RIDGEFIELD — After setting goals and falling short of their expectations for two straight seasons, the Brien McMahon baseball team decided one simple goal would be plenty for this spring.
“This year, we just said, ‘Let’s go play ball,’” Senators coach John Cross said. “We didn’t put any pressure on ourselves and it’s coming together nicely. We’re really playing as one.”
After back-to-back, seven-win seasons left McMahon on the outside of the state’s postseason in 2014 and ’15, the Senators notched their sixth win in eight games on Wednesday with a 9-2 road victory at Ridgefield.
McMahon followed its usual recipe for success, getting contributions up and down the lineup behind a solid pitching performance.
Senior right-hander Jeff Vitatoe earned the complete-game win, scattering 10 hits with just one of the two runs he gave up being earned. He struck out three and walked just one.
“Jeff went and threw strikes the whole game,” Cross said. “He just pounded the zone. We can’t ask for much more.”
After giving up an unearned run in the bottom of the first inning, McMahon took a 4-1 lead in the second inning.
Richard Clemens’ one-out double started the rally. After Hunter Dumas was hit by a pitch, the Senators got four straight singles from Anthony Giordano, Chris Giordano (2 RBIs), Griffin Root and Wady Almonte (2 RBIs).
“It’s big knowing your offense is going,” said Vitatoe. “Even if they score a run here or there, I know we’re going to keep hitting.”
McMahon added single runs in the third, fourth and fifth to keep control of the game.
The Tigers cut the lead to 5-2 when John Thrasher delivered an RBI single to score Harrison Porter, but McMahon answered when Root led off and later scored on a Tigers error to make it 6-2.
In the fifth inning, Dumas led off with a ball deep to left field.
Ridgefield outfielder AJ Fabbri tried to make a diving catch, but couldn’t come up with the ball and Dumas raced 360 feet around the bases for an inside-the-park solo home run.
“I didn’t think I could make it home. I thought I was going to fall,” Dumas said. “I was tired. I could feel I wasn’t running as fast as I was rounding second base. Once I got to home, my first instinct was to just dive. I thought he was going to call me out, but then I was like there’s no way he can call me out. That was a great slide.”
The Tigers didn’t have such glorious moments on the basepaths, however.
In the first inning a botched double steal led to a runner getting gunned down at the plate, in the third inning a Tigers hitter was thrown out at third base trying to stretch a double into a triple and in the fourth inning a double play ended a two-on, one-out threat.
“We made three base-running blunders,” Ridgefield coach Paul Fabbri said. “They’re a pretty good club at figuring out ways to win and we just didn’t play well in any aspect of the game. We didn’t have timely hitting. We didn’t pitch well enough and we didn’t field it. We shouldn’t be making those mistakes.”
The Senators have been taking advantage of a lot mistakes lately, running their record to 6-2 overall and 3-2 in FCIAC play with their third straight win.
McMahon also got production up and down the lineup as just one starter went hitless in the game.
Almonte, Socci, Giordano and Root all had two-hit games for the Senators.
“That’s the key to winning baseball: Spreading the wealth,” Cross said. “I’m pleased with how guys are grinding out at-bats. They put the ball into play. They’re proving it more and more. This team has no ego. They just want to go out and play.”
Ridgefield’s Harrison Porter led the way for the Tigers with three hits on the day, all singles. He plated the Tigers’ first run and scored their second run on Thrasher’s base hit. Thrasher also had two hits.
Michael O’Brien, who took the loss as Ridgefield, saw a three-game winning streak snapped, falling to 5-2 (2-2 FICAC).
On Friday, McMahon hosts Central while Ridgefield entertains Fairfield Warde.
MCMAHON 041 110 2—9 12 4
RIDGEFIELD 101 000 1—2 10 2