Wilton softball team gives Vikes a tussle in 6-3 loss

The Wilton High softball team's outside chance of qualifying for the conference playoffs ended with a 6-3 loss to a strong Westhill squad in the penultimate game of the regular season on Monday.

Playing at home on Senior Night, the Warriors gave Westhill a battle before coming up short of an upset victory.

Wilton pitcher Sage Zunda got herself in some early trouble in the top of the first inning. A single and two walks loaded the bases for Westhill (14-3 overall, 13-2 FCIAC) with no outs. The Warriors (10-9, 7-8 FCIAC) got the first out of the inning on a sharply hit ball to shortstop Sophia Strazza, who threw home for a force play. Zunda struck out the next batter on an 0-2 change-up, but a wild pitch brought in a run for Westhill. Another runner tried to score on the play but was tagged out at home by Zunda.

The Vikings made it 2-0 with another run in the third inning. A single, a stolen base and another single accounted for the Westhill run. The Vikings could have done more damage, but centerfielder Hannah Belanger tracked down two well-hit balls for outs. Belanger had five put-outs during the game.

Westhill pitcher Edyliese Aquino was the benefactor of two double plays in the first and second innings, as she faced the minimum number of batters over the first three innings.

Co-captain Eliza Ward had a single for Wilton in the first inning, but she was erased in an inning-ending double play. In the bottom of the second, Emma Cropper singled but was doubled off first on a line drive back to the pitcher. Aquino then set the Warriors down in order in the third inning.

Westhill added two more runs in the fifth inning to take a 4-0 lead. With one out and runners on the corners, a Wilton error and a single to center plated the runs. On the latter play, Belanger's throw was cut off by Zunda, who fired the ball to second to get the runner trying to advance.

In the sixth inning the Vikings got an unearned run on an error and two singles to increase their lead to 5-0.

The Warriors finally pushed across two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to close within 5-2. Belanger led off with a single and moved to third on two groundouts before scoring on a wild pitch. With two outs, Wilton got singles from Strazza, Cropper and Emily Ettie to load the bases — Cropper’s single was her third of the game. Maddie Christl then got hit by the first pitch of her at-bat, forcing in Strazza with the second run.

Westhill got one of those runs back in the top of the seventh inning. The leadoff hitter singled and came around to score on a double by the next batter.

In the bottom of the seventh, Wilton co-captain Julia Schiavone worked her way on base with a lead-off walk and came in to score on a two-out double by Zunda. But the rally ended there for the Warriors, as Aquino got the third out to end the game.

“The team gave a great all-around effort tonight," said Wilton head coach Brian Jacobs. "We played one of the best teams in the conference tonight and we kept fighting to the end. This, I hope, will carry into the [state] post-season."

Notes: Wilton's three seniors — Ettie, Schiavone and Nicole Kosar — were honored at the game.

The Warriors finish the regular season on Wednesday against host Norwalk.