Two-out single ousts Wilton in Legion junior state tourney

Needing a victory to avoid elimination, the Wilton American Legion junior (17U) baseball team was unable to hold onto an early lead and fell to Bethel, 4-3, in a state tournament game Saturday in Bethel.

Bethel scored the winning run on a two-out single in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Wilton (2-2) had to beat Bethel (3-0) to force another game between the teams today in the double-elimination portion of the tournament. Instead, Bethel — which also defeated Wilton, 2-1, in an earlier game — now moves on to the single-elimination semifinals in the Southern Division.

Trailing 1-0 on Saturday, Wilton scored three runs in the top of the third inning to go ahead, 3-1. Michael Tienken started the rally with a double, which was followed by singles from Jack Gioffre, Ryan Osgood and Zach Adams.

But Bethel got one run back in the bottom of the inning and tied the score with another run in the sixth. The hosts then added the winning run on Tim VanderHave's single with two outs in the bottom of the seventh for the walk-off victory. The hit scored Ben Harrison, who had reached second on a two-base error.

Starter Ryan Gabriele pitched five innings for Wilton before yielding to Ben Rusin in the sixth. Matt D'Elisa relieved Rusin later in the sixth inning and pitched the seventh.

Bethel pitcher Austin Kasbarian held Wilton to seven hits in a complete-game effort. Kasbarian walked one batter and struck out seven.

Kiernan Ursone had two of Wilton's hits and also stole a base.