ORANGE – For five innings, New Haven pitcher Sean Ranz was just about unhittable.
Orange Post 127 needed just one inning to disrupt the gem.
Taking advantage of a New Haven error and picking up all four of its hits in the sixth inning to score three times, Orange rallied to defeat New Haven 3-0 at Brinley Field Monday evening.
“He (Ranz) had the best slider we have seen so far,” Orange head coach Bob Mirto said after his team improved to 9-5. “He is a good pitcher. He did a nice job for them.”
Ranz was effective as he allowed just one base runner through five innings, a two-out walk to Rohan Patel in the second inning. Orange never threatened until the sixth when Post 127 pushed across the only runs of the game.
With one out, Chase Bursinski reached on an error at first, before Lou DeGennero followed with Orange’s first hit of the game to put runners on the corners. Brian Ronai promptly singled to left to score Bursinski, and a heads up play by Ronai on the throw to third put a pair of runners in scoring position.
New Haven intentionally walked Pat Winkel to load the bases and looked as if it would get out of the inning when Al Smith’s grounder in front of the plate was turned into a force at home with a brilliant play by catcher Jose Colon.
Eli Oliphant and Patel made sure they gave Orange starting pitcher Mike Ficaro some insurance runs when Oliphant singled to left to score Ronai and Pattel singled to right to score Winkel.
The three runs were more than enough for Ficaro, who limited New Haven to four hits, while striking out four and walking two in a 93-pitch, complete-game effort.
“I was just trying to be efficient with my pitches,” Ficaro said. “I trust my defense behind me for them to put the ball in play.”
Ficaro had only two jams to work out of and did so each time. With two on in the second, Ficaro got Eric Redente on a grounder to third to end the threat.
“He was terrific tonight,” Mirto said of Ficaro. “When you throw strikes like he did, good things will happen. They are a free swinging team.”
New Haven loaded the bases in the third on a leadoff single by Luis Galarza, and a two-out single by Angel Mendez and a walk to Jose Colon. Ficaro again escaped when he got Josh Colon on a grounder to third.
“This is a big win for us,” Ficaro said after his team responded from losing two of three games to Hamden in a weekend series. “We showed we can bounce back from a tough loss and be a better team.”
With the way Ranz and Ficaro were throwing, the offense was limited in the contest. Ranz finished by allowing just four hits, striking out seven and walking two in his complete-game effort.
“Sean (Ranz) is our number one pitcher,” New Haven coach John Taubl said. “We struggled with scoring some runs or we would be in this game. He had a no-hitter going into the last inning. He mixed his pitches very well. He is a very heady pitcher. He has a 90 miles per hour fastball and he has a nice curve. He will throw the cure when you do not expect it. We feel bad we could not get him any runs.”
Despite falling to 5-9 with the loss, Taubl likes the way his team has been approaching games and playing.
“We played well,” Taubl said. “I am not at all disappointed with the effort. This is a good group of kids.”