Greenwich High

Greenwich defeated by Fairfield Warde in FCIAC Baseball Tournament finals

Photo by Dylan Goodman Photography: Greenwich senior shortstop follows through on a swing during the Cardinals game against Fairfield Warde in the championship game of the FCIAC Baseball Tournament at Cubeta Stadium in Stamford.

After amassing 26 runs and registering 18 hits in a victory against Ridgefield in the semifinal-round of the FCIAC Baseball Tournament on Thursday night, Greenwich didn’t score a single run in Friday’s championship game against Fairfield Warde, thanks to Mustangs left-hander Zach Broderick.

The junior produced a masterful pitching performance, tossing a four-hitter with seven strikeouts – an effort that gave the Mustangs a win they won’t forget.

Broderick’s complete-game shutout and a 13-hit attack, powered second-seeded Warde past Greenwich, 9-0, in the FCIAC final at crowded Cubeta Stadium in Stamford. Late Thursday night, the Cardinals sprayed hits to all areas of the field and scored runs at an astounding pace. That wasn’t the case in Friday’s final, as Broderick was on his game, commanding the strike zone several pitches.

“Baseball is a funny game,” Arango said. “We love this game for a lot of reasons. A big reason is you score 26 runs the night before and you score zero the next day. You would think that could never happen in a game and it just shows what a humbling game it is. Sometimes when a starting pitcher is on like that, there’s only so much you can do.”

Greenwich sent Broderick out of the game when the team’s played during the regular season last week in a matchup for first place in the FCIAC and the top seeded in the FCIAC Tournament. The Cardinals posted a 10-3 lead and were able to string hits and runs together against Broderick, who made adjustments in his second start against Greenwich on Friday.

Photo by Dylan Goodman photography: Warde left-hander Zach Broderick pitched a four-hit shutout in the FCIAC final.

“Coming from a rough start last game, I had to come in here with a very strong mindset – a different mindset from last time, obviously,” Broderick said. “I was thinking more off-speed earlier on in the counts, instead of first-pitch fastballs. The offense helped me out a lot. Everyone 1-9, that were some of our best hitting performances. I felt good from the start throwing the ball.”

Warde’s ace pitcher entered the title game intent on showing what he was capable of on the mound against Greenwich this time around.

“Basically, we were looking for revenge, after they beat us the last time we played them,” he said. “Revenge was a big word.”

The win gave the Mustangs their first FCIAC title since the 2014 season when they defeated Trumbull in the final. Greenwich was hoping to win its first conference championship since the 2004 season. John Heitzman, a junior outfielder went 2 for 4 with two RBI, while sophomore shortstop Garrett Larsen was 2 for three with two RBI for Warde (18-3).

Senior Declan O’Hara had two hits and one RBI, senior first baseman Jack Corcoran drove in two runs and sophomore Griffin Polley, who was the winning pitcher in the semifinal against Darien, produced two hits and two runs scored in the winning effort. For Greenwich, senior first baseman singled off Broderick in the second inning, senior second baseman Auggie Bancroft singled in the third inning, junior outfielder Ryan Perez had a single in the sixth inning and third baseman had a base hit in the seventh. That was it for the Cardinals offensively against Broderick, who threw strikes throughout.

Photo by Dylan Goodman Photography: Warde’s Griffin Polley slides safely into home plate in the FCIAC final.

“That kid’s a competitor,” Arango said of Broderick. “Last week, he came into that game having allowed only one run all season. He knocked him out of that game and had a great game. We knew we’d see him again and we knew he was going to be tougher this time. What he really did was he just pounded the zone. He mixed his pitches well. The last time we faced him, he left us some fastballs up. Today he threw everything for strikes. We couldn’t even be patient. Every time we tried to be patient, it was 0-2 or 0-1.”

Warde coach Brett Conner watched with delight while Broderick got through each inning unscathed.

“Zach’s performance was legendary,” Conner said. “That performance will forever be remembered in Fairfield Warde history. I’m happy for him, I’m happy for his family, I’m happy for the entire team.”

Like Greenwich, Warde put a lot of effort into reaching the conference’s title game.

“All the support we got from the students, the administration and the community – our goal was to bring some excitement and something positive to the community and these guys worked tirelessly to make the job happen and they got the job done today,” Conner said.

Photo by Dylan Goodman photography: Greenwich’s Justin Zych beats a throw to first base in the FCIAC finals.

The Mustangs took a 1-0 first-inning lead off Greenwich junior right-hander Tommy Healey. Larsen walked, stole second and scored on Heitzman’s single to center field, making it 1-0. In the third inning, Larsen singled and with one out, Heitzman reached on an infield error. Broderick walked to load the bases and Corcoran hit a deep fly ball to right center field that was caught, but two runs scored on the long sacrifice fly, making it 3-0.

Larsen’s single up the middle scored a run in the fourth inning and Warde added another run in the fifth inning when Corcoran scored on a safety squeeze executed perfectly by junior Jake Balogh, putting Greenwich in a 5-0 hole.

“We were trying to jump on fastballs early and we came in here with a lot of energy,” Corcoran said. “This championship means a lot to us. Our school has been through some adversity this year, so it’s good to do this for our town, the fans – it means a lot.”

Healey, who has turned in a strong season, pitched five innings for Greenwich, allowing only two earned runs, while recording six strikeouts

“I thought Tommy was great,” Arango said. “He’s come a long way for us. I thought he pitched well enough to win the way we’ve been swinging the bats.”

In the seventh inning, Jack Andrews hit a two-run double off Greenwich reliever Michael Rose, O’Hara had an RBI single and Heitzman knocked in a run with a single.

Photo by Dylan Goodman photography: Auggie Bancroft puts tag on Warde’s Garrett Larsen in the FCIAC baseball final.

Up next for both teams is the CIAC Class LL Tournament. Greenwich is seeded fourth and will host No. 29 Cheshire in Tuesday’s 3:30 p.m. opening round game. Warde is seeded fifth and will play visiting East Hartford Tuesday at 4 p.m.

“I’m very proud of this group,” Arango said. “We’ve hit all our goals so far except one. Now, are going to be ready to go on Tuesday against Cheshire.”

 

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