Youth softball: Wilton 10s rally to win tourney
Propelled by excellent pitching and defense, the Wilton 10U girls softball team won the inaugural Bobby Valentine’s Sports Academy indoor softball tournament on Nov. 11 in Stamford.
The tournament featured five area teams — Darien, New Canaan Black, New Canaan Red, Norwalk and Wilton. Each team played two pool-play games during the day. Teams were ranked at the end of pool play by win-loss record and run differential, with the top two teams playing for the championship.
In the championship game, Wilton (1-0-1, +12) defeated a very good Norwalk team (2-0, +9) in extra innings, 6-5.
Wilton began the day with a 17-5 win over New Canaan Red. The offensive attack was fueled by multi-hit performances by Olivia Feldman, Grace Qudeen, Ava Gaudio and Sofia Samai. Sarah Morris, Grace Couch, Kaitlin Feldman and Allison Rayment all added hits. Pitchers Sofia Samai (one strikeout) and Grace Couch (five strikeouts) kept the New Canaan offense in check.
In the second game, Wilton tied New Canaan Black 4-4 in extra innings. Kelly O’Malley, Sofia Samai, Olivia Feldman and Kaitlin Feldman all had hits. The pitching was again quite strong, led by Grace Couch’s five strikeouts. Kaitlin Feldman added a strikeout and made key plays at first base. Catcher Annie McMahon threw out two baserunners, and Sophia Viggiano made a critical play at third base, as did Grace Qudeen at shortstop.
In the championship game, Wilton rallied from behind twice to edge an excellent Norwalk Zoomers team, 6-5, in extra innings. Ava Gaudio’s clutch single to left field tied the score at 3-3 and forced extra innings.
Norwalk pushed across two runs in the top of the last frame to take a 5-3 lead. In the bottom half, Wilton scored twice to tie the score. After an intentional walk to Sofia Samai loaded the bases, Sophia Viggiano worked a walk to force in the winning run.
Sarah Morris played great defense in left field, cutting off two rockets and limiting Norwalk batters to singles. Kelly O’Malley played a strong first base. Catcher Annie McMahon threw out another potential base stealer. Ace Grace Couch struck out eight batters to quiet a very potent Norwalk lineup.
“Our players battled all day and into the night. They never gave up, even while trailing late in our last two games. I am proud of how hard they played and mentally strong they were,” said head coach Aaron Feldman, who was assisted by Tom Viggiano, Avery and Amanda Samai, and Beth Anne and Matt McMahon.