Nick Sasso’s fifth-inning two-run homer broke a 2-2 tie, propelling Prospect to a 4-3 victory over Shelton American in the District III Little League 11-12 final at Ansonia’s Nolan Field on Saturday.
With the win, Prospect advanced to the Section II championship and faces Wallingford, the District V winner, Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. in Terryville.
Shelton American, which won the District III losers’ bracket via a 7-3 triumph over Union City Little League of Naugatuck, rallied for a run in the bottom of the fifth. Protecting a one-run lead, Prospect’s Mike Belcher nailed down the save, working around Dylan Camp’s two-out infield single to notch a game-ending strikeout.
Prior to that, Prospect starter Croy Mastropietro defused the Americans’ rally in the bottom of the fifth. After sandwiching a walk to Shane Santiago around a pair of strikeouts, Mastropietro allowed an infield single to Nick Piscioniere.
Luke Uhrynowski, SALL’s starting pitcher, followed with an RBI single to narrow the gap to 4-3. Prospect then used a crisp relay to cut down the runner attempting to advance to third, stranding the potential trying and go-ahead runs.
In the top of the first, Hunter Simpson hit a two-out solo home run to center off of Uhrynowski, staking Prospect to a 1-0 edge.
Simpson’s RBI double plated Mastropietro, who had drawn a lead-off walk, in the top of the third, before SALL tied it in the bottom of the frame.
Santiago singled to center, before Nick Coppola unloaded a two-run home run to center field, tying the game at 2.
Sasso provided the game-winning drive in the fifth, following Zach Drewry’s one-out bloop single off of Santiago, who came on in relief of Uhrynowski at the top of the inning.
Paden Larkins kept Prospect off the scoreboard in the top of the sixth after SALL pulled back a run on Uhrynowski’s run-scoring single.
That was as close as the Americans got, as Belcher stranded the tying run at second to send Prospect onto Sectionals.