Ludlowe baseball tops McMahon
The Fairfield Ludlowe baseball team sure didn't look like a 1-6 team versus McMahon on Wednesday.
The Falcons opened the game with three straight extra-base hits -- among six for the afternoon -- on its way to a 6-3 victory over the Senators.
"I think we just attacked the baseball today," said senior third baseman Mike Kochiss, who had two doubles and two runs batted in. "We had good at-bats today, we drove the ball, and we scored some runs, and that's what we need to do to wins games, and we haven't been doing that so far."
It was the first time Ludlowe scored more than five runs in a game all season. The Falcons had 11 hits overall and probably should have scored more than six runs against McMahon, leaving six runners on base.
"This was our best effort offensively all year," Ludlowe coach Keith O'Rourke said.
Ludlowe raised its record to 2-6 while McMahon fell to 4-4.
Ludlowe had suffered consecutive one-run losses to Greenwich and Bridgeport Central. In those games, the Falcons' pitching and defense had kept them in contention, but the bats didn't come through. Against McMahon, the bats were ready right off the bus.
"The story for us so far has been lack of offensive production," O'Rourke said.
The Falcons jumped on McMahon sophomore pitcher Paul Salata in the top of the first inning. Left fielder Michael Arman led off with a triple. Senior Tommy Howell followed with a double to score Arman, and Kochiss followed with his own two-bagger to bring around Howell to make it 2-0.
After a groundball error by McMahon at third base, Ludlowe shortstop Vic D'Ascenzo drew a walk. One out later, Salata avoided further damage when he induced an inning-ending double play.
Salata temporarily helped his own cause in the bottom of the second inning when he followed an RJ Serrano single with a single of his own. But Salata was picked off by Ludlowe catcher Billy Moeder to end the inning.
"We're making some mental mistakes that have really been hurting us the last couple of days," Cross said. "Getting picked off at first base, we're missing signs. It's not the physical, it's the mental. We're in every single game and once we clean it up we'll be better off."
Ludlowe made it 3-0 in the top of the third when Moeder hit a bloop single to right to score D'Ascenzo. McMahon responded in the bottom half of the inning, scoring its first run in atypical fashion.
Center fielder Andrew Seiden was hit by a pitch by Ludlowe starter Pat Gutierrez. One out later, shortstop Mark Ballard hit into a tailor-made double play ball to D'Ascenzo at shortstop, but Ludlowe second baseman Thomas Ryan dropped the lead throw and runners were now at first and third.
McMahon right fielder Andrew Pace followed with a perfectly executed suicide squeeze and the Senators had their first run of the game.
The momentum quickly shifted back to Ludlowe, as the Falcons answered with two more runs in the top of the fifth inning.
Howell was hit by a pitch by Salata and Kochiss followed with his second double of the game to make it 4-1. One out later, D'Ascenzo found the gap for a double to bring around Kochiss and make it 5-1. That ended the afternoon for the lefty Salata. McMahon reliever Alex Valenzano was greeted by a double from Moeder, which scored D'Ascenzo to make it 6-1. After that, Valenzano settled down and didn't allow another hit for the rest of the game. But the damage was done.
"We thought Paul would have fared a little bit better," McMahon coach John Cross said. "We haven't seen Ludlowe all year, but we know they've played some really good teams early on. They're one of the better teams I've seen so far."
McMahon chipped away with single runs in the fifth and sixth innings, and brought the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the sixth. But Ludlowe reliever Andrew Salveson -- facing his lone batter of the game -- struck out McMahon shortstop Mark Ballard to end the rally.
Ludlowe's well-rounded effort gave hope to its coach.
"The good news is that I know that our guys are much better than they've performed. The bad news is that a high school season is so fast that we've dug ourselves into a hole. But it's nothing that I haven't seen other teams overcome."
Ludlowe 6, McMahon 3
LUDLOWE 201 300 0--6 11 2
MCMAHON 001 011 0-- 3 9 2
Records: Ludlowe 2-6, McMahon 4-4
Batteries: L--Pat Gutierrez, Andrew Salveson (6), Vic D'Ascenzo (7) and Billy Moeder; M--Paul Salata, Alex Valenzano (4) and Mike Giordano. Triples: L-- Michael Arman. Doubles: L--Mike Kochiss 2, Vic D'Ascenzo, Tommy Howell.