Pitching a strength for Wilton LL All-Stars
If anyone understands what the Wilton Little League 12-under All-Star team is capable of doing in this year’s District 1 tournament, it is manager Kevin Toohill.
Toohill has coached most of the players since they were six or seven years old, and also served as manager the last two years when the core group competed in the 10-under and 11-under district tournaments.
“I know they are going to go out and compete every game,” said Toohill. “Anything can happen at this level, but I feel pretty confident that we can do well.”
Wilton is one of four teams in Pool A along with Ridgefield, Stamford North, and Norwalk and plays its district opener Sunday (noon) on the road against Ridgefield.
Wilton hosts Stamford North at Bill Terry Field on Tuesday (7 p.m.) before ending pool play at Norwalk on Thursday (noon).
Teams that win at least two of their three games in Pool A and Pool B (Weston, Stamford American, Stamford National, Darien) automatically advance to the playoff round. The district champion moves on to the state sectionals.
Wilton’s 13-player roster includes four quality pitchers in William Forgione, Max Roberge, Stef Cross, and Jack Schwartz. The first three are power arms, while Schwartz is more of a control pitcher who throws strikes.
“It’s an advantage for us,” said Toohill about his pitching staff. “You need to have a bunch of good pitchers to do well in this type of tournament.”
When those four are not pitching, they will start in the field: Forgione at first base, Roberge at shortstop, Cross in centerfield, and Schwartz at catcher.
Toohill’s son, Conor, is the second baseman, with Luke Perna at third base.
“The infield (Forgione, Toohill, Roberge, and Perna) has been together for three years in a row, including spring travel baseball,” said Kevin Toohill.
Joining Cross in the starting outfield are leftfielder Grady Kaliski and rightfielder Will Soucy, both of whom played on Wilton’s 10-under and 11-under district teams.
Another veteran, Tanner Schmauch, will be Wilton’s cleanup hitter and play at one of several positions (outfield, first base, catcher, third base).
Also expected to contribute are Luca Mouri (outfield/first base), Jai Satsangi (first base/outfield/catcher), Luca Szymanowicz (outfield), and Zach Coleman (outfield/catcher).
“Defense and pitching are our strengths,” said Kevin Toohill. “If we can get guys on base and move them around and score some runs we should be in good shape.”
Notes: As 10-year-olds, Wilton came within one win of reaching the district championship game. Last season, Wilton went 1-2 in pool play and did not advance to the playoff round of the 11-under district tournament.