GREENWICH — Brunswick School was as close as it could get to winning its season opener against the Choate Rosemary Hall baseball team, as the Wild Boars were down to their final strike several times in the seventh inning of Saturday’s game.
Yet the visitors battled hard at the plate the whole game against Bruins’ standout left-hander Trystan Sarcone and with the bases loaded in the seventh inning, Zach Vandale drew a walk, tying the score.
Then in the eighth inning, an opportunity arose for Choate and it capitalized.
Scoring an unearned run in the eighth inning, Choate edged Brunswick 2-1 in a matchup featuring outstanding pitching from both squads.
Sarcone, a senior, struck out 10 batters, while allowing one run on four hits in seven innings for the Bruins (0-1). He also issued five walks and hit one batter.
“I didn’t feel great out there, I was definitely off, but that’s baseball, you have to battle,” said Sarcone, who threw 69 pitches over the first six innings, before working hard in the seventh. “Toward the end I started to feel better and I settled in a little bit.”
After retiring the first two batters in the seventh inning with his team leading, 1-0, Sarcone walked Choate’s Mike Swierczynski and Christian Boudreau, then hit Chris Guyette to load the bases. With the bases loaded and two outs and the count 3-2, Vandale walked, tying the score at 1-1.
Choate junior relief pitcher Grady Bohen struck out the side in the bottom of the seventh inning and the Wild Boars scored the go-ahead run in the top of the eighth off Bruins sophomore right-hander Joe Henry.
Bohen reached on an error on a pop-up, stole second base and junior Sean Dennehy walked, scored when senior catcher Jack Fuchs’ infield ground ball was misplayed, making it 2-1.
“We just talked about grinding at the plate,” Choate Rosemary Hall coach Scott Wosleger said. “We have seen a lot of good pitching this year so far, so we try to keep grinding at-bats and hope for a break. Our mental approach stayed strong.”
In the eighth inning, Bohen held the Bruins off the scoreboard to earn the win. Will Eichhorn struck out three batters over the first four innings while Bohen fanned four in four innings of relief for the victors.
“The key for us is throwing strikes,” said Wosleger, whose squad improved to 2-1. “Either one of our guys was going to start today and they both like the big spot. They throw strikes, they are gutsy and they like to compete, which is a good combination.”
Said Bruins coach Johnny Montanez: “They put their team in a position to win. Early in the season pitching is going to be ahead of hitting, but these pitchers did a great job of keeping people off balance and throwing strikes.”
Brunswick took a 1-0 advantage in the bottom of the third inning. Sarcone singled to center field and scored on senior shortstop Aaron Sabato’s sun-aided double to right center field. Junior first baseman Jake Hyde added a single in the inning, but Eichhorn escaped further damage. The Bruins were limited to three hits for the game and committed four errors.
The Wild Boars threatened to score in several innings, but Sarcone was especially tough with runners on base, mixing his fastball and curve ball.
“Trystan battled, he is the best kid we’ve got on that mound,” Montanez said. “When he is in a game and we are winning 1-0 and he has 69 pitches going into the seventh inning he deserves an opportunity to get those last three outs. If we play every game as hard as we did today, I’m excited about the outcome.”
Added Sarcone: “It was not a bad first outing. Now I know what I need to improve on, so the next time I will be that much sharper.”