Danbury Westerners Win Opener In Dramatic Fashion
Bottom of the ninth, one out, runners on first and second and your team is down by two- and did I mention it's opening night?
The pressure could not have been higher on Matt Zaffino, the backup left fielder who had been substituted in just an inning and a half ago. To make matters worse, Zaffino had just made a costly mistake in the outfield; he misplayed a ground ball that allowed an extra run to come in. Now was his chance to set the record straight. But how did the Westerners get here?
Eli Olephant, a pitcher in his third year with the organization, loaded the bases in the first inning. He hit one batter, gave up a single, and walked a third, only to have them all come in as Ocean State's Dillion Morton drove a pitch over the centerfield fence. After that road bump, Olephant threw his usual game, sitting down seven batters in 5 2/3 innings of work.
The Westerners battled back; Justin Jordan stole home in the bottom of the first, and Nicholas Lorusso smashed a two-run homer in the sixth, but the home team was still down 4-3 going into the ninth.
The ninth frame held a bit more trouble, an error in left field added one more to the Wave's score, and now it was the Westerner's last chance. The first batter went down swinging, but they still managed to get runners on with a single and a walk. Enter Matt Zaffino. Zaffino took ball one, then watched strike one go by. After that, all it took was one swing to end the game, the next pitch was sent out of the ballpark and into the next zip code. Matt spoke after the game, saying that he wasn't looking to hit a home run- but he was really happy he was able to end the game that way
Relief pitcher Brian Rodriguez collected the first win of the season for Danbury, and Corey Sawyer of Ocean State was saddled with the loss.
The Westerners will play at home on Friday against the New Bedford Baysox, then travel up north for the weekend to square off versus the Upper Valley Nighthawks and Vermont Mountaineers on Saturday and Sunday.