American Legion baseball: Dominating pitching powers Post 86 to 7-2 start
A year ago, the Wilton Post 86 American Legion senior baseball team lost its first 11 games and never fully was able to climb out of that hole.
So far, the start of the 2018 season couldn't be more different.
Post 86 improved to 7-2 on Thursday with a 10-0 win over Fairfield. It was its ninth game in 10 days to open the season.
This year’s team returns eight players, all from Wilton, in Collin Kahal, Jack DiNanno, Ryan Gabriele, Brendan Skewis, Cole Judelson, Otto Stenzler, Chris Tienken and Jack Forgione. It also is bolstered by the return of 2017 Wilton High graduate Henry Strmecki, who was injured last summer.
There are eight newcomers — Max English, Will Holmquist, Dom Romeo, Andrew Travers and Ben Olson from Wilton, and Scott Lyon, Ryan Orefice and Andrew Weinbrum from Weston.
Weinbrum threw a no-hitter in Thursday's win, continuing the team's incredible pitching over the first nine gamse.
Post 86 hurlers — Orefice, Skewis, Weinbrum, Kahal, Olson, Gabriele, Holmquist and Stenzler — have allowed only six earned runs in nine games, covering 63 innings, an earned run average (for seven innings) of 0.66.
Wilton led 2-0 after four but blew things open with four runs in the bottom of the fifth and four more in the sixth.
Kahal led the offense, going 3-for-4 with a double and two runs scored. DiNanno was 2-for-3 with a double, two RBIs and two runs, Lyon was 2-for-3 with a walk, RBI and run, and Skewis went 2-for-2 with a walk and three runs scored.
Judelson doubled and had an RBI and run, and Olson was 1-for-3 with a run scored.
Post 86 8, Fairfield 1
On Wednesday, Post 86 scored an 8-1 win over Fairfield behind a solid effort from Gabriele, who went six innings and allowed two runs (both unearned) on two hits, with eight strikeouts. Holmquist threw the final innings, allowing one run on two hits, with two strikeouts.
Wilton took command early with six runs in the second inning, on seven hits and two walks.
Tienken was 4-for-4 with a walk, RBI and run. Kahal went 2-for-4 with two doubles, a walk, RBI and two runs, and DiNanno was 2-for-3 with two walks and one RBI. Strmecki went 2-for-3 with a double, walk and two runs scored.
Getting one hit each were Judelson (single, 2 RBIs, run), Lyon (single, two walks, RBI), Skewis (single, walk, run) and Romeo (single, RBI, run). Forgione had an RBI.
Post 86 4, Fairfield 1
On Tuesday, Post 86 opened the series with a 4-1 win over Fairfield. Skewis (2-0) threw a complete-game two-hitter for the win. He allowed one run (unearned) and struck out six.
Tienken led the offense, going 2-for-3 with an RBI and run scored. Getting one hit each were Romeo (two runs), Forgione (run) and Travers (RBI). Kahal, Judelson and Travers each had a walk.
Post 86 3, Greenwich 2
In Monday’s 3-2 win at Greenwich, it was Orefice and Weinbrum who stood out, as they combined for a five-hitter.
Orefice got the start and went five and two-thirds innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on five hits and two walks, while striking out 10.
Weinbrum got the win in relief, pitching two and one-thirds innings, retiring all seven batters he faced, with four strikeouts.
Wilton scored the go-ahead run in the top of the eighth when Holmquist singled with two outs. Pinch runner Stenzler stole second and went to third on a passed ball, before scoring on English’s RBI single.
Greenwich led 2-0 after four innings. Post 86 scored twice in the top of the fifth to tie the game. Tienken got things started with a walk, followed by a single by Kahal. Strmecki’s RBI single plated Tienken, and Kahal scored on an error on a grounder by DiNanno.
Strmecki, Kahal, Holmquist, Lyon and English each had a hit for Wilton. Strmecki, DiNanno, Lyon, Skewis, Forgione and Tienken each had a walk.
Greenwich 3, Post 86 1
Wilton suffered its first loss last Saturday, as Greenwich scored a pair of unearned runs in the top of the eighth to score a 3-1 win in Wilton in the first game of a doubleheader at the Wilton High varsity field.
Olson went five innings and allowed one run on one hit and five walks, with three strikeouts. Kahal pitched three innings, allowing two runs (both unearned) on three hits and one walk, while striking out four.
Gabriele was 2-for-3 with an RBI and Tienken went 1-for-3. Forgione had a walk and Strmecki scored a run.
Greenwich 3, Post 86 1
In Saturday’s second game, Greenwich again prevailed by a score of 3-1. Greenwich broke a 1-1 tie with two in the bottom of the fifth.
Stenzler pitched a solid game, going six innings and allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits and two walks.
Strmecki, DiNanno and Forgione each had a hit for Wilton, while Skewis walked twice and Romeo had one walk.
Post 86, 2, Westport 1
Wilton had opened the season on June 5 with a 2-1 win over Westport in Wilton. Orefice got the win, going six and one-third innings and allowing one run on three hits and two walks. He struck out 10. Strmecki closed things out with two-thirds of an inning, allowing only a walk.
Westport scored in the top of the second to take a 1-0 lead, but Wilton answered in the fourth when Kahal walked and scored on DiNanno’s triple.
The winning run came in the fifth as Holmquist singled, advanced on Strmecki’s single, and scored on Kahal’s ground-out.
Gabriele led the hitting, going 2-for-3. Getting one hit each were Strmecki (1-for-3), DiNanno (1-for-2, triple, walk, RBI), Judelson (1-for-3) and Holmquist (1-for-1, run). Kahal walked, scored and had an RBI.
Post 86 2, Westport 0
The following day in Westport, Skewis threw complete-game three-hit shutout in Wilton’s 2-0 win. He walked one and struck out six.
All the scoring came in the top of fourth, as Judelson and Gabriele singled and eventually scored on Lyon’s single.
Judelson finished the day going 2-for-3 with a run scored. Lyon was 1-for-3 with two RBIs and Gabriele was 1-for-3 with a run scored. Ben Olson went 1-for-1 and DiNanno walked.
Post 86 4, Westport 0
On June 7, Weinbrum hurled a complete-game, three-hit shutout as Wilton beat Westport 4-0 in Wilton. Weinbrum struck out eight and walked two.
Wilton took the lead with a two-out rally in the bottom of the first. Kahal walked and Judelson reached on error, followed by RBI singles by Holmquist and Lyon.
Two more runs came home in the sixth. Holmquist doubled and Romeo walked, with Holmquist scoring on a wild pitch and Romeo crossing the plate in an RBI single by Travers.
Getting two hits were Holmquist (2-for-3, run, RBI) and Olson (2-for-3). Adding one hit each were Travers (1-for-1), Lyon (1-for-3, rbi), Strmecki (1-for-3) and Skewis 1-for-4). Kahal walked and scored and Judelson also scored a run.