Wilton Legion 19U team bows out of state tourney

Brendan Skewis slides to make a catch during Wilton’s 1-0 regular-season win over Ridgefield last week. — Scott Mullin photo

Brendan Skewis slides to make a catch during Wilton’s 1-0 regular-season win over Ridgefield last week. — Scott Mullin photo

 

The Wilton Post 86 American Legion 19U baseball team had its season end with a 5-2 loss to Waterbury in a state tournament game Tuesday night at Wilton High School.

It was Wilton’s second loss to Waterbury in the double-elimination format, following a 13-2 setback in the state tourney opener Saturday.

After that first loss to Waterbury, Post 86 stayed alive temporarily with a 4-0 road win over Stratford on Sunday.

In Tuesday night’s elimination game, Waterbury scored four of its five runs in the top of the first inning to take a quick 4-0 lead. Only two of those runs were earned.

Wilton got one run back in the bottom of the third on Cole Judelson’s RBI single to close within 4-1. Chris Tienken then added a run-scoring double in the bottom of the fifth to make it 4-2.

But Waterbury added an insurance run in the top of the sixth to increase its lead to 5-2.

Down to its final at-bat, Wilton had two runners on base with one out in the bottom of the seventh. But Waterbury got a line out and a groundout to end the game.

Ryan Gabriele pitched a complete game for Wilton, allowing five runs (three earned) on six hits. Gabriele walked two batters and struck out six.

Kahal and Judelson each had two hits for Post 86, which ended the season with a 19-8 record. Scott Lyon, Brendan Skewis, Andrew Weinbrum, and Tienken added one hit apiece for Wilton.

Wilton had set up a second game against Waterbury by beating Stratford, 4-0, on Saturday.

With Wilton’s field unplayable due to rain, Post 86 had to travel to Penders Field in Stratford. Wilton found the turf field to its liking, and Weinbrum was comfortable on the mound as he threw a complete-game, four-hit shutout.

Post 86 drew first blood as Henry Strmecki led off the game with an infield hit and later scored on a bases-loaded walk to Lyon. The 86ers added two more runs in the fourth, as Strmecki tripled home Skewis and then scored himself when Kahal’s infield pop got dropped for an error.

Wilton added its final run in the fifth. A one-out base hit by Gabriele and Tienken’s ground ball to the right side set the stage for Skewis, who delivered a pop fly single to left to make it 4-0.

In Saturday’s state tourney opener at Wilton High, Waterbury Post 1 arrived with bats as hot as the blazing afternoon sun.

It took Waterbury an inning to get started as Skewis set down Post 1’s first three batters in order in the opening inning. After that it was offensive fireworks as Waterbury leveled a 17-hit broadside that resulted in a 13-2 beatdown for Wilton.

The visitors scored the game’s first two runs in the top of the second as five straight runners reached base via four singles and a walk. Two runs scored and only two fine plays by Skewis checked a runaway rally.

Post 86 matched those runs in the bottom of the inning. One-out hits by Lyon and Gabriele and an infield throwing error scored Lyon, and Gabriele then crossed the plate with the second run as Tienken got thrown out attempting to steal second.

Waterbury picked up an error-tainted run in the third, three earned runs in the fourth — highlighted by Adrian Velez’s two-run triple — and two runs in the sixth — sparked by another RBI triple from Velez.

Ben Olson came in to pitch for Post 86 in the seventh. He looked to be on the verge of a scoreless inning after two outs with a pair of runners on base. What followed, however, was an even more severe repeat of the second inning. This time six straight Waterbury batters reached base on four straight singles, a walk, and another single. Aided by some untimely Wilton fielding gaffes, Waterbury added five runs to close out its 13-2 triumph.

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