No. 2 Ridgefield baseball edges No. 1 Warde in pitchers’ duel

RIDGEFIELD — The game lived up to the hype.

The No. 1 and No. 2 baseball teams in the state played a close, well-fought battle, and in the end, one was left standing.

No. 2 Ridgefield held off a late rally by No. 1 Fairfield Warde to win 2-1 on Wednesday.

“You can’t expect anything better from a No. 1 versus No. 2,” Ridgefield coach Mike Scarlett said.

The number two popped up often at Governor Park with the Ridgefield defense turning three double plays.

In the second, third and fifth inning, Warde hit a groundball to Ridgefield shortstop Matt Bucciero who flipped to second baseman Myles Gythfeldt, who threw to first to complete the double play.

“They were putting balls in play so anytime we could get two outs instead of one it was a big moment,” Gythfeldt said.

Two of the double plays ended the inning and sent the Warde offense — that averaged nine runs a game — back to the dugout.

“Warde is an aggressive team, they try to make things happen on the base paths and they have plenty of bats,” Scarlett said. “To erase rallies just like that is (enormous).”

After its second double play, the Ridgefield bats went to work and capitalized.

Daniel Bucciero hit a two-out RBI triple and on his way to third the Warde throw went out of play, allowing Bucciero to score, giving the Tigers a 2-0 lead in the third.

“We made some uncharacteristic defensive mistakes,” Warde coach Brett Conner said. “I thought they silenced our bats.”

Ridgefield starter Andrew Castelluccio kept Warde off the board in his five innings. The St. John’s commit allowed just two hits and struck out five.

Other than the one hit allowed to Daniel Bucciero, Warde starter Zach Broderick went pitch-for-pitch with Castelluccio. He went 51/3 innings and struck out 11 — eight looking.

In the seventh, Warde once again got runners on, but this time the team was able to break through on a Paddy Galvin RBI single. With a runner on third with two outs Ridgefield closer Ben Cherico shut the door with a strikeout to end the game.

PLAYER OF THE GAME

Zach Broderick, Warde: The Mustangs lefty struck out 11 batters — eight of them looking — in his start. Though he would like one pitch back, he kept the Mustangs in the game.

QUOTABLE

“Whether we are the No. 1 or the No. 2 (team), it doesn’t matter we are here to play and we’re here to beat teams.” — Ridgefield senior shortstop, Matt Bucciero.

pete.paguaga@hearstmediact.com; @PetePaguaga

RIDGEFIELD 2, WARDE 1

WARDE 000 000 1 — 1 5 2

RIDGEFIELD 002 000 X — 2 5 1

Batteries: R — Andrew Castelluccio, Ben Cherico (6) and Aidan Stern. W — Zach Broderick, Paddy Galvin (6) and Roman DiGiacomo.

2B: R — Brendan Busby. 3B: R — Daniel Bucciero

Records: Ridgefield 5-0, Fairfield Warde 6-1