WESTPORT -- Staples baseball coach Jack McFarland said that his team was eager to come out and show they deserved to be considered one of the favorites to dethrone Danbury as FCIAC champions this spring.
Seven innings and 16 hits later, the Wreckers showed their offense has the ability to make life very difficult for opposing pitchers.
Adam Dulsky hit a grand slam and Sam Ellinwood went 5-for-5 with a home run as Staples demolished Danbury 12-3 on Friday afternoon in the season opener for the Wreckers. Danbury defeated New Milford 5-3 in its opener on Wednesday.
"We've always been near the top and we feel we're going to be one of those teams," McFarland said. "We've have enough depth, enough pitching and enough hitting that we're going to win ball games."
Ellinwood broke a scoreless deadlock in the bottom of the first inning with a solo homer over the left field fence. The shot was a part of a six-run outburst over the first two innings that gave Staples a comfortable cushion.
"It's always a good feeling," Ellinwood said of the homer. "I obviously wasn't trying to go up and hit a home run; I just put a good swing on it. I think it was a changeup, it was a high pitch that realistically I shouldn't have swung at, but the result was good."
Rob Villone struck out 10 batters in six innings of work for the Staples, which hosts Masuk Saturday.
The Wreckers chased Danbury starter Lenny Rodriguez before the second inning was completed. Staples' patience at the plate paid dividends as the game went on.
"We didn't pitch or play good defense," Hatters coach Shaun Ratchford said. "It's hard to compete when you throw 77 pitches in two innings; it was difficult to throw strikes."
Danbury clawed to within 6-2 entering the bottom of the fifth, but one swing of the bat by Dulsky put the game out of reach.
"It makes it real hard when you get into the bullpen in the second, third inning," McFarland said. "We were able to get it deep into the pitch count and the middle of our lineup did a lot of damage today."
Staples freshman Ben Casparius went 3-for-4 in his varsity debut. Casparius, who batted sixth and made an excellent put out at third base, smacked a single on the very first pitch he saw.
"Ben is a really fantastic player," Ellinwood said. "It amazes me he's a freshman; it seems like physically, mentally, he could be a junior or senior. It's great he can make an impact for us so quick because we were lacking a third baseman."
The opening day win should serve as a confidence booster heading into a busy stretch that includes a showdown with Greenwich next Thursday. Read Full Article
"(The Hatters are) the defending champions, it feels great to come out and beat them," Ellinwood said. "We're excited about the way our team is looking."
DANBURY 010 001 1 -- 3 9 3
STAPLES 240 051 x -- 12 16 1
Records: Danbury 1-1, 0-1 FCIAC; Staples 1-0, 1-0.
Batteries: D--Lenny Rodriguez (L, 1-0), Sam Wimer and Mike Schweitzer. S--Rob Villone (W, 1-0), Alec Johnson and Adam Dulsky.