STAMFORD—On one side was a veteran squad showing its patience and resiliency. On the other side was a young squad that had opportunities but couldn’t bring down the hammer.
It all added up to the Trumbull baseball team rallying to post a 5-4 road triumph over Stamford High Monday in the FCIAC opener for both squads.
Senior catcher Kevin Bruggeman stroked an RBI single to center with two outs in the top of the sixth to put Trumbull (4-1, 1-0 FCIAC) ahead for good.
“The team did a great job (single, two walks, sacrifice fly) of hitting before me to set up the situation,” Bruggeman said. “I saw the ball really well during the at-bat. Experience has taught me that if you’re pressing at the plate, things don’t usually go your way.”
Bruggeman’s hit capped a two-run rally that made a winner of Trumbull righty sophomore reliever Brian Kraus. He hurled four scoreless innings and struck out eight Stamford batters along the way including the side in the seventh to earn the victory. Sophomore starter Andrew Harvey collected seven strikeouts in three-plus innings of work for the Eagles.
“Kraus (55 pitches) located his fastball very well. That was the key,” Trumbull catcher Bruggeman said. “He hit the outside corner a lot and mixed in a few curveballs. It was a great performance for a sophomore.”
“It was Kraus’ second appearence of the season,” said Trumbull coach Phil Pacelli. “It was Brian’s first big varsity test and he passed it.”
Trumbull played like a team that had five games under its belt this season.
Stamford (1-1, 0-1 FCIAC) played like a team that was into just its second contest due to non-league road rainouts. Starting Wednesday April 10th however, the Black Knights could play seven games in 10 days.
A trio of Stamford throwing errors led to a 3-0 Trumbull edge in the top of the first.
Thereafter, SHS senior lefty Matt Tiplady fashioned four scoreless innings. He left after the fifth inning, throwing 98 pitches.
Stamford closed to 3-2 in the third with the help of a Trumbull error, a wild pitch, a walk, a stolen base and a sacrifice.
The Black Knights didn’t fully cash in opportunities in the fourth and fifth innings.
In the fourth, Cal McKeever (3-for-3) had a leadoff single and eventually scored on Jack Palmer’s bases-loaded walk for 3-3. Kraus relieved Harvey for Trumbull and allowed Ross Green’s RBI single for 4-3 with the bases still loaded.
However, Kraus induced two strikeouts and a pop up to end the threat.
“In my mind, that was the turning point of the game,” Trumbull coach Pacelli said. “Kraus did a great job.”
In the fifth, McKeever doubled and Nick Otis singled for second and third with one out for SHS. But Kraus induced an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play to keep it 4-3.
“When you play a top team like Trumbull and have a chance to win. You have to finish the job,” Stamford coach Rit Lacomis said. “To have the bases loaded with none out and come away with nothing is so deflating. Kraus threw a lot of fastballs but we didn’t adjust to it. We need our hitters to adjust within each at-bat.”
Given new life, the Trumbull seniors did what was necessary in the sixth to grab the victory.