Ridgefield 19U Legion team in hunt for state spot
Even with five straight losses, the Ridgefield Post 78 American Legion Senior (19U) baseball team still had a chance to meet its preseason goal of making the state tournament.
Ridgefield took an 11-12 record into last night’s regular-season finale against Wilton. A win in that game (visit theridgefieldpress.com for an update) would give Ridgefield one of the five state tourney berths in Zone 4, and Post 78 might also qualify with a loss to Wilton (depending on the results of other games).
As of Tuesday, Stamford (20-3), Trumbull (18-5), Greenwich (14-9), and Stratford (12-12) had clinched four of the zone’s five spots in the state tournament.
Following an 8-1 win over Westport on July 7, Ridgefield was four games over .500 (11-7) and closing in on a post-season berth. But a 9-3 loss to Stamford last Monday began a five-game slide that crept into Monday’s 4-3 defeat at Greenwich.
That loss was particularly painful: Greenwich scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to close within 3-2 and then added two more runs in the bottom of the seventh for the walk-off victory.
Making the wound deeper for Ridgefield, Greenwich’s second rally came with two outs in the bottom of the seventh. Luke Thibeault’s single drove in the tying run, and an error on Chris Genaro’s grounder allowed the winning run to score.
Ridgefield had taken a 2-0 with a pair of runs in the top of the first inning. Kory Nossan walked and went to second on Sean Livingstone’s single before scoring on Matthew Bucciero’s RBI single. Daniel Bucciero then singled to drive in another run.
Post 78 added another run in the fifth inning, with Ben Wattles reaching on a fielder’s choice (following John McLoughlin’s single) and coming home on Nossan’s RBI double.
McLoughlin kept Greenwich scoreless through the first five innings before yielding two runs in the bottom of the sixth. Only one of Greenwich’s four runs was earned against McLoughlin, who pitched a five-hitter while walking two batters and striking out four.
McLoughlin added two singles for Post 78, which also received one hit apiece from Nick Cullinan, Matthew Bucciero, Daniel Bucciero, Wattles, Livingstone, and Nossan. Nossan’s double was Ridgefield’s only extra-base hit.
Notes: Wilton pitcher Andrew Weinbrum limited Ridgefield to three hits in his team’s 8-1 triumph on Sunday in Wilton.
Ridgefield also fell to Trumbull, 12-7, on Friday and Stamford, 8-4, on Saturday.
Cullinan had three hits and three RBIs to lead Ridgefield in the two losses.