WESTPORT, Conn. The Staples High baseball team was handed its first loss of the season Monday in about the strangest way possible. Despite having several chances to blow the game open, the Wreckers could not collect the crucial hit and fell to Fairfield Ludlowe, 3-1, in eight innings.
Ludlowes Mike Kochiss led off third base in the eighth, representing the go-ahead run. With Kochiss leading a little too far for Staples taste, Wreckers catcher James Frusciante faked a throw to third. As Kochiss dove back to the bag, Staples third baseman Elias Andrew slapped a tag on him.
Thats when things got wacky. The umpire ruled that the fake tag was field interference and the dive back to the bag an injury risk, and he awarded home plate to Kochiss.
At the time of the call, Staples manager Jack McFarland was lividl, but he admitted it was technically correct by the rulebook. It was the right call by Ray [the umpire]. I dont know if he had to call it there, but he made the right call, McFarland said. Its a tough way to go down.
The wild ending washed out a sparkling outing by Staples ace Jimmy Kopack. The senior righty dominated Ludlowe pitching, striking out 10 in 7 ? innings. Kopack struck out seven batters in a row at one point from the first to the third innings.
Staples had multiple chances to score more runs, including a towering shot by Chris Speer in the bottom of the seventh that cleared the fence but fell just foul. The Wreckers loaded the bases in the bottom of the eighth, but Victor DAscenzo wiggled his way out of the jam to earn the save for Ludlowe.
You can only put yourself in this spot so many times. We were 5-0, but we came back in three or four of those in the sixth innings, McFarland said. The way we swung the bats today we didnt deserve this one. We have to have a better approach in the earlier innings.
Staples (5-1) will try to bounce back on Wednesday when it hosts Bridgeport Central at noon.
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