Bounce back 14s advance to Regional
Milford won four consecutive games out of the loser’s bracket, including back-to-back victories over Norwalk, to earn the Babe Ruth 14U state title at Brien McMahon High in Norwalk.
“We learned a lot from last year’s trip to the regionals. We took that information and built two teams at the 13 and 14 level that we felt would have a realistic chance to win the states,” Milford manager John Wesinski said (the 13s have also advanced to the Regionals). “Managing the 14 team is one thing, but as president of the league, I can’t thank the players and families from both teams enough for the hard work and effort they put in. They have given the league great momentum moving forward, showed the younger divisions that hard work pays off and represented the league with class.”
Milford 14s will play in the Sectional Tournament beginning Friday at Monsignor Gilles Simard Field in Rochester N.Y.
Milford is in Pool A with host Rochester, Maine and Rhode Island and will play three pool games, starting with Rhode Island on Friday at 5:30. They play host Rochester at 5:30 on Saturday and meet Maine on Sunday at 2:30. New Hampshire, Vermont, Eastern Massachusetts and Western Massachusetts are in Pool B.
The top three in each pool advance, with the best team receiving a bye. The other four will play crossover games on Monday and 2:30 and 5:30 and then advance to play the Pool winners on Tuesday at the same times.
The title game is Wednesday at 2:30 p.m.
With the pitching staff limited in its Sectional final game with Norwalk Revolution on Saturday, Kian McEnerney stepped up, and the offense gave him a lead to work with.
John Neider doubled in the first, followed by a bunt hit by Matt Piechota and an RBI double by Cody Dineson. Two batters later, Joey Gaetano hit a long three-run home run and Milford never looked back. They threatened almost every inning and scratched out a few more runs.
“Trying to keep the pitch count down, Kian used majority fastballs to challenge the hitters and the defense did the work,” Wesinski said. “Kian held Norwalk scoreless through six. In the seventh with the bases loaded, he had a big strikeout and picked a runner off first base.”
Milford, opened states with a 7-2 victory over Fairfield, then lost to Norwalk 5-1. Needing to win every day to stay alive, Milford knocked off Groton 8-1, New Milford 3-2 and Stamford 3-2 to advance to the finals versus Norwalk. They won 2-1 to force an if game, where Milford scored a 6-3 triumph.
In the 3-2 win over New Milford, McEnerney pitched five innings and Dineson threw two innings.
Mike Cosmas pitched the first six innings in the 3-2 win over Stamford, with Jack Aliberti throwing the seventh.
In Friday’s game with unbeaten Norwalk Revolution, Alberti pitched five innings and McEnerney went the final two frames in the 2-1 victory that forced the if game.
“The bulk of the summer we got more guys ready to pitch. Having to play out of the loser’s bracket that was key,” said Wesinski, who is assisted by Chris McEnerney and Walt Piechota.
Milford’s uutfield is led by Matt Piechota in centerfield. He is flanked by Joe Gaetano, John Neider and Owen Bell. The infield, anchored by Dean Ross at shortstop, has Jack D’Avignon at second and Anthony Brassell at third. Brandon Macdonald and Jack Aliberti are utility players. The two top pitchers, Mike Cosmas and Kian McEnerney also play first base. Cody Dineson and Riley Jordan handle the catching duties.
In the win over Groton, Milford took the lead in the home first when Mike Cosmas’ fielder’s choice scored Matt Piechota, who had walked and stole second and third.
Milford used patience at the plate again in the bottom of the second against Groton starter Brady Borysewia, who used a good bender to keep batters off stride until losing the zone.
Anthony Brassell, Dean Ross and Riley Jordan drew consecutive four-pitch one-out walks, and when you toss in a wild pitch, Milford had a 2-0 lead.
Groton, which had lost its opener 10-0 to Stamford, pulled a run back in the third on James Mathers’ RBI single that scored Luca Ursina, who had walked. Mathers was thrown out going to second on John Neider’s relay to Brassell, who threw to Jordan covering the bag.
Gaetano doubled home Cody Dineson, who had led off with a single, when Milford put four runs on the board in the home third.
Brassell added a two-out RBI single, before an infield error on Aliberti’s blooper brought two more runs across.
Jordan started a 4-6-3 double play turned by Ross to Matt Piechota at first to take the sting out of a walk and a base hit by Groton’s hard-working catcher Anthony Medina in the fourth.
Aliberto brought his strikeout total to seven, before coming out of the game with two down in the fifth.
Kian McEnerney tomahawked the first pitch he saw in the bottom of the inning for a single. Brandon Macdonald flied out and then Groton’s Michael Dore at third and Gabe Martin at first made two fine plays to escape the jam.
Owen Bell made a fine catch in right field in Groton’s sixth to leave Tucker Tevebaugh on base after he singled.
Milford made it 8-1 when it came to bat.
Braden Tarczali, Matt Piechota and Dineson had consecutive one-out singles to plate one. Jack D’Avignon walked to reload the bases for Gaetano, who slugged a long sacrifice fly to the fence in left field.
Brazzell at third base accounted for all three Groton outs in the seventh, the first on a fine running catch of a foul ball.