After being edged by Fairfield on Tuesday, the Greenwich Cannons Senior American Legion team returned the favor on Wednesday, courtesy of Tommy Healey.
Healey powered the Cannons at the plate, going 4 for 4 with three RBI, resulting in a key, late-season comeback win for Greenwich.
The shortstop’s clutch hits helped propel Greenwich past Fairfield, 9-7, in Senior American Legion baseball action held at Julian Curtiss School.
Greenwich, which overcame a 4-1 deficit, dropped a 5-4 decision on the road Tuesday evening, so the victory got the team back on the winning track, heading into the postseason, which commences Saturday.
“To get back on the winning side of things before the playoffs is always nice,” Cannons coach Mike Abate said. “We fought back well and took the lead and credit Fairfield, they fought back the last inning and we were very fortunate to get the double play and squeeze the win out.”
Indeed, trailing 9-4, Fairfield rallied for three runs in the top of the seventh inning and had the bases loaded with one out. Greenwich pitcher Wyatt Gibson escaped further damage when Riley Redahan caught a line drive to third base and doubled up a Fairfield baserunner at second base for the game-ending double play.
Greenwich, which improved to 13-9 with the triumph, plays Zone 4 foe Fairfield again today at Fairfield, with the game beginning at 5:30 p.m. at Kiwanis Field. The Cannons will host Milford on Saturday in the first round of the Senior American Legion State Tournament at Julian Curtiss School at 1 p.m. Greenwich will compete in the four-team POD E in the Tournament’s Southern Division bracket, which includes Milford, Ridgefield and Hamden.
Each four-team pod (there are four in the tournament’s Southern Division and Northern Division) will determine a winner based on a double elimination format. The eight winners will then go on to the double elimination super regional tournaments at Bristol and Middletown (South Region) beginning on Saturday July 23. Teams will be reseeded based on regular season records for the super regionals.
While Healey, a shortstop and 2022 Greenwich High School graduate, was 4 for 4, fellow GHS 2022 graduate Tyler Cusimano had two hits and collected RBI for the Cannons in Wednesday’s matchup against Fairfield.
“We’re heating up again, we had a big cold streak, but I think we’re back,” said Cusimano, who played first base. “We’re pitching well, we’re hitting and we’re playing well. Last night (Tuesday night) was an unfortunate game, but tonight, we came back.”
Greenwich took the lead for good at 5-4 when Healey singled to left field off Fairfield right-handed relief pitcher Liam Grady in the fifth inning, scoring catcher Felipe Echeto and Gibson. Second baseman TJ Messina drew a base-loaded walk, forcing in another run, making it 6-4, then Cusimano hit a run-scoring single for the Cannons’ seventh run.
In the sixth inning, the Cannons extended their lead on a two-run double by Healey – a hit that put the home team on top, 9-4. For the game, Healey had three singles, one double and two runs scored.
“I felt good at the plate,” Healey said. “I was seeing the ball, seeing the spin really well and I just had really good pitches up there, so I was able to piece the ball and find holes. On the double, I hit the ball well and found a gap.”
The first six Fairfield batters reached base against Gibson in the top of the seventh inning, cutting Greenwich’s advantage to 9-7. Matthew Vivona and Charles Swanson each delivered run-scoring singles to highlight the Fairfield’s rally, but the Cannons were able to close the game out for their 13th win of the season.
“Our bats have been a little slow the past few games, but I think we’re kind of breaking out,” Healey said. “Today, we got a lot of hits and a lot of runs. We’re ready to move on and play some good teams.”
Right-hander Justin Zych, who graduated from Greenwich high last month, pitched the first four innings and Gibson worked three innings in relief to pick up the win for the Cannons. Fairfield scored three runs in the first inning and added a run in the second inning to seize an early 4-0 lead.
Cusimano’s two-run triple to deep right center field brought Greenwich to within 4-3 in the fourth inning.
“We put up nine runs, that’s always good,” Cusimano. “Top to bottom, we had guys hitting and that’s always a good sign going into the playoffs.”
Redahan had one hit and one run scored, Zych doubled, Echeto scored a run, Zach Alza had a run scored and outfielder Andrew Walko had two hits and scored two runs in the winning effort.
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