Price, Pastore power Ridgefield to 2-1 win in opener
In the season opener, Alex Price was in mid-season form.
The senior lefty — who went 8-1 and earned All-FCIAC and All-State honors last year — pitched a three-hitter as the Ridgefield High baseball team defeated host Newtown, 2-1, on Saturday.
It was the Tigers' third straight one-run victory over Newtown in the last three seasons.
Price was dominant, holding Newtown to one run on three hits (single, two triples) while walking no batters and striking out 14. He threw 102 pitches, including first-pitch strikes to 21 of 24 Newtown batters.
"He commanded his off-speed pitches, and he battled as he always does," said Ridgefield head coach Paul Fabbri about Price. "He had thrown 87 pitches going into the seventh inning, and when I asked him how he felt he said, 'what do you think?' "
Newtown, the reigning South-West Conference champion, took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning. Eugene Citrano tripled and scored on Luke Melillo's sacrifice fly.
Ridgefield got the tying run in the top of the fifth. After catcher Ben Cohen led off with a single, pinch-runner Johnny Briody went to second on Matt Restivo's sacrifice bunt and scored on Matt Stamatis's single to left.
Joey Pastore then produced the game-winning run for the Tigers with one swing of the bat. Leading off the top of the sixth, Pastore clobbered the first pitch from Newtown starter Kyle Roche to left field for a solo homer to put Ridgefield in front, 2-1.
"It was a prodigious blast," said Fabbri about Pastore's long home run. "We saw him do that on the JV team last season, so we know he's capable of giving us some power."
Down to its last at-bat, Newtown did threaten in the bottom of the seventh. With one out, Citrano delivered his second triple of the game to put the tying run at third base. But Price struck out the next batter and then got a groundout to third baseman Pete Columbia to close out the victory.
"It was a quality win to start the season," said Fabbri. "Newtown won the SWC title last season and has a good team again this year."
Notes: Roche pitched five and two-thirds innings for Newtown, allowing both Ridgefield runs on four hits while walking two and striking out 10.
Columbia had a two-out double for Ridgefield in the top of the first inning.
Stamatis and Matt Restivo reached base on walks for the Tigers, while Quinn McDonald (twice) and Nick Hanna were hit by pitches.