Mustangs top Falcons in Battle at Harbor Yard

Called a bulldog by Fairfield Warde baseball coach Mark Caron, the Mustang’s Nick Nardone needed every bit of that toughness when he pitched his team to a 7-5 victory over Fairfield Ludlowe in the annual Battle at Harbor Yard on May 12.
Nardone retired 15-of-16 batters through the fifth inning, and then fought his way out of trouble in an FCIAC contest played before a large bipartisan crowd.
Warde improved to 10-5 and is currently seeded fifth in the FCIAC playoff hunt. Ludlowe at 9-6 is tied for seventh with St. Joseph of Trumbull and Greenwich. The top eight teams make the postseason.
Ludlowe put its first three batters on base and pushed a run across before the game’s first out was recorded.
Tommy Ryan tripled to left field to open the game. Connor Dailey singled into the hole at shortstop, and Ryan scored and Daley went to second on the subsequent overthrow to first base.
Kevin Hickey was hit by a pitch, and after a strikeout, Patrick O’Leary’s sacrifice fly to right-center field — a sliding catch by Mike Foley — gave Ludlowe a two-run lead.
“After that first inning I realized that the kid (Hickey) on the other side is really good, so I started pounding the zone down and away,” Nardone said. “That was the umpire’s zone and that’s where I pitched.”
Hickey allowed two hits and struck out five batters through four innings, stranding Dakota DeJordy who had tripled with one out in the second.
Nardone and Ludlowe’s Nick Warkentin went at it for eight pitches before the right-hander got the inning-ending strikeout in the top of the fourth.
“We all have played baseball our entire lives and we go to the plate trusting our hands to use up the counts,” Nardone said. “That is the battle.”
It was with that mindset that Nardone led off the home fourth. Hickey got in front in the count 0-2, but on a 1-2 pitch Nardone singled to left field.
He stole second and went to third when Anthony Miller’s outfield fly was dropped.
Hickey recorded his sixth strikeout before Giacomo Brancato drilled a long two-run double to left field to tie the game at 2.
Sean Homa was hit by a pitch. Alex Goven turned an 0-2 pitch into an infield single to load the bases for Zach Weinstein, who delivered with a sacrifice fly for a 3-2 Mustang lead.
Foley drove a bad-hop single to left field to plate two more runs and an infield error brought the score to 6-2.
Nardone stepped into the batter’s box for the second time in the inning and drove in a run for a 7-2 advantage.
“When you get the extra out you have to capitalize and one-to-nine we had good at bats.” Caron said.
Ludlowe coach Mike Francese said, “All year, Kevin (Hickey)  has been picking us up and tonight we almost came back and picked him up.”
After allowing only a walk to Ray Condon in the second after getting the last three outs in the first, Nardone was challenged when Daley reached on an infield error to start the sixth.
Hunter Hewitt was hit by a pitch, and after a flyball out, O’Leary singled to right.
Taylor Szemplinski’s grounder to Brendan Miner at shortstop plated one run and Warkentin followed with a double up the alley in right-center to score two more.
Nardone’s fifth strikeout left Warkentin on second, and he struck out two more around a walk to Daley in the seventh.

About author

By participating in the comments section of this site you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and User Agreement

© HAN Network. All rights reserved. Fairfield Sun, 1000 Bridgeport Avenue, Shelton, CT 06484

Designed by WPSHOWER

Powered by WordPress