Staples baseball has dashed the hopes of many teams this season, making a living off of two-out rallies. In the FCIAC semifinals Thursday, the Wreckers nearly found out what it was like to be on the wrong end of one against top-ranked St. Joseph.
Starter Jim Kopack pitched brilliantly for 6 2/3 innings, but couldnt nail down the final out. A triple and three straight singles put the winning run on base for the Cadets, and Kopack was lifted for Bryan Terzian. The Staples righty faced only one batter, getting Alex Carboni to ground out to short. The Wreckers had survived St. Joe's, 7-6, and punched their ticket to their fourth FCIAC title game in six years.
"High school baseball gets you really crazy. The runs come fast and the outs were like gold there," Staples head coach Jack MacFarland said. "I wanted to let Jimmy finish there, but they started getting some really solid contact. We're just happy to be back in the FCIAC championship and try and bring this thing back to Westport."
The sixth inning proved to be the difference for Staples, which scored three runs on three hits and a walkall with two outs. Tyler Jacobs connected for one of the Wreckers' few solidly hit balls of the evening, driving a double into the left-center gap. Ryan Burke drove in what turned out to be the winning run with an RBI single.
Kopack gave up six runs on 11 hits, but three of the runs and four of the hits came in the seventh. He managed to keep St. Joe's six-through-nine hitters in check, holding them to a combined 2-for-14 on the evening.
"We've just been able execute in those situations all year," Terzian said. "Everybody in this lineup hits. That's what we do and that's what we need to bring into the championship game."
Staples goes for its third FCIAC title in four years when it takes on Danbury on Saturday at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport. The Hatters are making just their third appearance in the championship game and their first since 2003. First pitch is scheduled for noon.
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