Sportography completed an impressive run through the Darien League playoffs to capture the AAA championship with an 11-4 victory over IST Baseball at the McGuane complex recently.
Under nearly perfect playing conditions, Jack Buckner led off the game with the first of his three base hits on the day.
The meat of Sportography’s batting order delivered, as a two RBI double by cleanup hitter Will Sarbinowski and a run-scoring triple by Spencer Stephens staked Sportography to an early 3-0 lead. Undaunted, the IST team struck back, as leadoff hitter Brett Cattano delivered a base hit to open the home half of the first inning. Trace Florio brought the first IST run to the plate with a liner to right field.
Strong plays in the field allowed Sportography to exit the inning with a 3-1 lead. Sportography added a pair of runs in the second inning to extend the lead to 5-1, despite a strong pitching performance by Cattano, who struck out the side to escape the inning.
Sportography’s defense took over, preventing runs in the inning despite base hits by Hunter Yarish and Cattano. Ethan Fox made a dazzling catch at second base to extinguish the looming IST rally.
Sportography almost blew the game wide open in the third inning, piling on five runs paced by Harry FitzPatrick’s drive to center field, a base hit by Tyler Galante, and runs batted in by Olivia Toscano and Sportsmanship Award winner Michael Dolcetti. Michael Petruzzo drilled the first pitch of the bottom of the inning to center field, but was stranded as Sportography starting pitcher Matty Fay clamped down and recorded three straight outs.
Fay left the mound having allowed one run, scattering four hits and striking out three while walking two over three innings.
The game tightened considerably over the last three innings, as Trace Florio pitched a gem for IST, striking out three consecutive batters in the fourth inning. Spencer Stephens took the mound for Sportography and worked his way around singles by TJ Davis and Lucas Brown to hold IST to a single run scored.
IST’s pitching and defense kept Sportography scoreless again in the fifth inning.
A leadoff walk to Peter Maro in the bottom of the fifth resulted in a run, as Julian Berisha and Will Keating put the ball in play in the infield.
The tension mounted entering the sixth and final inning, as Sportography attempted to hold its lead, while the IST players contemplated a massive rally. Sportography tacked on a run in the top of the inning as Olivia Toscano came around to score to set the rally at eight runs needed for IST to stay alive. With two outs, the bases loaded, a run already in and an IST comeback brewing, Sportography’s outstanding catcher Danny Lowe rallied the infield and his pitcher on the mound, asking for just one more play in the field to seal the victory.
Pitcher Stephens delivered with the last of his four strikeouts to complete the victory and Sportography’s improbable championship run.