Brown's pitching clutch in Ludlowe's FCIAC win over Greenwich
In four years, Fairfield Ludlowe senior pitcher Taylor Brown has been through a lot.
Brown only pitched an inning in 2009 and allowed one run in his lone appearance a year ago.
However, playing the role of reliever has paid off for the senior righty. Brown pitched 4 2/3 of effective relief to earn the victory in Ludlowe's 7-4 win over Greenwich in the FCIAC Championship on Thursday night at the Ballpark at Harbor Yard.
The Falcons pitcher entered the 2010 season with reason to doubt himself. Brown found out that he would not be a starter in the Falcons' rotation this year, a decision made possible by Ludlowe's depth of pitching.
"At the beginning of the year I was told that I really wouldn't matter too much in the season," he said. "I've worked really hard."
But, Brown has been solid all year. In 23 1/3 innings, he's earned two wins and two saves for Ludlowe, and he has been one of Ludlowe Head Coach Keith O'Rourke's first options out of the bullpen.
The senior reliever was the first option on Thursday night after Kevin Lambert struggled with his control. O'Rourke had other options against Greenwich, but trusted the senior righty to throw strikes and get the Cardinals' hitters out.
"I needed somebody to be getting ahead," he said. "My instinct told me it was the time to make a change and I think it was the right move."
Brown entered the game in a difficult position, with runners on first and second and only one out. Ludlowe's lead was 6-1, but with Greenwich's offense, the lead was not safe.
Brown struck out Casey Gaynor and got out of the inning when Brian Hoff popped out to left field. Brown also managed to do what no other pitcher in the FCIAC tournament was able to, retire Greenwich's star shortstop Mike Dunster, twice.
"You've got to keep your composure," he said. "In the beginning of the year, I'd get flustered."
Brown appeared poised and confident on the hill on Thursday, which is something that he has worked on. Brown has "Confidence" written on the bill of his cap as a reminder that, if he is feeling good about himself, he is difficult to be beaten.
"I didn't have any confidence in the state tournament last year," Brown said. "As long as I have confidence I can be a good pitcher."
He has earned the confidence of his teammates behind him, too. Brown has a 2.99 ERA thus far this year, allowing just 10 earned runs in his 14 appearances in 2010.
"He's been clutch all year," Ludlowe right fielder Tom Nagy said. "He's been one of the best pitchers on our team this year."
Pitching in relief has been a new and rewarding experience for Brown.
"It's different but it's enjoyable," he said. "You're coming in in tough spots and you've got to pick up the starters."
For Brown, as a senior, winning the FCIAC can't be topped.
"It's absolutely amazing," he said.