For the first time in 20 years, the Wilton High baseball team can be called something special.
Fueled by another outstanding pitching effort from senior lefthander J.T. Morin, the fifth-seeded Warriors edged second-seed Staples, 1-0, in eight innings on Friday night at the Ballpark at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport.
After seven scoreless innings, the game went to extra innings. Wilton broke through quickly, as James Meany singled with two outs in the top of eighth, stole second, and then scored on Jackson Ward's RBI single on a 3-2 count.
"I've been around baseball for 30-plus years," said Wilton pitching coach Mark Ketley to the team after the victory, "and that was the greatest game I've ever seen."
Morin, who had pitched a complete game and thrown 137 pitches in Wilton's 6-1 quarterfinal win over Norwalk on Tuesday, then returned to the mound in the bottom of the eighth and struck out the side to end the game.
Morin finished with a two-hitter, striking out 12 and walking two.
In his two FCIAC playoff games, Morin pitched 15 innings, allowed no earned runs, and struck out 26 batters. Fittingly, he was named the Most Valuable Player of the conference playoffs.
Wilton also benefited from several stellar defensive plays, especially from second baseman Collin Kahal and centerfielder Scott Shouvlin — back-to-back — in the sixth inning.
Harry Sabo, Meany and Ward each had two hits for Wilton, which finished with seven hits, all singles, off Staples' Marco Latella.
It was the third conference championship in program history for Wilton, which also won titles in 1977 and 1995. The Warriors had lost, 4-3, to Trinity Catholic in their most recent finals appearance in 1999.
The game was carried in live streaming video and audio by HAN Network and HANRadio.com. You can watch an archived version of the game later on Friday night at this link.
The game coverage is part of the Hersam Acorn teaming with the NFHS Network to add live video to HAN Radio, southwestern Connecticut’s leader in live high school sports coverage. The live sporting events and archived video are available for a subscription fee, which varies based on how long you want access to Hersam Acorn’s content on the NFHS Network. Part of the subscription fee will benefit the ongoing operations of the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference (FCIAC), its member schools and student athletes. HAN will provide some state playoff coverage in June.