BRISTOL - A late rally fell a couple of runs short as the Edgewood Little League Baseball all-stars lost 8-6 to Wallingford in the championship round of the District 5 Tournament, falling into the losers’ bracket as Wallingford advanced to play for the title.
Down 8-3 heading into the final inning, Edgewood rallied for three runs before a ground ball out to first base ended it.
“Keep battling is pretty much the motto of Edgewood baseball,” Edgewood manager Bob McMahon said. “If we have to lose that one, so be it. We had the tying runner on first base with two outs with some really big sticks coming up. I have the ultimate trust in our guys, I can live with that.”
Oscar Kuzniar started the sixth inning with a home run against Wallingford pitcher Kyle Mitchell, making the score 8-4.
Following Kuzniar, Mason Harris walked, Jake Stringer singled and Anthony Santilli also walked to load the bases with nobody out in the inning.
Connor Cyr and Chase Mendela drove in the fifth and sixth runs of the game for Edgewood, Cyr on a ground ball to the right side of the infield and Mendela with a RBI single up the middle.
The big sixth inning could be a confidence boost for Edgewood if it faces Wallingford again, as the offense struggled early on.
Through the first three innings Edgewood couldn’t touch Wallingford starter Kevin Milewski, who was blowing his fastball by the hitters.
He had six strikeouts through three innings and Cyr was the only Edgewood hitter to get on base with a single in the top of the third.
Ben D’Amato led off against Milewski in the fourth inning with a double to start a surge. Brayden Dauphinais followed with a double of his own to put runners on second and third.
Kuzniar singled home D’Amato and Harris brought in Dauphinais with an RBI ground out to tie the game up.
Milewski struck out Harry Ross for the second out before he was pulled for Mitchell in the fourth.
“He threw a lot of fastballs and we caught up to him at the end, so I think we’ll do better next game,” D’Amato said. “Most of the teams we faced didn’t have a pitcher as fast as him.”
Jake Stringer got the call for Edgewood and was strong through the first three innings, allowing two runs.
The fourth inning was a different story for Stringer, as he struggled.
Wallingford’s Connor Nickischer, Owen Rich and Mitchell drove in the first three runs of the inning before Tyler Casey launched a three-run homer to make the deficit six runs for Edgewood. Casey also had a double in the game as a big bat for Wallingford in the No. 3 spot of the order.
Stringer pitched 3 2/3 innings, allowing eight runs, nine hits and striking out two.
Johnny Montgomery came in to relieve Stringer with two outs in the fourth and was strong in his brief 1 1/3 innings. He allowed three singles and didn’t let any runs cross home plate.
Kuzniar and D’Amato both finished with two hits in the game.
With the loss, Edgewood will face Yalesville in an elimination game Thursday night at 5:45 p.m. Berlin’s Petit Field.
The winner of that game will move on to face Wallingford and will need to win two straight games to claim the District 5 title.
“I think we’re going to have to play better defense and we’re probably going to have to hit the ball harder,” Dauphinais said. “We have to try and find the gaps next time we see them.”