Baseball: O'Brien, Wilton beat NFA, advance to state quarterfinals

On back-to-back days, a similar blueprint has resulted in two state tournament wins: Strong starting pitching and one big inning.

Riding Glenn O'Brien's three-hitter and a three-run third inning, the Wilton High baseball team defeated 28th-seed Norwich Free Academy, 3-2, in the second round of the Class LL tournament on Wednesday in Wilton.

The 21st-seeded Warriors (13-9) will now play fourth-seed New Milford in the state quarterfinals on Saturday (time TBA) in New Milford.

One day after Billy Black threw a three-hit shutout in a 2-0 opening-round triumph over 12th-seed Cheshire, O'Brien followed with another impressive effort for Wilton. O'Brien allowed two runs (one earned) on three hits while striking out two batters and walking none.

In Tuesday's win over Cheshire, the Warriors scored both of their runs in the top of the sixth inning. On Wednesday, Wilton's three runs all came in the bottom of the third.

With one out, Collin Kahal walked and advanced to third on two passed balls. Following the second out, Dillon Lifrieri walked to put Wilton runners on the corners. Matt D'Elisa, who had driven in both runs with a double against Cheshire, then hit a slow roller to third base. NFA's third baseman fielded the ball but threw wildly to first, allowing both Kahal and Lifrieri to score and D'Elisa to proceed to third. Brennen Ryan's RBI single then plated D'Elisa to give the Warriors a 3-0 lead.

NFA got one run back on an RBI double in the top of the fourth inning and then added its second run on a Wilton outfield error in the top of the fifth.

But O'Brien held NFA scoreless in its last two at-bats to close out the victory and send the Warriors to the quarterfinals.