The Greenwich Legion senior baseball team grabbed the Zone 4 division crown and made a surprising run in the state tournament in 2010 largely on the strength of its offense. This season the Cannons are relying on the arms on their pitchers to lead them to another successful season.
One of those stellar arms was on display on Wednesday against Stamford at Cubeta Stadium. Andrew Van Eyck dominated for five innings and gutted his way through the final two to grab a complete-game victory. The winning run came to the plate for Stamford, but Van Eyck forced a shallow fly to center to clinch a 5-3 win for Greenwich.
"I'm confident in my pitches, so I knew I could get through that," Van Eyck said. "After the terrible sixth I had, there was no way I was going to lose this game. I wasn't going to let it happen."
Greenwich's scrappy offense manufactured two of its first three runs on a passed ball and a fielder's choice. Recent Brunswick School graduate Brendon Hardin flashed his blazing speed on two occasions for the Cannons. Hardin scored from first on a Ryan Brennan double in the third and legged out an RBI triple in the sixth.
The triple turned out to be the game-winning hit as Van Eyck began to tire in the home half of the sixth. Stamford scored three times one three hits to cut Greenwich's lead to one. Van Eyck got out of the jam, striking out Ryan Curto looking.
While the Cannons plan on riding the pitching staff to success, they showed they still have some pop in their lineup. Third baseman Kevin Collins crushed one over the left field fence, giving Greenwich an invaluable insurance run.
"We just beat a great team there in Stamford. I'm sure they're going to turn it around and we'll see them in states," Greenwich head coach Mike Abate said. "The key to this game is finding a way to get runners on and score to put good teams away."
With the victory, Greenwich (5-1) keeps pace with Norwalk in a tie for first in the Zone 4 standings . Norwalk has the tiebreaker advantage, having beaten the Cannons in the season opener. Greenwich will have a chance to take sole possession of first when it travels to Norwalk Thursday for a 5:30 p.m. game.
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