Stamford softball routs Warde in mercy-ruled shortened affair
STAMFORD -- Based on the way the Stamford High School softball team executed its coach's wishes Wednesday morning, an immediate trip upstate to one of the casinos and a seat at the roulette table might have been profitable for Tony Esposito.
Esposito urged Shannon Stabile to drive the ball in the second inning against Fairfield Warde, and she deposited the next pitch over the rightfield fence for a two-run homer.
After allowing Gretta Buckley -- not his swiftest player -- to get thrown out stealing in the first inning, Esposito asked her in the 3rd inning for a double instead of a single so he would resist the temptation again. Buckley made sure there was no chance of temptation, smacking the Black Knights' third home run of the day.
Esposito even allowed Jordan Schepps, one of his two starting pitchers, who had the day off, to bat for the first time this year in the fifth and she lined a hard single to left.
And that point it hardly mattered. Four batters later Colleen Adams' sacrifice fly gave Stamford a 13-1 win after the game was halted due to the 12-run rule.
"It was rare that that ever happens, but it was nice to see it," Esposito said of seeing his every wish answered. "The kids were swinging well today. They were staying in the strike zone, which was big."
Stabile, Buckley and Krista Robustelli, who had Stamford's other home run, led a 13-hit attack with three apiece. Robustelli and Buckley each drove in 3 runs, while Stabile had two RBIs. Nikki Pease had two hits.
"This was good," Buckley said. "I was proud, especially of the younger girls. Everyone came out and hit. We are preparing for big weeks coming up. We've been hitting the ball good lately."
Stamford, which improved to 6-2 overall and 5-1 in conference play, displayed all the elements Esposito hopes will remain cohesive and allow his team to contend in the FCIAC race.
"We got pitching, we got fielding and we got hitting," Esposito said. "It was nice to see."
Stamford's offensive display overshadowed a sterling performance by pitcher Christina Joannou. With strong command, Joannou allowed just two hits. The run was unearned. Staying ahead of hitters, Joannou struck out eight.
"She did a great job," Esposito said. "She was changing speeds and she was hitting her spots."
The Mustangs' play was evident of the unpredictable nature of the FCIAC after two weeks. Warde (3-4, 3-3 FCIAC) has a win over Trumbull, which had just one win when it handed Westhill its first league loss on Tuesday.
"Like any team in the league you have your good days and your bad days," Warde coach Gary Quiricone said. "The bottom line is we have to hit the ball better than we did today. Whether they scored two runs or 10 runs, if we hit the ball we're in the game with them."
Robustelli, who will be a preferred walk-on at UConn, reached base all four times and even walked with the bases loaded -- depending on the situation maybe a safe albeit unconventional strategy given the way she has been hitting this year.
If the pitching and defense keeps up with the offense, the Black Knights should be able to stay on pace with their preseason hopes.
"I think he's really happy we all did well," Buckley said of Esposito. "We've got to keep it going and move on from here."
firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @DaveRuden
STAMFORD 13, FAIRFIELD WARDE 1 (5)
WARDE 001 00--1 2 3
STAMFORD 145 04--13 12 3
Records: Fairfield Warde 3-4, 3-3 FCIAC; Stamford 6-2, 5-1 FCIAC