Trumbull Post 141 and Wilton Post 86 collected seven hits each when the American Legion Zone IV rivals met on Friday night, but it was host Trumbull getting the extra base runners it needed to win a 7-1 decision.
Coach Jack McFarland’s squad (7-5) will visit Wilton Sunday at 2 p.m. and then open a set with first-place Stamford (14-1) Tuesday night at Cubeta Stadium.
Jack Lynch was 4-for-4 at the plate with an RBI. Vin DeRubeis, Tim Lojko and Evan Warner had the other singles.
Winning pitcher Andrew Lojko, Peter Autuori and Brandon Buda each drove in runs the hard way — after getting hit by pitches.
Danny Ruchalski, DeRubeis and Andrew Lojko, who twice was hit by pitches, each drew walks to bring home runs.
Wilton, led by coach Ian Thoesan, had shut out five foes in opening the season with a 10-4 record. They’d allowed two rivals only one run and two more only a pair.
Ryan Orefice got the start for Post 86 and struck out the first batter he faced. After giving up a single and a walk, Thoesan asked from the bench, “You okay?” When Orefice simply shrugged his shoulders, Thoesan went out and got the baseball. The right-handed Orefice had felt something give in his rib area and the Wilton manager didn’t hesitate to pull him.
Ben Olson came in with the bases loaded and was given all the time he needed to warm up. He took the count to 3-2 on the next three batters, but walked Ruchalski and hit Andrew Lojko and Autuori.
Jack Forgione fielded Tim Lojko’s chopper up the first base line and fired home to get the force out, with Jack DiNanno making the play despite getting clipped on the heel.
Buda was hit by an 0-2 pitch to make it 3-0, before Olson got the next batter looking to leave the bases loaded.
Wilton had threatened in the top of the first on base hits by Collin Kahal and DiNanno, but Andrew Lojko got Cole Judelson on a hard liner to center and Ryan Gabriele on a fly ball to right field. Lojko then retired Post 86 in order in the second.
Trumbull loaded the bases in its half of the second, but Olson got a fine play by Forgione on a foul ball, Brendan Skewis on DeRubeis’ smash to the fence in left and then notched another strike out.
Jackson had a great at bat to key Wilton’s run-scoring rally in the third.
Andrew Weinbrum and Kahal had opened the frame with singles.
Scott Lyon then put down a great sacrifice bunt up the third base line. Andrew Lojko made a spinning throw to nip Lyon by a half step at first, but Post 86 had two runners in scoring position.
DiNanno bounced back to the mound, and Trumbull catcher Rob Goldsmith took the throw and erased Weinbrum in a run down.
Judelson then fouled off a pair of tough two-strike pitches, before he poked an RBI single into no man’s land behind second base. Lojko caught an infield pop to end the rally.
Otto Stenzler came in to pitch for Wilton in the third.
He allowed consecutive singles by Lynch and DeRubeis to open the fifth, but the righty got pop outs to DeNanno and Lyon at second base before Gabriele made an outstanding catch in right field to keep the score at 3-1.
Trumbull took advantage of five walks in the fifth inning, along with an inning-opening single by Tim Lojko and an RBI hit by Lynch, to open the game up to 7-1.
Will Holmquist came in to try and halt the rally. Chris Tienken ended the inning with a strikeout and a comebacker.
Judelson’s hit opened the sixth and Weinbrum doubled off relief pitcher Ben Fero in the seventh, but neither could advance a base.
After hosting Trumbull, Post 86 will take on visiting Bridgeport Tuesday at 5:45.