Wilton LL All-Stars aim for district title

After winning a district title in the 9-10-year-old division in 2013, the Wilton Little League All-Stars went into last season’s 10-11-year-old tournament as one of the favorites. But two losses to Ridgefield in the double-elimination round denied Wilton from repeating as a District 1 champion.

With most of the team intact, Wilton will aim for a bigger prize this summer: The 11-12-year-old district title and a trip to the state sectionals, which produce the Connecticut team that competes in the regional tournament, with the winner there advancing to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Penn.

“We’re looking to bounce back after last season,” said Glenn Walsh, who will be Wilton’s head coach after guiding the team the past two years in the 9-10 and 10-11 district tournaments. “I like our potential for success.”

Nine players return from last year’s squad, including four starting pitchers and several power hitters. According to Walsh, the three newcomers add another element.

“They are all extremely fast,” he said. “That’s something Wilton teams have lacked in the past.”

Walsh said his team should also benefit from depth.

“We have seven guys who can pitch, and we have a lineup where each kid can play three positions,” said Walsh. “Those are big advantages.”

Wilton’s starting pitchers include Jordan Sayewitz, whom Walsh credits for his mental approach. “He’s the most thoughtful pitcher in his age group that I have seen,” said Walsh. “He’s able to hit his spots.”

Other candidates to start for Wilton are Andrew Travers, Patrick Cummins and Mikey Roberts. John McMahon, Lewis Cropper and Everett Andersen, the lone 11-year-old on the roster, may also pitch for Wilton. McMahon missed last season with a non-baseball injury after being a key player on the 9-10 team that won the district title in 2013.

Shane McCaghey and McMahon are the primary catchers, and each can also play third base. Cropper looks to start at shortstop, with Roberts and John Walsh at first base. John Stanley, Kyle Burns, Jaden Christl and Sayewitz are all capable of playing in the middle infield.

Anchoring the outfield is Cummins, who returns in center field for the third straight season. Walsh is the front-runner in left field, with Andersen the top candidate in right field. Burns and Christl can also play in the outfield.

At the plate, Cropper, Walsh, Travers, and McCaghey should provide power, with Burns, Stanley and Andersen adding speed on the bases.

“It’s a strong team,” said Glenn Walsh. “They just have to bring it every single day, especially at this level. I think last year was a wake-up call for them, and they have been working hard and looking forward to this since last fall.”

Notes: Wilton begins its four-game pool play on Sunday at home against Darien American at noon at Bill Terry Field. Wilton’s remaining three pool-play games are all on the road.

The top-three teams in each pool will advance to the double-elimination playoff round.