Warde captures FCIAC baseball title with 4-0 win

Nick Nardone is flanked by Anthony Miller (4) and Zach Weinstein after getting the final out in Warde's title win over Trumbull at Harbor Yard. (Photo by David G. Whitham)

Nick Nardone is flanked by Anthony Miller (4) and Zach Weinstein after getting the final out in Warde’s title win over Trumbull at Harbor Yard.
(Photo by David G. Whitham)

The Fairfield Warde baseball program can count on one finger how many FCIAC titles it has one, but Mustangs’ head coach Mark Caron can tick off a number of reasons his team is wearing the crown after defeating Trumbull High, 4-0, in the championship game at the Ballpark at Harbor Yard on Saturday, May 30.
Pitching defense and hitting contribute to winning, so in that order:
Hunter Hewitt got the start and the left-handed senior pitched five-plus innings of shutout ball en route to being named game MVP.
“All my stuff was working,” Hewitt said. I know I’m not the fast, so I have to locate. Zach (Weinstein) made some huge plays and it is a little unreal knowing we are FCIAC champs.
“Coach told us to stay in the moment and we had great fans supporting us. By the sixth inning I was gassed and wasn’t locating as well. This is the greatest moment of my life. We’ve never won anything like this before.”
Hewitt was relieved by Nick Nardone with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning and the junior right-hander kept the Eagles off the board the rest of the way.
On the defensive side, Dakota DeJordy’s baseball instincts kicked in to halt Trumbull’s only real shot to put together a big inning.
With runners on first and second and two outs in the second inning, third baseman Zach Weinstein dove to his left to knock down Connor Broderick’s drive.
Zach Sagar rounded third base too far, and Weinstein tossed to DeJordy covering the bag.
Caught off base, Sagar was tagged out in a rundown to leave Trumbull’s leadoff hitter Liam Moore waiting in the batter’s box.
“From playing so many games it just felt natural,” DeJordy said of reacting instead of watching as Weinstein handled the hard grounder. “This (winning) is like something I’ve never felt.”
Weinstein added to his day by catching Avery Santos’ stinging liner just off the ground with a runners on the corner in the third and stepping on bag to end the Eagles’ third.
With one out in the sixth, Weinstein dove to his left to snare Santos’ ball headeddown the line. The junior scrambled to his feet and threw a dart to Reece Mainscalco at first to beat Santos by a heart beat.
In the Trumbull first with a runner on third and two outs, Warde catcher Anthony Miller blocked a 1-2 pitch from going to the backstop. On the next pitch, Hewitt retired Santos on a grounder to Nardone playing second.
At the plate, no one came up bigger than Tommy Luckner, who stepped in against Trumbull ace Colin Keyes with runners on the corners leading 1-0 with two out in the top of the second. Luckner promptly tripled into the right field corner to boost the advantage to 3-0.
“They just believed,” Caron said when asked about his team’s transformation from a 12-8 team to league champions. “Losing 17-3 to Trumbull (in the regular season) and never having beaten them before made us hungry. I’m so proud of them.
“Flipflopping Tommy (Lucker to the top spot in the order) with (now No. 2 hitter) Mike Foley paid off with five straight wins. Tommy was taking pitches and then driving them and Mike is stinging the ball (four hits in the last two games, three doubles and a triple).
“Zach Weinstein made as good a high school play as you’ll ever see. Hunter wanted the ball and shut down a great hitting team.
“This is the best defensive team, the best fundamental team I’ve coached. It’s not even close.
“It’s so rewarding to do it with this group of seniors… I knew coming into the season that we would be better and I knew the character of these seniors was top notch.
“We’ve made one team error in the last three (FCIAC playoff) games and that’s a mark of a championship team.”

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