Experiencing four consecutive losses to start the season, including a humbling defeat against Fairfield Ludlowe, Greenwich’s baseball team knew it needed to change the tone of its 2023 campaign, starting with its home game against FCIAC foe Brien McMahon yesterday.
Junior right-hander Tommy Passamano helped the Cardinals do just that, giving the team exactly what it needed on the mound in their FCIAC-opener.
Passamano pitched 5 2/3 effective innings, scattering six hits, while allowing only two runs in Greenwich’s 6-2 win over Brien McMahon. The victory was the first of the season for the Cardinals, who were defeated by Notre Dame-West Haven, Staples, Stamford and Fairfield Ludlowe and to start the season. Their setback against Ludlowe was especially tough, as the Falcons posted a 19-3 five-inning victory.
“It’s been a really tough start, not for a lack of effort, or us not giving it our all,” Greenwich coach Adrian Arango said. “We ran into a few buzz saws early in the year – having a tough loss to Stamford the day before Easter and Tuesday (Fairfield Ludlowe loss) was a low point. But what happened is it turned into a way for us to turn things around.”
“We came out here Wednesday and Thursday and we had tremendous practices,” Arango continued. “The kids were all in, everybody was picking each other up, they were all vocal.”
Passamano struck out four batters and walked only two during an 87-pitch outing. He threw 58 strikes, which keyed his performance.
“It’s a great feeling to get this win, it was an all-around team effort,” Passamano said. “Cody (Baker) called a great game behind home plate. My fastball was good, I’m having good command of it and I was able to get a bunch of swings and misses with my change-up.”
Arango was impressed with the command and consistency Passamano displayed on the mound.
“Tommy has been great for us all year,” Arango noted. “That’s what we expect from him. He’s going to go out there and throw strikes and we make the plays for him. He pitches to contact, he throws strikes and when he gets into a rhythm, he’s tough to hit. Teams struggle against Tommy because he pounds the zone and you have to swing the bat. He doesn’t give you a break to take pitches.”
At the plate, the Cardinals were powered by senior right fielder/captain Michael Bocchino, who went 2 for 3 with one run scored and one RBI. One of Bocchino’s two hits was a home run in the bottom of the second inning that gave GHS a 1-0 lead.
Bocchino’s home run to left center field came off Senators junior right-hander Liam Bresnahan.
“We were tied 0-0 and we needed a start and I was trying to get myself in a good mindset,” Bocchino said of his homer. “He threw me a couple of change-ups to start off with and he threw a curve-ball and I was still a little out in front of it, but I kept my head down and was able to drive it. It was good to get us started.”
“Michael has been great for us and is the consummate teammate,” Arango said. “He’s going to do whatever it takes to help the team. He made two great plays in right field as well.”
Baker, a junior catcher, was 2 for 3 with an RBI, while senior designated hitter Alex Palmer had an RBI triple for the victors.
Greenwich added a second run in the bottom of the second inning to take a 2-0 lead. Senior center fielder/captain Wyatt Gibson beat out ground ball to third base for a hit and Baker delivered an infield hit later in the inning, scoring a run, making it 2-0.
The Senators plated a pair of runs in the third inning to tie the score at 2-2. Senior Devin Bowen hit an RBI single and junior William Stalzer reached on an error, which brought in a second run, evening the score at 2-2. That’s all the runs McMahon managed though, as Greenwich’s pitching was strong throughout.
The home team took the lead for good at 3-2 when senior second baseman Nathan Jones delivered a run-scoring single to right field in the third inning. Pinch runner Jake Stefanowicz scored the third run for the Cardinals, whose third inning began with a base hit to center field by junior first baseman John McHugh.
“It feels great to have runs behind you early in the game like that,” Passamano said. “We’re ecstatic we are super happy in the dugout, with this win. It’s a great feeling.”
Greenwich’s two-run fifth inning was highlighted by Palmer’s triple to deep right field, which scored a run, giving GHS a 5-2 advantage. The Cards added an unearned run off an error in the sixth inning to pad their lead.
McHugh, who had one hit and one run scored, pitched 1 2/3 innings of relief, allowing no runs.
“Tommy did great today, we just wanted to shut the door for him,” McHugh said. “It felt good to go in there and shut the door.”
Senior left fielder Andrew Walko had a hit, while Gibson had a hit and a run scored in the winning effort.
“It was definitely a huge improvement from our previous games,” McHugh said. “We worked hard in practice this week and we showed it. That loss to Ludlowe woke us up. We had a great week of practice and I think we’re in the right mindset.”
Said Bocchino: “We knew that coming in we had to change our mindset. Today was opening day for the FCIAC so we came out 0-0. We had a couple of good practices leading up to the game and we showed it today.”
Indeed, despite the four losses to open the season, none were FCIAC matchups. So Greenwich (1-4) is 1-0 in conference play, heading into a road game against Ludlowe in a game that will count in the FCIAC standings.
“Tuesday, we were a little embarrassed about the effort we put up, so we have to go up there with a lot of intensity,” Arango said.
Categories: Greenwich High, Spring sports
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