Little League: Wilton 12s fall just short of district championship round

Stamford North used the long ball to devastating effect on Wednesday night to end the Wilton Little League 12-U baseball team’s run in the District One tournament, by a score of 8-4 in the losers’ bracket final.

Stamford North, which plays Ridgefield in the championship series, slugged four home runs and two triples in Wednesday’s game, playing at Scalzi Park in Stamford.

Michael Iordino, who threw a perfect game against Wilton a week ago, was again the winning pitcher, going five and two-thirds innings and allowing four runs on three hits and a walk. He struck out nine. Iorfino also went 2-for-3 at the plate with a homer, triple, two RBI and two runs scored.

The group of Wilton 12-year-olds, looking to reach the championship round for the third straight year, finished the tournament 4-2. Over the last three years they have compiled a record of 16-7 in district play.

Wilton started the game on a positive note, when lead-off Zarius Eusebe reached on an error — which broke Iorfino’s streak of retiring 18 straight Wilton batters. With two outs, Quinn Stengrim smashed a hard grounder to the right side that rolled all the way to the right centerfield fence for a triple, scoring Eusebe for a 1-0 lead.

Stamford came right back in the bottom of the first with four runs. Antonio Belgrove led off with a triple to the right centerfield gap, and came home on a wild pitch. After Brandon Velez walked, Iorfino hit a towering fly ball down the right-field line that dropped near the fence for an RBI triple. The next batter, Kyle Bancroft, drove a ball just inside the foul pole over the right-field fence for a two-run homer and a 4-1 lead after one.

Wilton rallied for three runs in the top of the third to tie the game. Nevin Belanger got things going with a line double into the left centerfielder gap. After Sam Gioffre reached on a walk, Ryan Preisano hit a chopper through the left side for an RBI single. The runners moved to second and third on the throw home, and scored on George Hahn’s two-out, two-run single up the middle to make it a 4-4 game.

Stamford wasted no time retaking the lead, as Velez led off the bottom of the third with a homer down the right-field line. The next batter, Iorfino, launched a monster home run way over the scoreboard in left centerfield, making the score 6-4. Stamford then loaded the bases on a singles by Bancroft and Alex Lanzillotti and walk by Belgrove, but Wilton pitcher Nevin Belanger got a big strikeout to end the inning.

Iorfino retired the next eight batters in a row, before being relieved with two outs in the sixth by Lanzillotti, who struck out the final batter.

Stamford’s final two runs came in the fourth, on a solo home run by Dylan Winford and RBI single by Wyatt Lisack to score Velez, who had singled.

In addition to Iorfino, Stamford’s offense was led by Velez (2-for-2, home run, walk, three runs) and Bancroft (2-for-3, home run, 2 RBI, run). Notching one hit each were Belgrove (1-for-2, triple, two walks, run), Lisack (single, RBI), Winford (home run, RBI, run), Lanzillotti (single) and Miles Aquila (single).

For Wilton, hits came from Belanger (double, run), Stengrim (triple, RBI), Hahn (single, 2 RBI) and Preisano (single, RBI, run). Eusebe and Gioffre each scored a run.