Softball: Wilton all-stars reach finals of District One tournament

The Wilton Little League 11/12 year-old softball all-star team has reached the District One championship game, following a dramatic 11-10 victory over Darien on Monday at McGuane Park in Darien.

Wilton will face Redding-Easton for the Distict One finals on Saturday at Middlebrook School.

After a scoreless first inning, Darien jumped out to a 2-0 lead off of Wilton starting pitcher Claire Wilson.

Wilton repsonded with a five-run outburst, capped by Sophia Stazza’s two-out two RBI single. Anna Imrie, Delaney Liston, Victoria Richards, Lara Burke and Maya Farrell all scored for Wilton.

Leading 5-3, Wilton broke the game open in the fourth, scoring four runs. Chrissy D’Elisa led of the inning with a walk, and singles by Farrell, Strazza and Imrie, and a walk by Melanie Wells, set the table for Wilson, who belted a two-out double.

Darien battled back, scoring five runs to pull within one, 9-8. After Wilton went down quietly in the fifth, Darien staged a furious sixth-inning rally, fueled by some untimely Wilton errors, to take a 10-9 lead.

Wilton responded in the bottom half of the sixth to make this a memorable contest. Strazza led off with a double, Jayne Guglielmo singled, and Delaney Liston laid down a picturesque bunt to load the bases. Wilson singled in the tying run.

With two outs and the bases loaded, Lara Burke lined a single just past the Darien second baseman to score Liston with the winning run.

“Our team handled the adversity very well today,” said manager John D’Elisa, who is returning to the district title game. “We battled all game long and we picked each other up. I love that in this team.”

Wilton had opened District One tournament play with a convincing 14-4 drubbing of New Canaan on Saturday afternoon at Waveny Park in New Canaan.

Maya Farrell opened the game for Wilton with a single and a stolen base, and scored Wilton’s lone run in the first inning. In the bottom half of the first, New Canaan’s Kaitlyn Fico singled but was thrown out stealing second base with a perfect throw by catcher Victoria Richards. Starting pitcher Claire Wilson retired the next two batters as Wilton led 1-0.

Wilton scratched out another run in the second inning, with Claire Wilson and Lara Burke both belting singles, and Chrissy D’Elisa advancing both runners with a sharp grounder to third. Wilson was thrown out attempting to steal home, but Burke was able to swipe home to score Wilton’s second run.

New Canaan made things interesting in the home second. Wilson was replaced on the mound by Sophia Stazza, but an errant pick-off attempt and a passed ball allowed New Canaan to tie the score.

Wilton added two more runs in the third, with Kate Shouvlin singling and Sophia Strazza belting a long triple to left center. In the fourth, Maya Farrell doubled, Strazza singled, and Melanie Wells singled to plate three more runs for Wilton.

Strazza, meanwhile, had retired nine New Canaan batters in a row, assisted by some nifty plays by second baseman Anna Imrie, to keep the score at 7-2.

Wilton broke the game open in the fifth with a five-run outburst. Imrie led off with a walk, Richards and Farrell singled, and Shouvlin’s bomb to centerfield scored Richards on a sacrifice fly. Jayne Gugleilmo singled home Farrell and Strazza’s second triple of the day scored Guglielmo. Wells added a single to drive in Strazza to put Wilton ahead 12-2.

New Canaan scratched out a run in the bottom of the fifth, but Wilton responded with two more in the sixth with singles by Imrie and D’Elisa.

“Our bats came alive, it was a nice effort by the girls.”, said manager John D’Elisa, “but give New Canaan credit, they made some solid plays on defense today.”

Wilton belted out 21 hits in the win.