Softball: Wilton all-stars now 3-1 in district tourney
After four games in the Little League District One tournament, the Wilton 12-U softball all-star team is 3-1 and eying a spot in the elimination round.
The team opened the tourney with a 21-2 rout of Ridgefield last Thursday, and followed that with an 11-0 loss to Darien on Saturday. The girls bounced back on Monday night with a key 5-2 win over Redding-Easton, and routed New Canaan on Tuesday, 15-2. All four games were played at Middlebrook School.
The team is currently second in the district standings, behind Darien (4-0).
The final game before the playoffs will be Thursday evening (5:45) against Rowayton at Brien McMahon High School in Norwalk.
A year ago, as a combined Wilton-Weston squad, the 12-U softball all-stars lost all three games in the district tournament. Two years ago, Wilton didn’t have enough players for a team.
This year, Wilton is not only is fielding a 12-U team but it is made up entirely of Wilton girls.
“If you have a full roster of 13 that’s a reflection of how the much the program has grown. We’ve got a youth movement going on,” said head coach John Kelly, who returned only two Wilton players from last year’s 12-U team. "We had enough players coming up from the AAA level that we were able to field an only-Wilton team.”
The two players who were part of last year’s 12-U team are Dakota Kelly and Brooke Bohacs. New to the team this season are Annabella Andre, Ella Christ, Katherine Costanzo, Elizabeth DeFeo, Amelia Fleming, Ella Noonan, Avery Samai, Avery Schestag, Riya Shah, Ally Van Heyst and Caitlin Wallace.
Coach Kelly said that with the end of school, the team has improved considerably over the course of the last month.
“The difference is you get to practice every day. You’re doing two hours out there every day. They’re building on what they’ve learned,” he said. “Their defense has improved considerably. Our hitting is a lot better.”
In Tuesday’s win, Wilton blew the game open with nine runs in the top of the fourth, sending 13 batters to the plate.
Kelly got the win, allowing two hits and two runs over four innings, with three walks and five strikeouts.
Kelly also led the way at the plate, going 3-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored.
Van Heyst had a triple, two RBI and two runs scored, and Samai had a double, walk, RBI and run scored. Noonan had a hit, walk, RBI and two runs scored.
Also getting hits were Bohacs (run), Shah (run), Wallace (RBI, run), and Schestag (RBI, run). DeFeo had a walk, run scored and RBI, and Andre walked and scored.
Scoring one run each were Costanzo and Christ, while Fleming had an RBI.
On Monday, Kelly hurled a complete-game two-hitter in the win over Redding-Easton. She struck out seven and walked three. Both runs were unearned.
Offensively, Andre was 2-for-2 at the plate while Wallace was 1-for-2 with a triple and RBI.
Also notching hits were Christ (1-for-1), Costanzo (1-for-2, run) and Kelly (1-for-3, RBI). Samai walked twice and scored two runs, while Fleming and VanHeyst each scored one run.
Kelly was able to pitch out of trouble several times early in the game to keep Redding-Easton off the scoreboard.
In the top of the first, Redding-Easton loaded the bases with two outs but Kelly got the last out on a strikeout. In the third, Redding-Easton got runners on the corners with one out but a hard shot to centerfield was hit right at Fleming, and Kelly struck out the next batter to end the threat,
In the second, Redding-Easton got a lead-off single but the runner was gunned down trying to steal second by Wilton catcher Schestag.
Wilton jumped out early with two runs in the bottom of the first. Costanzo reached on a bunt single, moved to third on stolen base and wild pitch, and scored on another wild pitch. Wallace then launched a blast to the left-field fence for an RBI triple to score Samai, who had walked.
In the bottom of the third, Samai walked and stole second and third, and an error on Kelly’s pop-up put runners on second and third with one out. The Redding catcher then attempted to pick off Samai on third, but the throw got by the third baseman, allowing Samai to come home to make it 3-0.
After Redding-Easton plated an unearned run in the fourth, things got a little scary for Wilton in the top of the fifth, as Redding loaded the bases with two outs on an error, hit batsman and infield single. One run scored when the runner on second beat the throw to third on a groundball, cutting the lead to 3-2.
But with the tying run on third and go-ahead run at second, Kelly once again came up with a big strikeout to prevent further damage.
Wilton was able to add two insurance runs in the bottom of the fifth. Christ punched a single though the right side to lead things off, and pinch runner Van Heyst stole second and went to third on a wild pitch. Fleming’s infield single put runners on the corners with one out. A wild pitch brough Van Heyst home, and Fleming scored when Kelly looped a single to left centerfield for the RBI.
Kelly then closed out the game by striking out the side in the top of the sixth.
Wilton began tournament play last Thursday with a rout over Ridgefield, scoring 21 runs on 18 hits.
Kelly allowed two runs (both unearned) in four innings, with seven strikeouts and one walk.
Fleming had a big game at the plate, going 4-for-4 with three runs scored and an RBI.
Also with multi-hit games were Andre (2-for-2, two RBI, run), Schestag (2-for-4, three runs, three RBI), Bohacs (2-for-3, walk, four RBI, two runs) and Wallace (2-for-3, double, three runs, two RBI).
Getting one hit each were Van Heyst (1-for-2, walk, two runs, RBI), Samai (1-for-3, double, walk, two runs, RBI), Kelly (1-for-3, walk, RBI, run), Noonan (1-for-1, run), Costanzo (1-for-2, walk, two runs) and Shah (1-for-2, walk). DeFeo had an RBI.
Wilton managed only two hits in Saturday’s 11-0 loss to Darien, by Noonan and Schestag. Samai walked twice, with other walks by Costanzo, Schestag and Wallace.
Kelly allowed eight hits and a walk over four innings. Only five of Darien’s run were earned.