Hayden Rovelli’s walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the 6th helped Wild Wisteria overcome an error filled contest to edge Cromwell 7-6 and advance to the CT District 9 Little League Fall Ball majors tournament semifinal game.
Wild Wisteria is one of the final 4 remaining in a tournament that began with nearly 30 teams from around Middlesex and New Haven Counties. Coginchaug Little League entered 4 teams this year and hosted 12 games in the first 3 rounds of the tournament.
Haddam defeated Monitor Controls of Coginchaug 8-5 earlier that evening and will be the opponent for Wild Wisteria on Saturday at Noon in Haddam. Both Haddam and Monitor had won extra inning games on Sunday against Coginchaug teams to make it to the quarterfinals. Monitor defeating Paul C Higgins 11-10 and Haddam beating Anderson Lawncare 4-3.
The winner of Saturday’s Haddam and Wild Wisteria game will play in the Championship game Sunday against the winner of the East Hampton and Madison semifinal game.
Kyle Kupec got the start for Wisteria, and pitched 4 solid innings, despite some defensive struggles by his fielders. A pair of errors led to a run for Cromwell in the top of the first, but after a leadoff triple by Rovelli and an RBI single by Kyle Strang off Cromwell starter Jack Dooley, and the score was tied 1-1 at the end of the first inning.
Kupec retired Cromwell in order in the top of the 2nd and 3rd innings. In the bottom of the 3rd, Strang beat out a leadoff ground ball to shortstop, and Kolby Pascarelli followed with a line drive single to right field. Kupec then tripled to bring in both runners and Ty Ryer’s base hit made the score 4-1 Coginchaug.
But defensive troubles continued in the top of the 4th as Cromwell hit a string of outfield singles that fell just in front of Wisteria fielders. With 2 on and one run in, Kupec hit Ryan Carroll with a pitch, and Nate Schmidt singled to centerfield, and Cromwell took a 5-4 lead. Joe Buccheri walked and then Ryan Cuda reached on another Wisteria infield error as the lead grew to 6-4. Kupec was replaced by Aaron Faiella, who managed to get the final 2 outs without any more damage.
Coginchaug battled back in the bottom of the inning. Nathan Strang led off with a single to shallow centerfield off the glove of Cromwell’s second baseman. Ryan Stafford walked. With 2 on base, Kyle Strang picked up his 2nd and 3rd RBIs with a hard liner through the left side of the infield and the game was tied. Pascarelli also reached with a hit, but Kupec grounded out to shortstop on a very close call at first base to end the inning with the score tied at 6-6.
Faiella got two quick outs in the top of the 5th, and was replaced by Pascarelli who allowed a single to right field by Tyler Baldwin. Right fielder Ty Ryer threw Baldwin out at second base attempting to stretch the hit to a double to end the inning. For his part, Cromwell reliever Nick Polizonis allowed just a leadoff Ty Ryer single in the bottom of the 5th. Riggs Ryer then reached on a fielders choice, but Polizonis struck out the final 2 hitters to end the threat.
Still tied at 6, Pascarelli fanned Dooley to start the 6th. Polizonis singled but was forced out at second base on a ground ball by Carroll. With 2 outs, Nate Schmidt hit a ball to shallow right field that dropped out of reach of second baseman Colin Kelly. Schmidt tried to advance to second base but Kelly fired to Kupec who made the tag to end the inning just before Carroll was about cross home plate for the go ahead run.
Coginchaug got a leadoff walk from Ryan Stafford and with one out, on the first pitch of his at bat, Rovelli hit a hard drive past the shortstop which also got past the Cromwell left fielder. 3B Coach Kelly sent Stafford home on the play, and despite a good throw and close play, Stafford was called safe and Wisteria had the walk-off win.
Coach Keith Pascarelli would love to see some Coginchaug Little League fan support for the game in Haddam on Saturday. The field is at 75 Jail Hill Road in Haddam, and will begin at Noon. If they advance, the Championship will be at 1 PM on Sunday.