Staples baseball edged in extra innings by Wilton in battle for FCIAC title
Despite throwing over 120 pitches in the FCIAC quarterfinals Tuesday, Wilton pitcher JT Morin told his coach he wanted the ball for Friday's championship at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport.
Showing no ill effects of the long outing earlier in the week, Morin again went over 120 pitches, this time leading the Warriors to a 1-0 win over Staples in eight innings, claiming the FCIAC title.
"It was incredible to play here with all the fans behind us and the adrenaline I had was unreal. It was awesome," Morin said. "I did a ton of rehab every day and today I came out in the bullpen and I felt it and I just threw strikes and I couldn't be more proud of myself and my team."
Morin allowed only two hits, striking out 12 including all three batters in the eighth and two in the seventh.
Morin was named the Championship MVP as the Warriors claimed their first title since 1995.
"I was scared going into the day because he was on short rest and I said `give me as much as you can for as long as you can,'" Wilton coach Tim Eagen. "He said `coach I only have one chance to play for an FCIAC championship.' He was getting stronger as the game went on and it is just adrenaline after a while."
Jackson Ward delivered the big hit for Wilton, coming through with two outs in the eighth with a single to left field, scoring a sprinting James Meany from second base.
It was the second game of the day for Staples as earlier Friday afternoon, Staples defeated No. 6 Trinity Catholic in the semifinals 8-2 behind a strong pitching performance by Ryan Fitton.
Making his first varsity start on the mound, Marco Latella of Staples was Morin's equal until allowing the two singles in extra innings.
Latella has been out with an illness for a large chunk of the season, but told his coach there was no way he was missing his chance to pitch his team to a championship.
"I said `Marco are you coming back?' he said `coach since I was a freshman I've been dreaming about coming to Harbor Yard,' " Staples coach Jack McFarland said. "He lived it tonight. He soaked it up and pitched a great ball game with his big curveball. Marco is a bulldog."
The game featured several highlight-reel defensive plays by both teams as the score stayed 0-0 throughout with only one runner reaching third base before the hit by Ward.
In the end, it was the senior dominant roster of the Warriors coming up with a few more big plays in a game filled with defensive gems.
Staples' potent lineup was held in check by Morin as he pitched away from the big righty bats of the Wreckers all evening.
"I felt so good and every pitch was on tonight and I could throw it for a strike and that's what I did," Morin said. "They will crowd the plate but you just have to throw away. They are free swingers and they will try to hit the ball to left field and drive it."
In the semifinals, Staples scored five runs in the second, one in the third and two more in the sixth, rolling over Trinity to reach the nightcap.
Wilton 1, Staples 0 (8 innings)
WILTON 000 000 01--1 7 0
STAPLES 000 000 00--0 2 1
Records: W--18-5; S 16-5
Highlights: W--Morin 12 Ks, Championship MVP; Jackson Ward GW RBI single; James Meany 2-4, run. S--Latella CG; Zach Azadian hit; Mike Cusa hit.