Baseball: Griffin Smiarowski tosses gem as Smith Academy blanks Granby, 1-0 (PHOTOS)

By KYLE GRABOWSKI

Staff Writer

Published: 05-03-2023 8:49 PM

GRANBY – Smith Academy starter Griffin Smiarowski stared down Granby hitters unflinchingly for seven innings. He struck out seven and didn’t walk any in a four-hit shutout Wednesday, as the Falcons capitalized on one Granby mistake in a 1-0 win.

“I'll take him any game against anybody,” Smith Academy coach Mike Afflitto said. “He's just composed. He's somebody who works at it, and he's just our guy.”

Smiarowski threw 61 strikes in 87 pitches. He authored four 1-2-3 innings and at one point sat down nine batters in a row.

“We came in with a good game plan. Him and (catcher) Ryan Belina had a great combo of working through the batters. We've seen this Granby team the last couple years, so we have a little bit of an idea of what they like to do, how they like to approach at bats, and he mixed really well,” Afflitto said. “When you don't walk anybody and don't give anyone free runs except for the hit by pitch right at the end, it makes it a lot easier for the defense to make plays when the bases are clean for the most part.”

He also brought the game’s only run in by putting the ball in play in the top of the sixth inning. Leadoff hitter Logan Graves laced a single down the third base line to lead off the inning then stole second. After a pop out, Smiarowski hit a grounder to the shortstop. The throw to first base sailed high and brought Graves home.

“When it gets to a point like that in the game, you're trying to just put the ball in play, make them make the play, and it worked out for us,” Smiarowski said. “The bounce went our way.”

The Falcons (5-5) capitalized on one of the few opportunities they created. Smith Academy only managed three hits against Granby starter Daniel Gauvin, who had six strikeouts and one walk.

Belina doubled to open the fourth inning then went to third on a ground out. After a pop out attempting to lay down a bunt, a strikeout ended the inning. Smiarowski’s single in the first was the Falcons’ other hit.

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“We're still trying to get our bats where we want them to be. We noticed early on the game trend was gonna be very much who was gonna get that first one and then who could just shut the door with the pitching and the defense,” Afflitto said. “It was just one of those games where the first team to score was gonna be the team that was going to win.”

Granby’s best chance to take the lead came in the fourth after Gauvin launched a double over the outfielders heads then stole third. Two strikeouts and a ground out ended the inning.

“It's been like that all year. You can't steal first base,” Granby coach Jim Woods said. “You can't play from behind all the time and hope for the best.”

The Rams put two on in the bottom of the seventh after Josh Chateauneuf singled and Nikolas Misiaszek wore a pitch on his elbow. He needed to be replaced by a pinch runner after holding the elbow in pain. Granby tried twice to lay down sacrifice bunts before Patrick French moved the runners over, putting them on second and third with two outs. Woods sent in pinch hitter Spencer Labonte, and Smiarowski cut him down to end the game.

“It’s a tough position for a pinch hitter to come in late, but I wanted to see something different in that situation from that hitter,” Woods said.

Kyle Grabowski can be reached at kgrabowski@gazettenet.com. Follow him on Twitter @kylegrbwsk.]]>