TRUMBULL — After a tumultuous week that attracted negative national attention, followed by a humbling defeat, Matt DeLuca delivered a needed boost for the Ridgefield baseball team.
DeLuca allowed one hit over 6 2/3 sparkling innings to lead the Tigers to a 2-0 win over Trumbull, emerging as the victor of a taut pitchers’ duel.
“Great job by my team today, giving me two big runs that gave me a lot of confidence for the rest of the game,” said DeLuca, who struck out seven. DeLuca was removed after issuing a two-out walk, but Jack Bohrer came on and after issuing a walk got the save.
The Tigers, currently the No. 1 team in the state writers’ poll, improved to 6-1 over all and 2-1 in the league.
It has been a long five days for the Tigers. On Saturday their home field was damaged when a fire broke out after gasoline was used to dry the mound area in an attempt to get a game in against Amity. The photo of the flames made national news, caused an estimated $50,000 in damage and led to coach Paul Fabbri and two of his assistants being put on administrative leave.
Home games against Stamford and Trinity Catholic were moved to the road, and then Ridgefield suffered a 15-8 loss to the Crusaders, a team that does not figure to be in the playoff hunt.
The Ridgefield players learned when they arrived at Trumbull that Fabbri and his staff would be reinstated, effective tomorrow. Fabbri watched today’s game from the outfield, then came on the field to address the team afterward.
“It’s a great bounce-back win after what happened on Thursday,” Fabbri said. “It was tough. As the week went on it got more and more frustrating. I think it was a little confusing for the kids but kids are pretty resilient.”
DeLuca proved baffling to the Eagles (4-3, 1-2), who have a strong order but were held in check two days after scoring just once in a loss to Darien.
“We have some good hitters in the lineup, we just couldn’t string some hits together in a row,” Trumbull coach Phil Pacelli said. “No need to panic, it’s early and we will work it out.”
Justin Nyarady (1-1), the Eagles’ No. 2 starter, matched DeLuca for much of the game, but was nicked for a couple of runs with two outs.
In the fourth, Cole Blackwell doubled and scored on an error.
In the sixth, Nyarady issued a pair of two-out walks. Ryan Vawter came on in relief and Colin LaCoille delivered a base hit and important insurance run for the Tigers.
“They did their damage with two outs, they got some timely hits and we didn’t,” Pacelli said. “We couldn’t push any runs across and that was kind of frustrating. It’s early, a lot of baseball left and I feel we will come out of it.”
DeLuca said he enjoys the chess match of a close game.
“I try to calm down and pitch how I normally pitch all the time,” DeLuca said. “I was locating pretty well today. The curveball was shaky in the beginning and then better toward the end.”
Fabbri afterward gave the game ball to Mike Scarlett, the junior varsity coach who moved up to run the team this week.
“It hasn’t been easy and he’s been by himself,” Fabbri said. “Normally we have three guys here.”