Clutch hits lacking as Wilton falls to Hand, 2-1

The rain held off. Instead, walks came down cats and dogs — four in the first inning, six overall — as Daniel Hand edged the Wilton High baseball team, 2-1, on Thursday at the Warriors’ Varsity Field.

Wilton starter Mike Angerame was the culprit, yielding all six free passes in his five and two-thirds innings of work. He was also a hero, battling through his wildness and limiting Hand to five hits while keeping his teammates very much alive and in the game.

Unfortunately for the Warriors, they did not get the clutch hitting needed to parlay eight hits into more than one run.

With two outs and a runner on base, Angerame appeared poised to get out of the top of the first inning unscathed. Two strikes and 12 balls later with the bases loaded and that runner, Colin Telford, having scored, Angerame teetered on the brink of self-destruction. But he pulled himself back from the abyss, got the third out, and then shut down Hand for three innings — the only hiccup being a pair of walks to open the fourth.

In the fifth, Telford, led off with a base hit up the middle. A nemesis on the bash paths, he swiped second (his fourth theft in as many tries), raced to third on a wild pitch, and came home on Anthony DePino’s two-out single over the third-base bag.

That was it for Hand (11-3). The Tigers mounted a two-out threat in the sixth, but Nick Sheehan came on to get the final out and then retired the side in order in the seventh.

Meanwhile, Hand starter Kevin Tracy had to fend off Wilton base runners. He got excellent support from a defense that gave him a double play, a runner caught stealing, and two magnificent catches from left fielder Will Kleinhenz.

Ironically, it was Hand's only error that allowed Wilton’s sole run, and it came in the Warriors’ first at-bat.

Drew Phillips led off the bottom of the first with a single, moved to second on Kyle Phillips’ one-out base hit, and came home when a poor throw skipped by the first baseman on John Walsh’s infield groundout. A fielder’s choice ended the inning (and Wilton’s scoring) with Stacy completing the game, allowing just the one earned run on eight hits while striking out two and walking none.

Drew Phillips, Kyle Phillips and Lucas Uriarte all had two-hit games as Warrior bats stayed alive, if not timely, following the previous day’s hitting spree in an 8-1 rout of Bridgeport Central.  

“The one thing I know is that these kids battle. I say it over and over again but it’s true,” said Wilton head coach Tim Eagen, whose team is now 6-5 this season. “It’s amazing to have such a young team fight the way they do. They make mistakes ... they do things that surprise me ... but they never stop coming at you. Even the Daniel Hand coach said so. He couldn’t believe we’re so young and show that kind of attitude. We’re just going to get better.”