TRUMBULL — As intense and riveting as the friendly rivalry can be, the latest installment of St. Joseph-Trumbull baseball was a walk in the park for the Cadets.
Visiting St. Joseph, after stringing together a trio of hits to score three first-inning runs, walked six times in a five-run third inning en route to a 9-2 triumph on a chilly Wednesday afternoon.
The Cadets improved to 8-3 overall and 6-2 in the FCIAC. Trumbull fell to 8-6 and 5-5.
Stephen Paolini led off the game with a single, and Aaron Kirby and Jim Evans followed with doubles to spark things.
“It’s huge. Three runs in the first inning sets the tone for the game. You could tell that took a little bit of life out of them,” St. Joe’s coach Jim Chaves said.
Trumbull coach Phil Pacelli said: “They kicked us in the teeth in the first inning with three loud runs.”
After Trumbull starting pitcher Ryan Gomes rebounded with a scoreless second, the Eagles scratched out a run in the bottom of the frame.
A hit batsman, error and two walks, the second to Rob Goldsmith, forced home Trumbull’s first run.
The Cadets scored five quiet runs, so to speak, in the third.
They had just two hits – RBI singles by Jim Evans and Hayden Gourley – in the frame.
Paolini started the rally with a walk, and Aaron Kirby, Charlie Pagliarini, Carter Courbron, Luke Kirby and Paolini again, all worked bases on balls in the inning.
“We were able to capitalize on some walks. They grinded out some at bats, they fought off some tough pitches,” Chaves said of his lineup.
Trumbull reliever Byran Kraus entered in the third with the bases loaded and no outs. He was responsible for one of the St. Joe’s runs in the inning.
The Eagles showed their share of patience at the plate and scored another run in the third.
Ray Leonzi beat out an infield single to open the inning, Kevin Bruggeman walked, Luke Mason walked with two outs and Brandon Buda worked yet another Trumbull walk to force in a run, making it an 8-2 game.
The Eagles, however, left the bases loaded.
“We couldn’t get the timely hits there,” Pacelli said of Trumbull’s chances to score more in the second and third innings.
Paolozzi settled in after a couple shaky innings early on. He started by trying to get ahead with the fastball. That wasn’t working, but adjustments allowed him to succeed.
“Sometimes, if plan A isn’t working you have to go to plan B,” Chaves said. “I think he did a good job with his plan B. He started working his breaking ball in there and spotting his fastball later in the game.”
Paolozzi lasted six innings, overcoming tough weather conditions for pitching, said Chaves, adding that it felt more like a day in March than May 1.
Defensive highlights included Trumbull catcher Bruggeman throwing out a base stealer in the fourth; a diving grab by Trumbull center fielder Leonzi, robbing Carbone of an extra base hit in the fifth; and St Joe’s second baseman Jack Wallace, shortstop Corborn and third baseman Pagliarini all making sparkling plays to prevent hits throughout the game.
The Cadets tacked on a run in the sixth when Aaron Kirby drove in Paolini with a single.
Paolini had two hits and scored three runs. Aaron Kirby and Evans both had two hits and two runs scored. Gourley had two hits.
Trumbull managed just two hits, singles by Leonzi and Bruggeman.
“We play Fairfield Warde tomorrow, so we’ve got to put this in the rear-view mirror fast,” Pacelli said.