Staples pushes past Newtown with furious rally

Staples High School's Sam Ellinwood congratulates teammate Noah Yokoi during a six-run sixth inning in the Wreckers' 7-6 season-opening win over Newtown on Wednesday. (Mark Conrad/For Hearst Newspapers)

The season sure didn’t start the way Staples High had hoped.
The first five-and-a-half innings didn’t, at least.
Trailing Newtown by five runs in the sixth inning on Wednesday, Staples’ bats woke up — in a really, really big way. The Wreckers pieced together five hits, a walk and used two errors to rally for a dramatic 7-6 win.
What caused the slow start, you ask? Was it Opening Day jitters? Was it the mastery of Nighthawks right-hander Brandon Marks, who allowed just six hits — five singles — over the first five innings? If you ask Staples coach Jack McFarland, he’ll tell you that the Nighthawks were simply better.
“I think they were just out-playing us,” McFarland said. “We were catching the ball, they were catching the ball. They got a couple two-out hits. (Staples pitcher) Chris (Speer) was struggling with his command a little bit. He was about 50-50 balls and strikes.”
Staples right-hander Greg Salamone earned the save by sitting Newtown down 1-2-3. Salamone, who set a school record with six saves in 2012, overpowered the Nighthawks’ lineup, recording two strikeouts. The Wreckers’ closer, however, didn’t think he had his best stuff.
“I knew they were a good program. They really battled against us,” Salamone said. “We just got some good at-bats, some good hits, guys were getting on base. I was just thinking, ‘Let them put it in play.’ Not my best stuff, but I’m glad with what happened. A great win for the team.”