Softball: Wilton 10U all-stars fall in district championship game

The Wilton Little League Softball 10-under all-star team fell short in the District One championship game on Sunday with a 7-0 loss to defending champ Redding-Easton at Challenger Field in Darien.

Wilton had advanced to the finals with a 14-5 win over Darien on Friday in the final game of pool play.

Wilton had its best scoring chance in the first inning, when Victoria Richards led off the game with walk, advanced to second on a ground out and stole third on a delayed steal, but Wilton was unable to push the run across.

Redding-Easton had entered the championship game having outscored its opponents 37-0 in district pool play.

Wilton showed the defense that would impress the spectators all game long. In the first inning, Redding’s Abby Ota grounded out to second baseman Chrissy D’Elisa, and another ground out and a called strike three would leave two runners stranded for Redding and no runs across after one.

In the second, Wilton’s Kate Shouvlin placed a perfect two-strike bunt down the first base line to record the first hit versus Redding’s Clare McGann in district play. McGann had pitched two consecutive no-hitters in pool play, allowing no runs and striking out 25 batters in her last two starts. Shouvlin, however, could not advance as the next three Wilton hitters struck out.

Redding was able to score one run in the second, and two in the third inning, but the stellar play of shortstop Delaney Liston and Wilton’s defense kept the game within reach. In the bottom of the fourth, Wilton pitcher Maya Farrell struck out the side to keep the score 3-0.

Despite a few errors in the fifth, Wilton turned a neat 6-3-2 double play to end the inning, as third baseman Kate Shouvlin fielded a grounder and fired a throw to first baseman Kate Murray, who recorded the out and then threw home to catcher Victoria Richards, who tagged the Redding runner before she crossed home plate.

Wilton could not mount much offense the rest of the way. In the fourth, Farrell hit a shot to right field, only to have the right fielder make the put-out at first base. In the fifth, Chrissy D’Elisa’s dribbler down the third base line was fielded cleanly as the throw beat the runner by half a step. McGann went on to strike out 14 batters for the game, while walking two.

Wilton’s ace Maya Farrell also pitched a gem, striking out five while walking only two in five innings.

“I am so proud of these girls and how they played in the districts,” commented manager John D’Elisa. “This team made huge strides in the last few weeks. Our fielding, hitting, and pitching came up big. The wins versus Ridgefield (20-9) and Darien (12-5) were memorable. Getting to the finals was a big accomplishment for this team. We wish the best of luck to Redding-Easton in the sectionals.”

It was first time in 70 years that all five of Wilton’s Little League teams were playing in district championship games.