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Staples Falls in Extra-Inning Baseball Playoff Heartbreaker

WESTPORT, Conn. – Both the Staples and Trumbull High pitching staffs entered the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference baseball semifinal on a hot streak Thursday evening. But it took 10 innings at The Ballpark at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport before either team blinked.

Trumbull third baseman Casey Mack drove in the game-winning run off Staples reliever Greg Salamone with two outs in the top of the 10th. The run broke up a string of 23 and two-thirds straight scoreless innings pitched by Staples pitching, as Trumbull eliminated the defending conference champions, 1-0.

“Can’t win if you don’t score. Gotta hit,” Staples coach Jack McFarland said. “Both teams played great baseball tonight. Somebody was going to get a two-out hit sooner or later.”

Staples had more than a few chances to take the lead, but the Wreckers stranded 13 runners. Five were left in scoring position and twice Staples could not drive in the winning run from third base.

Both the Staples and Trumbull pitching staffs entered Thursday’s game having shut out their opponents, 1-0, in the conference quarterfinals. Wreckers pitchers were as equal to the task as Trumbull, as Chris Speer scattered three hits in four innings and Salamone allowed only a pair of hits until the 10th. But fatigue set in, though, as Trumbull collected three hits in the top of the third extra inning to take the lead.

Trumbull starter Gerard Spiegel escaped jam after jam, surviving eight Staples hits in seven-plus innings pitched of shutout ball. Colin Keyes shut the door on Staples, pitching three innings of no-hit relief.

Sam Ellinwood and Matt Reynolds were the only Wreckers players to collect more than one hit, with each coming up with a pair of base knocks. Reynolds was stranded on base three times.

“We replaced eight out of nine kids this year, and they took it upon themselves to get back to Harbor Yard,” McFarland said. “They kept the program right at the top of the league. It wasn’t easy, but they were able to do it.”

Staples will get a home game in the opening round of the Class LL state tournament, which begins next week.

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