STAMFORD — There are many exciting days left this 2019 season for the Westhill baseball team.
But Westhill coach D.J. Mulvany got to see some signs in Wednesday’s 8-7 non-league, home victory over Immaculate that should carry the Vikings in good stead going forward.
“The biggest thing I took away from today was the character we showed coming back from a 6-1 deficit (in bottom of the second inning),” Mulvany said. “We never panicked. We never pointed fingers. Everybody contributed. It was nice to see.”
And thanks to a textbook sequence in the bottom of the seventh, Westhill is sitting pretty at 2-0 overall.
No. 8 hitter Joe Kopec worked out a leadoff walk. And Sam Spangola followed with a successful sacrifice bunt. Immaculate brought in reliever Pat Ianetta and astutely international walked Westhill’s best hitter Bob Zmarzlak (3-for-3, on base all five at-bats).
On the 2-and-2 pitch to Noah Skaug, Kopec and Zmarzlak engineered a double steal to put the potential winning run just 90 feet away.
Skaug then lifted a sacrifice fly to left to score Kopec and send the crowd home before they were frozen on this windy afternoon.
“It hadn’t been my best day at the plate (2-for-4, one RBI, one run scored) to that point,” Skaug said. “I just focused on getting the ball to the outfield. I shortened my swing and put the ball in play. To come through in that situation is exciting.”
Immaculate (1-2) scored three times in each of the opening two innings to build a 6-1 cushion. Chris Cianfiore had a two-run single in the first. Joe Rios (2-for-2, 3 RBI, 3 walks) crushed a two-run homer to right in the second.
Westhill righthander Craig Ottaviano relieved to start the third inning. He allowed one run on four hits but stranded nine Immaculate runners over four innings of work.
“I was really pleased. Immaculate hit well but my defense made plays behind me,” Ottaviano said. “My curveball was my best pitch. Our hitters turned this into a great comeback win.”
Immaculate tied it 7-7 with one run in the sixth. The Mustangs parlayed an error, a walk, a single and a hit batsman (with two outs) for the deadlock.
“On our end, starting pitcher Mike Malgieri (four innings) had all his pitches working,” said Immaculate coach Dean White. “A couple of bounces usually decide it in baseball. Give Westhill credit for their comeback.”
WESTHILL 8, IMMACULATE 7
IMMACULATE 330 001 0—7 9 1
WESTHILL 110 500 1—8 13 3
Records: Immaculate 1-2, Westhill 2-0. Batteries: I—Mike Malgieri, Chris Cianfiore (5, L), Pat Ianetta (7) and Tom Coonan. W—Evan Campbell, Craig Ottaviano (3), George Psichopaidas (7), James Gerard (7, W) and Mike Berlingo. Highlights: I—Joe Rios 2-run HR, single, 3 walks, 3 RBI, 2 runs scored. Zach Demko 3 hits, 3 runs scored. W—Bob Zmarzlak 3-for-3, IW, on-base all 5 at-bats, 2 runs scored.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated Westhill was ranked No. 5 in the GameTimeCT Top 10 baseball poll. The Vikings are not ranked.