FCIAC baseball: Ludlowe falls to Trumbull

Steve Zadravec (33) gave up only two hits, one earned run, and struck out eight batters during Fairfield Ludlowe’s FCIAC quarterfinal game with St. Joseph in Trumbull. (Photo by Bill Bloxsom)

Steve Zadravec (33) gave up only two hits, one earned run, and struck out eight batters during Fairfield Ludlowe’s FCIAC quarterfinal game with St. Joseph in Trumbull.
(Photo by Bill Bloxsom)

Fairfield Ludlowe had history on its side when coach Mike Francese’s seventh-seeded Falcons traveled to take on second-seeded St. Joseph in an FCIAC quarterfinal baseball game in Trumbull on May 27.
After all, a year ago in a similar situation the Falcons upended the higher-seeded Cadets, 10-2.
Steve Zadravec got the nod to start this game and the right-handed senior was equal to the task, allowing only two hits and striking out eight.
The Cadets’ Nick Williams did things one better, however, and St. Joseph rode his one-hitter to a 2-1 victory and a berth opposite Fairfield Warde in the semifinals.
“Our pitcher pitched a good game, their pitcher threw a good game and we may want, but can’t have, a couple of plays back,” Francese said.
St. Joseph (15-6) scored a run on a wild pitch in the second inning and on a throwing error in the third, but couldn’t stretch the advantage against the dangerous Falcons (13-8).
In the meantime, Williams, who finished with 12 strikeouts, set down the first 15 batters he faced before the Falcons’ Ray Condon worked out a walk on a 3-2 pitch
Condon moved to third on infield rollers by Chris Howell to Williams and by Billy Moeder to second base, but Williams struck out Tommy Ryan to end the inning.
Despite Williams’ dominating performance, Ludlowe was in the game because of Zadravec, who was throwing a great game of his own.
The Falcons came to the plate in the seventh and Williams opened the frame with a strikeout before Connor Daley hit the ball up the third base line and reached first base on a low throw.
Sean Gutierrez came in to pinch run, but Williams struck out the hard-hitting Kevin Hickey and was one out away from completing his masterpiece.
Nick Warkentin broke up the no-hitter with a solid first-pitch single to center and Dave Pierpont followed with an RBI hit to right field.
That left runners on the corners and brought Condon to the plate. Williams enticed a pop up to Mark Hirschbeck at shortstop for the final out.
“You can’t let your mind get wrapped around that,” Williams said of losing his no-hitter. “You have to focus on the ultimate goal and that was winning the game.”
St. Joseph took the lead in the second despite an outstanding play by Ryan at second base to erase leadoff batter Matt McKernan.
Matt Lavaneziana then stroked a one-out single to left field and Jake Amoroso was hit by a pitch.
Zadravec put the second out in the book on strikes, but walked Sean Hurley. With an 0-2 count on Mike Rotondo, Laveneziana scored on a wild pitch. Zadravec got the strike out on the next pitch.
In the third, Ismael Herrera lined a single off shortstop Taylor Szemplinski’s glove and into the outfield for a hit.
Hirschbeck then pulled the ball into the hole at short. Szemplinski got to the ball, but his throw on the force attempt at second was low.
Zadravec got a fly ball for the second out, but after stepping off the rubber his pickoff attempt to first base was high and went out of play.
Because he stepped off, the runners advanced two bases with Herrera scoring. Zadravec retired the next 10 batters to end the game.
Pierpont in left field robbed Williams of extra bases with one out in the Cadet sixth, with a full-out diving catch toward the foul line.
St. Joseph coach Jim Chaves said, “We’ve swung the bats better (than today), but give the other guy ( Zadravec) credit. I didn’t like our approach at times and thought we took too many fastballs.
“We were only able to scratch out the two runs and were lucky enough that we had Nick throwing the way he did. We’ve given him the ball in big spots the past two seasons and he has done well.”

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