Walk-off heroics lead Fermi past Enfield, 9-8
By Colin Rajala - Staff Writer
Enfield - posted Wed., Apr. 11, 2012
In only his second varsity game, freshman Jeff Kraucunas gave the Fermi Falcons (1-1) the spark they needed to beat cross-town rival Enfield (3-1). Kraucunas' fourth hit of the afternoon was a double to deep left field, scoring Chaz Millett from first for the 9-8 walk-off victory Saturday, April 7.
“It was my first time coaching against these guys, and I had a feeling it’d be a lot closer than an 8-3 game,” said Connell Clark, Fermi head coach. “It was the most exciting win I’ve had here.”
Kraucunas' last-inning heroics helped him earn the victory, as well, coming on in relief in the top of the seventh to induce an inning-ending double play, albeit unusual. Enfield in their final at-bat trailed 8-3 but roughed up Charlie Smith to tie the game.
Kraucunas came in with runners at first and second when Avery Boissy hit a high pop-up in front of home plate, being ruled out automatically under the infield fly rule. The pop-up landed in between catcher Dan Brunetti and Kraucunas, but pinch runner Matt Boulette drifted away from second base and was tagged out in a rundown.
“Kraucunas didn’t have a hit in our first game, but sometimes all it takes is the first hit to get the confidence going,” Clark said.
“It feels great,” Kraucunas said. “There’s more to come.”
Fermi’s offense was led by senior captain Chaz Millett with a two-run homerun, a triple and three runs scored.
Alex Zachary pitched a strong game for the Falcons, giving up two earned runs, allowing just three hits and striking out nine batters in six innings of work.
“Unfortunately I couldn’t put out Zachary in the seventh,” Clark said. “He ran up his pitch count [125 pitches].”
Enfield struck first in the game, scoring a run off of Zachary in the second inning. Senior captain John Cerrato led off the inning with a stand-up triple and scored on a Tyler Griffith two-out single.
The Falcons answered in the bottom half of the inning with a lead-off double by Kraucunas and a single by Chris Latorra, putting runners at second and third with no outs. Dave Tucker doubled to left field, giving Fermi the 2-1 advantage. Tony Romano got himself out of the jam by striking out the next three batters.
Enfield would answer in the third, tying the game when Avery Boissy scored on an infield grounder by Justin Thomas. Fermi answered again with a sacrifice fly by Dan Brunetti and an RBI single by Kraucunas, to put Fermi up 4-2. Enfield got one back in the fourth after Sal Spadaro, walked, stole second, advanced to third and then scored on an errant pickoff throw.
Millett added to the Falcon lead in the fifth with his homer. Fermi tacked on two more the next inning on a single by Tim Kertanis and Zachary’s solo homer.
To start the seventh, Zachary was relieved by Smith, but Enfield refused to go down quietly. Cerrato hit an RBI double, Romano blooped an RBI single to left and Griffith walked with the bases loaded to make it 8-6. Enfield received contribution from their freshman as well when Kyle Lumbert was called up from the junior varsity game to pinch hit. Lumbert hit a single to left to tie the game. At this point Kraucunas came in relief and got out of the inning with the infield fly.
“I was proud of how my kids battled back in the seventh,” said Jay Gaucher, Enfield head coach.
In the seventh, Gaucher sent in pitcher Justin Thomas to extend the game, but Thomas hit the lead-off man, Millett, and surrendered the walk-off hit to Kraucunas.
“If you’re in the zone hitting [Kraucunas was 4-4 on the day], you can hit anyone,” Millett said.
“A lot of credit has to go to Fermi,” Gaucher said. “They swung the bats aggressively.”