Wallingford hits its way past Shelton American into Section 2 finals
NAUGATUCK — The hits started right away for Wallingford’s Majors Little League team Thursday night at Peter J. Foley Field, a good piece of hitting starting off with four hits in the first six batters.
The hits stopped maybe a little sooner than manager Brian Mitchell might have liked, but it was OK: The defense and pitching finished off a 7-1 win over Shelton American, clinching a spot in the Section 2 final.
“We’re playing well. That’s all I can really say. We had really good defense last night (in Wednesday’s 8-0 win over Avon), and tonight, we were even better,” Mitchell said.
“We have some talented fielders. They came to play. They take pride in playing their positions.”
They were flawless in the field as Kevin Milewski and Jack Pesta held Shelton American to four hits, one of them a Nicolas Piscioniere home run in the fourth.
Wallingford had hit two homers in the first inning, Milewski’s three-run shot to left and a solo Jacob Morrison homer next to the scoreboard in center.
“We didn’t expect anything different” than big hits from Wallingford, Shelton American manager John Larkins said. “But it’s also true about us making sure that when they hit the ball, we make the plays we’ve got to make.
“You can’t do that kind of stuff against Wallingford. They’re well coached. They’ve got a lot of tools. Giving them extra chances is not something you can afford to do.”
A hit, a walk and a couple of two-out errors in the top of the second gave Wallingford a couple of runs, turning a four-run lead into a six-run game. Had Shelton American center fielder Michael Spadaccino not made a pretty diving catch for the second out, Wallingford might’ve scored more.
But it had enough, and with two wins in the three-team round robin, it secured its spot in the sectional final at Foley, That game is set for 5 p.m. on Saturday, though weather may play with the schedule.
The winner of Friday’s Shelton American-Avon game, set for 7 p.m. at Foley, will get another crack at Wallingford.
“I know (Shelton’s players) have the fortitude to be able to fight back,” Larkins said. “We’ve got to take care of Avon. ... I’ve got to get the kids ready to refocus. I don’t think Avon played their best showing last night.”
The four-team state final begins Wednesday in East Lyme.
Owen Rich led off Thursday’s game with an opposite-field single to left on an 0-2 pitch. Kyle Mitchell followed with a single to left on an 0-1.
The next batter, Tyler Casey, flied deep to right, but Ayden Sepkaski ran it down. Milewski’s blast on a 1-2 pitch put Wallingford up for good.
“We’ve been kind of getting on teams early, and it’s helped our confidence, I think. We get Owen on, Kyle on and just go,” Brian Mitchell said. “They’re on base a lot. Then we get the big boys.”
“It’s two sets of kids fighting for another day on a Little League diamond, trying to extend their dreams. I’m sure (Avon is) a great group of people, a great group of kids, but why not us? I want to see our kids have a chance to come back against Wallingford on Saturday.” —Shelton American manager John Larkins
WALLINGFORD 7, SHELTON AMERICAN 1
WALLINGFORD420 010—7 7 0
SHELTON AMERICAN000 100—1 4 3
Records: Wallingford 2-0; Shelton American 0-1. Batteries: W—Kevin Milewski, Jack Pesta (3, W) and Kyle Stolting; SA—Nicolas Piscioniere (L), Gael Quiroga (2), Austin Leifer (4), Ayden Sepkaski (5), Paden Larkins (6) and Larkins, Piscioniere (3). Home runs: W—Milewski, Jacob Morrison; SA—Piscioniere.