Softball: Wilton 12s cap off milestone weekend with county ‘B’ title

Before this season, Wilton youth softball teams had won only one Fairfield County Fastpitch Softball League tournament title, as an all-Wilton team, in the league’s 14-year history.

Last weekend, they won two.

The Wilton 12-U and 10-U teams, both sponsored by the Wilton Baseball and Softball Association, captured the FCFSL ‘B’ tournaments, joining the 2013 12-U team as Wilton’s only tourney champs (a combined Wilton-Stamford 16-U squad won the league title in 2008).

Wilton also got a strong showing from its 9-U team, which went 3-1 in the 10-U ‘B’ tournament, winning its pool with a 3-0 record.

A year ago Wilton fielded only one travel team, at the 10-U level. Two years ago, it didn’t have any travel teams.

The success of last year’s 10-U team, which had reached the FCFSL semifinals, carried over into the 2017 season, with teams formed earlier and already working towards the summer season in January and February.

“At the end of last season, we saw an increased interest in softball within Wilton. We wanted to take that enthusiasm and turn it into an opportunity to grow the softball program,” said Rommie Samai, who helped coach the 12-U team with head coach Mallory Rochefort. “I know all the coaches on the 9-U, 10-U and 12-U teams made a concerted effort to raise the stakes for travel softball, and I think this weekend was the payoff. The girls, and their families, were on board since those early-winter workouts. The level of play and overall softball IQ increased tremendously throughout the season. The girls should be very proud of their efforts.”

The three Wilton teams had a combined record of 11-2-1 at last weekend’s tournaments.

We haven’t had three travel teams in Wilton for a long time,” said longtime youth softball coach Pam Nessel, who helped coach the 9-U squad. “It’s a big effort, between Dom Rauccio and John Morello (both of the Wilton Baseball and Softball Association) and all the people who have helped coach, and all the parents. It’s a great group effort.”

“We’re very excited with the program and we really hope to build a program that will compete with the best programs in the area,” said Matt McMahon, another of the 9-U team coaches.

The Wilton 12-U girls, coming off a strong showing in the District 1 Little League tournament earlier this summer, finished the FCFSL tournament undefeated (3-0-2), capped off by a 14-11 win over host Pomperaug on Sunday in Southbury.

This year’s 12-U team featured the following players: Dakota Kelly, Lauren Davis, Brooke Bohacs, Avery Samai, Dana Pettersen, Katherine Costanzo, Avery Schestag, Caitlin Wallace, Ally van Heyst, Ella Christ, Annabelle Andre and Riya Shah.

Kelly anchored the tourney run, as she pitched almost all the innings (with three wins) and led the way at the plate, going 11-for-17 with 11 RBI and nine runs scored in the tourney.

Pettersen also swung a big bat, going 10-for-16 with eight RBI.

Wilton opened the tourney on Saturday morning with a 13-4 win over New Fairfield. The team scored six runs in the first, four in the second and three in the third to lead 13-1. Samai, Kelly and Davis combined on the mound for a one-hitter

Kelly was 3-for-3 with a walk, RBI and three runs scored. Pettersen was 2-for-4 with two runs scored, and Schestag was 2-for-3 with three RBI and run scored.

Also getting hits were Bohacs (1-for-2, walk, 2 RBI), Samai (1-for-3, walk, 2 runs), Davis (1-for-2, 2 walks, 3 RBI, 2 runs), and van Heyst (1-for-3, 2 RBI). Fleming walked and Costanzo scored a run.

Wilton pulled off late rallies in its next two games to eke out ties.

In game two, Wilton rallied for three runs in the top of the sixth to tie Pomperaug, 7-7. Leading the way with two hits each were Kelly (2-for-3, double, 3 RBI, 2 runs), Pettersen (2-for-2, 2 walks, RBI) and Davis (2-for-4, RBI, run), while van Heyst went 1-for-2 with a double, walk and RBI. Samai and Costanzo each walked twice and scored a run. Wallace and Schestag also had two walks each, while van Heyst and Bohacs (run) each walked once.

Kelly allowed seven runs (three earned) on six hits and six walks, with six strikeouts.

Game three saw Wilton rally from a 4-0 deficit to tie Stamford, 4-4, scoring three runs in the bottom of the sixth. The game-tying rally was highlighted by an RBI single by Costanzo and two-run double by Kelly. Bohacs had started the rally with a single and Samai reached on a bunt and error.

Kelly led the hitting, going 2-for-3 with a double, two RBI and run scored. Notching one hit each were Pettersen (1-for-2, RBI), Costanzo (1-for-3, RBI, run), Samai (1-for-3, run) and Bohacs (1-for-1, walk, run). Davis and Schestag both had a walk.

Kelly allowed four runs (two earned) on three hits and one walk, with eight strikeouts.

On Sunday, Wilton advanced to the finals with a 5-3 win over Stamford. Kelly went the distance for the win, allowing three runs on nine hits and three walks, while fanning four.

Pettersen led the offense, going 2-for-3 with two RBI and two runs scored. Also getting hits were Wallace (1-for-3, RBI), Samai (1-for-3, walk, RBI) and Davis (1-for-2, walk). Kelly had an RBI, while Costanzo, Schestag, van Heyst and Bohacs (run) each had a walk.

In the championship game, Wilton took a 2-0 lead in the first on a two-run double by Pettersen, and went up 4-0 in the second on RBI singles by Pettersen and Kelly. After Pomperaug cut the lead to 4-3, Wilton made it 6-3 in the fourth on a two-run double by Kelly.

Wilton then exploded for nine runs in the fifth, taking a 15-3 lead. The outburst featured singles by Davis. Bohacs and Kelly (RBI), and a two-run double by Pettersen.

Pomperaug, however, roared back with seven runs in the fifth and four more in the sixth to cut the lead to 15-14.

Wilton was able to score three insurance runs in the top of the seventh, highlighted by singles from Pettersen, Kelly, Davis (RBI) and van Heyst (RBI).

Kelly had a big game at the plate, going 4-for-5, with a double, four RBI and three runs scored, while Pettersen was 3-for-5 with two doubles, four RBI and two runs. The 16-hit attack also featured Davis (2 hits, 2 RBI, 3 runs), Bohacs (2 hits, 2 RBI, 3 runs), van Heyst (2 hits, RBI), Samai (hit, 4 walks, 3 runs, 2 RBI), Costanzo (hit, 2 walks, run), Schestag (hit, 2 runs, RBI) and Wallace (walk, run).

Kelly (five innings) and Samai (two innings) combined on the mound for the win.