Wilton junior legion team stays alive in states

The Wilton Post 86 American Legion junior (17U) baseball team stayed alive in the state tournament with a 5-1 victory over Orange in a losers' bracket game on Thursday evening at the Wilton High varsity field.

After opening the tournament with a 4-1 win over Wallingford on Sunday, Wilton dropped to the losers' bracket of the modified double-elimination event by falling to Bethel, 2-1, on Tuesday. That made Thursday's game against Orange a must-win for both teams.

Wilton, the seventh-seed in the 32-team Southern Division, will now face unbeaten second-seed Bethel once again on Saturday at 11 a.m. in Bethel. If Wilton wins that game, the teams will play each other once more on Sunday at 1 in Bethel to see which squad advances to the division semifinals next Wednesday in Meriden.

Beginning with the semifinals, the tournament will shift to single elimination for both the Southern and Northern Divisions. The division winners will meet in the state championship game in Middletown on Aug. 2.

Ryan Gabriele started for Wilton on Thursday against Orange and pitched six strong innings to get the win. Drew Floyd relieved Gabriele in the seventh inning and recorded the final three outs. The two Wilton pitchers held Orange to three hits.

Wilton scored three runs in the bottom of the first inning to go ahead, 3-0.

Orange, the 15th seed in the Southern Division, got its only run in the top of the second, while Wilton added single runs in the third and sixth to complete the scoring.

Notes: Post 86 finished with 11 hits.

With its second loss, Orange was eliminated from the tournament.