GREENWICH — Greenwich’s Cage Lasley has been the right man in the right spot for Greenwich so far in the CIAC Class LL Tournament.
After winning a second-round game over Newtown with a walk-off single, Lasley again found himself at the plate with the game on the line against Warde in the quarterfinals.
Lasley delivered again, lining a triple into the left-centerfield gap with the score tied to send home pinch runner James Babb from first base in the bottom of the sixth inning.
No. 4 Greenwich would tack on two more runs in the sixth, beating No. 5 Warde 5-2 to advance to the Class LL Semifinals.
Greenwich will face No. 24 Norwalk, which beat No. 10 Ridgefield 10-0, in the semifinals at a neutral site Tuesday.
“I know I had to do my job. My boys in front of me did a great job getting on base. I had to put the ball in play because I knew that was our inning,” Lasley said. “I couldn’t be prouder of the team. Today was a nice team win. We would love to play (Warde) every single day. They are a great ball club and this was one of the best ball games I have ever been a part of.”
The story of the day before Greenwich’s rally in the sixth, was Greenwich pitchers escaping jams time and again.
Greenwich pitchers left 14 Warde runners stranded on base, escaping bases-loaded situations three times with just two runs coming across the plate.
Greenwich starter Carson Bylciw pitched into the fourth before running into a bit of trouble in the fourth and giving up two runs that tied the game 2-2.
He was relieved by Matt Chioditti who escaped more damage with a strikeout and flyout to left field.
Chioditti picked up the win, working into the seventh where he ran into some trouble of his own.
Warde got the first two batters on the top of the seventh on base with a double and walk.
Chioditti was replaced by starting shortstop Christian Mingione who was making his first appearance on the mound all season.
Mingione induced a flyball to center before walking a batter to load the bases with one out.
The next batter flew to right and the runner from second broke for third, getting doubled off at second for the final out of the game.
“That was Mingione’s first outing of the season,” Greenwich coach Adrian Arango said. “He’s another one when you talk about a senior and a winner. He had some elbow stuff in the preseason and so we moved away from him. Ming said ‘coach I want to take the ball and want to help the team however I can.’ What can you say for a kid’s first outing in a state quarterfinal, last inning. To get out of that is unbelievable.”
Greenwich got on the board first in the second inning, scoring twice aided by two errors by Warde.
Warde tied it in the fourth on RBI-hits by Jack Andrews and John Heitzman.
In the bottom of the sixth for Greenwich, Mingione led off with a walk and was pinch run for by Babb.
Lasley tripled and later scored on a double by John Zola, making it 4-2. The Cardinals got one more across n the sixth on a double by Auggie Bancroft, scoring Zola.
Prior to the sixth, Greenwich had just two hits as Warde starter sophomore Jack Passeck held them in check, just giving up two unearned runs.
“We tip our caps to Greenwich,” Warde coach Brett Conner said. “They capitalized on their opportunities and we had some opportunities today that we didn’t capitalize on. I would love to play them every single day if we could. They bring the best out of us and I think we bring the best out of them. It’s fun baseball to be part of. It is what hard-nosed baseball is all about.”
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Cage Lasley, Greenwich: The senior was 2-for-3 with a double, triple, run scored and game-winning RBI.
“Cage had the walk-off hit the other day and when you’re a senior captain and you can step up in these moments, it’s incredible. Cage has been hungry. I sensed it at the end of the year when FCIACs started and you know any game could be your last. He was always the last to leave the dugout, he sits in there by himself. He’s thinking and he loves this. We are a family and we are all together in this. We don’t want this to end.”