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Tuesday, March 20 Sports

Weiner adjusts nicely as Amity topples Fairfield Prep in LL

FAIRFIELD -- Looking to rebound from his last outing against Fairfield Prep, Amity pitcher Ross Weiner didn't make any mechanical adjustments for Tuesday's start against the Jesuits. Instead, he made an attitude adjustment.

Weiner danced out of some early trouble and hurled the No. 17 Spartans past the top-seeded Jesuits 9-2 in the second round of the LL state tournament on Tuesday.

"I mentally adjusted myself. I knew there was no way I was going to let them beat me," said Weiner, who scattered six hits and struck out six over six innings.

Amity (16-9) sent nine men to the plate in the fourth and exploded for five runs to knock out Prep starter Kevin Stone. Stone hit two batters, walked one and allowed four hits before John Carroll was brought in to record the final out in the fourth.

Elias Oliphant had three hits for the Spartans, including a two-out, two-run single in the fourth to make it 3-0.

Defending LL state champion Amity, which eliminated Prep last year as well, will visit No. 8 Glastonbury (18-8) in the quarterfinals on Friday.

"They were by far the more complete team today, by far the better team today," Prep coach Rudy Mauritz said. "We had some opportunities early. We didn't take advantage of them."

Prep (18-5) had the leadoff man on in each of the first three innings but failed to score. Weiner, who took the loss in Amity's 10-7 defeat to Prep on May 2, pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the first.

"They steal and they bunt," Amity coach Sal Coppola said. "You figure they're going to execute and you're going to get hurt. We're going to give up one or two. We held them. That was the game."

After stranding five over the first three innings, the Jesuits pushed across a pair of two-out runs in the fourth on a groundout and on a Simon Whiteman triple. The Jesuits were energized, but the deficit was ultimately too much to overcome.

"The way we play, it's tough to play from behind," Mauritz said, "especially that far behind. We've got to take advantage of those opportunities early."

Amity tacked on three insurance runs in the sixth, scoring on a Josh Sabitsky single and an Anthony Capozziello two-run single. The Spartans finished the game with 12 hits.

Sebastian DiMauro pitched a scoreless seventh to lift Amity to its first win in three tries against Prep this season. The Jesuits, at the same time, were left with nothing to show for an impressive regular season. They also fell short in the SCC tournament last Thursday, losing 2-1 in 12 innings to eventual champion Xavier in the semifinals.

"It hurts a lot," Mauritz said. "You put together a solid regular season -- obviously the expectations were high -- and you're looking to go deep. It's tough when it doesn't happen."

Amity lost in the SCC final on Saturday then rebounded to beat No. 16 Danbury in Monday's first round. It managed to beef up its resume at Prep's expense.

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"Our guys came ready," Coppola said.

dbonjour@ctpost.com; twitter.com/DougBonjour

Class LL second round at Fairfield Prep

AMITY 000 513 0 -- 9 12 2

FAIRFIELD PREP 000 200 0 -- 2 7 4

Records: Amity 16-9; Fairfield Prep 18-5. Batteries: A -- Ross Weiner (W), Sebastian DiMauro (7) and Gerald Ferace; FP -- Kevin Stone (L), John Carroll (4), Grant Stone (6) and Jake Berry.

Highlights: A -- Elias Oliphant went 3-for-4 with two RBIs; Anthony Capozziello had a two-run single; Matt Ronai went 2-for-4 with an RBI and scored one run. FP -- Simon Whiteman hit an RBI triple; Dean Lockery went 1-for-3 with two stolen bases; Berry went 3-for-3.