Staples baseball reaches Class LL Championships

Photo by WestportNow

Photo by WestportNow

Talia Hendel, Web Managing Editor

Game 1—Wednesday—1st round
(4) Staples vs. (29) Hamden Dragons

After a slow start, the Wreckers drove in seven runs in their 7-1 win over Hamden on June 3rd. On a hard grounder to short-stop, Hamden scored their first and only run. Then, the Staples offense exploded. Nathan Panzer ‘16 crushed a triple off the fence in center field. Ben Casparius ‘17 brought in two runs with a slam over the left field wall. Zack Azadian ‘15 belted a hit just inside of the fence that resulted in a double. A single to the third base line by Eric Hawes ‘15 allowed Azadian to come home. Hawes continued to be successful, bringing Ross Poulley ‘15 and Azadian home on a double in the fourth inning and came into score after a wild pitch. Marco Latella ‘15 brought in two runs with a slam to right field. The Wreckers domination didn’t stop there, as they continued to make impressive defensive plays inning after inning. Casparius finished with a complete game, seven strikeouts, and allowed just four hits. In the sixth inning, Latella had an impressive diving catch and threw out the runner at first base. The Wreckers ended strong with a double play, starting with a catch from Casparius to Latella at second base and finally with Poulley at first to end the game.

Staples didn’t let up as they entered their second round game vs. South Windsor the next day.

Game 2—Thursday—2nd round
(4) Staples vs. (13) South Windsor Bobcats

The Wreckers were back in action on Thursday afternoon as the 13 seed South Windsor visited Staples field. Ryan Fitton ‘17 was on the mound for Staples—he gave up four hits, threw a complete game and led his team to a 7-0 victory. On offense, the Wreckers were led by Nathan Panzer ‘16, who tallied three of the team’s 11 hits and added a run scored. In addition, Ben Casparius ‘17 blasted a three-run home run over the right field wall.

That set up a quarterfinal matchup against 21 seeded and rival Greenwich, who were coming off an upset victory over number five Darien.

Game 3—Friday—Quarterfinal
(4) Staples vs. (13) Greenwich

On June 5, Staples persevered once again and overpowered rival Greenwich in an eight to five comeback win. An explosive offense led by Noah Yokoi ‘16 and Nathan Panzer ‘16 (who brought in three runs each) was key for the Wreckers’ 8-5 win over the Cardinals. After going into the bottom of the first inning with a 3-0 deficit, the Wreckers persevered. Panzer started the run with a slam over the wall in left field, giving Staples their first run of the game. Staples Coach Jack McFarland said patience was key in overcoming the 3-0 lead that Greenwich had. After six walks in the second inning, Staples took control with a 4-3 lead. In the fourth inning, the Cardinals battled back to take the lead. Staples remained calm and got the job done on the defensive end. Panzer made a big play, grabbing a strong hit to center field in the sixth inning.

This strong win led Staples to the Semifinal on Tuesday, June 9 against Norwalk, the final factor in whether they would be playing for the State title.

Game 4-Norwalk
(4) Staples vs. (8) Norwalk

The Wreckers shutout the Bears 11-0 to reach their first state final since 2001. Eric Hawes ‘15 started it off in the second inning with a strong hit to right field allowing a runner to come home. Staples continued had a strong offensive game, including a homerun by Nathan Panzer ‘16, a three-run triple by Ross Poulley ‘15, and an RBI double by Marco Latella ‘15. In the fourth inning, the Wreckers’ offense exploded, beginning with Panzer hitting an infield single to load the bases, followed by a hit to left field by Ben Casparius ‘17 which allowed Sean Clarke ‘15 to score. The Wreckers matched their strong offensive game on the defensive end, allowing only one hit which occurred in the first inning.

The Bears allowed 11 walks, and the combination of walks and Staples’ explosive hitting allowed for the high scoring total.

Staples will head to Middletown for the Class LL championship game against Amity.