the next two innings as the Tigers batted around and scored five runs in the fifth before tacking on six runs in the sixth.

John Thrasher, Ridgefield's All-FCIAC centerfielder, pitched the top of the seventh and struck out the side to end the game and keep Bunnell (0-3) winless.

"I think we played well," said Colin. "We had a little rough patch at the beginning, but we had Jake Artzt come in and step up big for us."

Notes: The contest began a stretch of six games in seven days for Ridgefield, which returns to Ciuccoli Field tomorrow morning (11 a.m.) to play North Haven. The compressed schedule is the result of the Tigers having three games rained out earlier this week.

Press Sports Reporter Rich Kaufman contributed to this story.