Stamatis has key hit in Ridgefield's win over Wilton
When Billy Black struck out the first two Ridgefield batters in the bottom of the sixth, the Wilton baseball team looked as though it would take a 1-0 lead into the final inning.
But Black, Wilton's ace left-hander and one of the FCIAC's best pitchers, walked the next two batters, Tony Macchia and Dan Ignatowich, on just 10 total pitches. With Matt Stamatis at the plate, a passed ball (with the runners running) allowed Macchia and Ignatowich to advance to second and third, respectively. Then, on a 3-2 count, Stamatis smacked a single into centerfield, scoring both runners and putting Ridgefield ahead, 2-1.
Closer John Thrasher then came on in relief of starter Alex Price and allowed a two-out walk before getting a groundout to end the game and give the Tigers their sixth straight win and 12th in 13 games this season.
Price improved to 5-0 in five starts for Ridgefield. The junior lefty allowed one run on five hits over six innings, walking four and striking out four.
Black was also sharp, surrendering two runs on three hits over five and two-thirds innings. Black struck out nine batters but walked five, with two of those walks coming back to bite him.
"This was a great pitchers' duel. Two guys that are elite out there competing," said Ridgefield head coach Paul Fabbri, whose team is 12-1 overall and 9-1 in the FCIAC. "(Alex] Price was tough today, coming off a big save opportunity Friday against Darien (a 4-3 Ridgefield victory). He got out of a few tough spots today to get the win."
Wilton (6-3 overall) took the lead in the top of the fifth inning. Price retired the first two batters but then allowed a walk to Cole Judelson and a double by Drew Connolly that left runners on second and third. Henry Strmecki followed with an RBI single to score Judelson and put the Warriors in front, 1-0. Price struck out Colin Kahal to prevent further damage.
In the top of the sixth, Wilton got a single from Matt D'Elisa and a walk to Jack Dooley to put runners on first and second with one out. Kyle Phillips flied out, but Jack DiNanno walked to load the bases. But Price then got Judelson on a groundout to second baseman Colin Motill to end the threat.
Ridgefield broke through against Black with its two-out, two-run rally in the bottom of the sixth. Macchia and Ignatowich drew walks and took off on a double steal — aided by the passed ball on the pitch — before scoring on Stamatis's single.
"We thought we were getting a curveball and we tried to make something happen ..." said Fabbri about calling for the double steal. "It was huge for those guys to get into scoring position, and then Stamatis made me look good."
Notes: Thrasher and Macchia had singles to account for Ridgefield's other two hits. Macchia also walked twice.
Connolly provided two of Wilton's five hits. D'Elisa, Strmecki and Kahal had the other hits for the Warriors.
The loss snapped a five-game winning streak for Wilton.
Press Sports Reporter Chris Sacchi contributed to this story.