WESTPORT -- For the Norwalk High baseball team on Tuesday, holding Staples to their second lowest scoring output of the season was of little comfort.
The Wrecker bats produced eight hits, while the tight Staples defense backed up ace David Speer's eleven-strikeout performance, limiting the Bears to four hits. Three Staples hits were good for extra bases and accounted for four runs.
At the end of the day, the score was 6-1 and the Wreckers improved to 12-1 on the season, while the Bears slipped to 7-5.
"The old saying is `Good pitching stops good hitting,'" Norwalk coach Angelo Bruno said. "We've been hitting the ball pretty well and we faced a good pitcher today.
"We had 11 strikeouts and we went down looking six times," Bruno continued. "He [Speer] can throw any pitch any time during the count for a strike and there's the difference, you know. He does that probably better than anyone we've faced in the FCIAC and it's tough."
Norwalk center fielder Spencer Jacoby challenged Speer early, belting a one-out double in the first inning. Speer responded by striking out Nick Millman on a full count, then persuading Kevin Danielle to ground out.
The Bears continued to get the bat on the ball, twice flying out to center field in the second inning and in the third, advancing Doug Weeks after a one-out single to second on Chris Kassimis' perfect sacrifice bunt.
But two men left on second would be the extent of the Norwalk offense for the first five innings, limited by outstanding defensive play by the Wreckers. In the fourth, Danielle slammed a one-out line drive to right center, a sure double at least, but Staples center fielder Ben Lipper made a sliding, diving catch to end the rally before it began.
"If that goes into the gap, we've got at least two bases and he's laid out on the grass," said Bruno. "And it gives you another chance to hit and who knows? We've got some good hitters coming up behind him. The kid made the play, definitely a great catch."
On the defensive end, success was equally elusive for the Bears.
A second-inning fielder's choice, a single, and a wild pitch put a Staples runner on third base and he scored on a Norwalk infield error.
In the fourth, Wrecker Colin McCarthy followed Tyler Jacobs' one-out single with a solid double, stretching the Wrecker lead to 3-1.
In the bottom of the sixth, the first three Wreckers hit singles. One run had scored when McCarthy's second double drove in the fifth and sixth Staples runs.
Norwalk's only run came in the top of the sixth. Doug Weeks led off with a single, took second on a wild pitch as Speer struck out the next two Bears, then scored on Staples' only error of the day. Speer ended the rally by striking out the final Norwalk batter.
Despite a disappointing day, Norwalk is still 7-3 in the conference and in a three-way tie for the sixth spot in the FCIAC tournament. Bruno stayed optimistic, risking a look forward to the post-season.
"I think we'll get the pitching," said Bruno. "The hitting, I think, will be all right. I think we'll continue to improve and we'll take our chances. We just have to get to the playoffs and play well for three games."