Shelton American Little League, the District III champions, took on the best the state had to offer in the Section I Tournament this past week in Prospect.
“This is a great group of kids,” coach Blair Horne said of his 10-11 All-Stars after the locals lost a 13-4 decision to District V champion Berlin on Saturday.
“They gave us their all to win districts and they’re playing their hearts out here.”
Shelton American opened play with a 17-3 loss to Darien American from District I on Thursday. The locals fell to District II champ Fairfield National, 10-0, on Sunday. They were edged out, 9-6, by District VI champion Branford on Monday.
Fairfield National will meet Darien American at 6 today at Peter J. Foley Field in Naugatuck.
Shelton American showed its stuff early against Berlin.
Tyler Janik opened the game with a single to the right side of the infield, went to second on a wild pitch, and scored when Owen Horne blasted a double to straightaway center.
Before the Shelton bench could calm down, Nick Walsh propelled a 1-2 pitch over the fence in center for a 3-0 lead.
Charlie Chagnon ground out, before Max Macchia tomahawked a double to left field.
Berlin shortstop Mike Giove turned Mike Patton’s hot shot grounder into a 6-3-5 double play, with Macchia being erased at third.
Walsh got the start and set Berlin down on a fly ball to Nick Guzek in left, a drive to Patton in right, and after a single, Janik made the first of four stellar plays from his third-base position to retire the side.
Shelton made it 4-0 in the second, but began a trend of missed opportunities.
Guzek and Nick Dingwall walked to open the inning, and after a strike out, Janik walked to load the bases.
Guzek beat a relay home from second on Owen Horne’s bouncer to make it 4-0.
Berlin pitcher Tyler Cop notched another strike out and got the third out on a grounder to Giove.
Berlin took a 5-4 lead in the home second.
Malachi Burby opened the frame with a home run, before Janik threw out Holden Murphy for the first out.
After two singles, Gianni Fanelli doubled and some wild throws cleared the bases of all runners to tie the game at 4.
Walsh notched his first strike out, but a double and an infield error gave Berlin the lead.
Chagnon threw out a runner trying to advance to third on a wild pitch, and Shelton was chasing a one-run deficit.
Macchia opened the third with a single to right and Brian Gannon came in to pinch run. Dingwall walked with two outs.
Rodko had a great at-bat, as he fouled off a pair of 3-2 pitches before he earned a walk to load the bases.
Janik fell behind 0-2, worked the count to 3-2, but his chopper to the left side was fielded by Giove, who tagged Dingwall crossing over for the third out.
Shelton would strand 10 runners in all.
Berlin, meanwhile, got the good bounce and the big bomb at-bats it needed to blow the game open in the bottom of the third.
They loaded the bases on a hit batter, a single, and a walk, before an infield error plated a run.
Walsh gave up a two-run single, but seemed to have stemmed the tide by retiring the next two batters.
David Biscoglio then hit a comebacker up the middle, which glanced off Walsh and kicked to the right side, where Dingwall was already breaking toward second.
The ball rolled into right field to score two runs.
A single and a grand-slam home run by Giove ended the day’s drama.
Biscoglio came on in relief and allowed only one more hit, an infield single by Macchia in the sixth.