MIDDLETOWN >> All that was necessary to make Rich Magner Day complete was a Xavier victory.
It took a while, but the Falcons struck suddenly for six runs in the sixth inning to defeat Foran of Milford, 6-4, in a Southern Connecticut Conference game played Saturday. Before the contest, the school’s new field “Richard Magner Baseball Field” was dedicated to the retired former Xavier baseball coach.
“It was a great day for Rich, a very emotional day,” Xavier coach Nick Ceretta said.
More than that, it was a win Xavier needed. A loss would have dropped the Falcons to 5-9 and 6-8 looks so much better than that.
“It was a big win for us,” Ceretta said. “We’re starting to turn the corner. What I like is we have fight in us. We hit the ball hard, we found some holes and we got six in the sixth.”
For much of this game the Xavier offense was silent movies. A lot of that was because of Foran starter Nick Hartley.
For five innings Hartley was in charge. He allowed only two baserunners — a single by Jake Alonzo and a double by Bill Egan — and that was it. But in the sixth it all came apart.
Ryan Famiglietti opened with a base hit. Tim Dickson followed with a walk and Austin Fortier singled to load the bases. Anthony Franco then went down and got a low outside pitch and went with it to left for a two-run single.
That earned Hartley the rest of the day off in favor of Chris Goglia, who was greeted with a base hit by Josh Cyr that gave the Falcons the lead.
Anthony Caramanica hit a bouncer up the middle that was deflected by Goglia in the general direction of second baseman Bailey Wheeler. Wheeler’s off-balance throw was wild — it was a base hit — which allowed a run to score.
Jake Alonzo (2-for-3) then dropped a bunt down the third base line that was thrown wildly past first by Goglia. It was a base hit, but the sixth run scored on the bad throw.
“We ran into a tough inning,” Foran coach Garrett Walker said. “Hartley made quality pitches, even in the sixth, but they had good at bats. He gave us a good shot to win.
“We did a lot of good things today, but we have to play all seven innings.”
Foran took a 2-0 lead in the third on an RBI double by Justin Lanese and a sacrifice fly to left by Bryan Firmender.
The Lions extended their lead to 3-0 on an unearned run in the fifth. An error by shortstop Alonzo on John Licktrey’s ground ball leading off the inning, enabled a two-out single by Brett Huber to produce a run.
“We have been giving up unearned runs,” Ceretta said. “And our pitcher [Miles Michaud] never has a lead. Today he kept us in the game as he has all year. He did a great job.”
Michaud went six innings and was the beneficiary of the rally. He gave up seven hits, struck out one and walked one. Two of the runs were earned.
Ceretta brought in Dennis Beaudry to nail it down, but Beaudry walked the first batter he faced and Ceretta immediately took him out in favor of lefty Joe Vail.
“Their lefties were coming up, so that was the move,” Ceretta said.
It was a good move.
After Vail hit the first batter, he got a double play from Huber. After a hit by Firmender (2-for-3) for a so-what run, Vail finished the game in style by striking out Brian Wydra to earn a save.
“We couldn’t lose this game on Magner’s day,” Ceretta said. “Rich Magner is Xavier baseball.”