Little League: Shelton Softball competes against best in Majors

Kylie Chiesa slides safely into third base with one of her four stolen bases. — Bill Bloxsom photo

Shelton Softball’s All-Star team saw its postseason end with a loss to Union City in a District III Little League elimination game at Beacon Falls.

“These girls are awesome,” said Shelton manager Lee Berardi, who was assisted by Adam Roscoe and Dave Melanson. “We had tryouts and selected thirteen players from our three teams. They are all 11 or 12. It is a great group.”

Tania Heltzel, Kylie Chiesa, Taylor Capela, Kaija Jenkins, Ava Woods, Taylor Melanson, Mia Gura, Meaghan Kopchick, Brynn Roscoe, Alicia Berardi, Krystal Black, Juliana Bojnec and Sophia DeVellis represented Shelton against the best Major Division teams.

The locals lost their first game to Ansonia, before taking on Union City which had lost to Seymour in the opening round.

Kylie Chiesa opened the game by beating out a bunt single. She didn’t stop there, as the fleet-footed Chiesa stole second and third. With two outs and Krystal Black at the plate, she got a great jump off the bag and scored when a pitch got away.

Union City took a 4-1 lead in the bottom of the frame.

Alicia Berardi fielded UC’s Kayleigh Bisconti’s grounder and through to Mia Gura at first base for the first out. With the bases loaded, Taylor Melanson fielded a chopper to the left of the pitching circle and fired home to catcher Brynn Roscoe for a run-saving force out.

Roscoe got Shelton out of the inning when she blocked a pitch and threw down to Chiesa at third, who tagged out the runner caught off the base.

Union City upped its advantage to 5-1 in the second, before Roscoe caught Erin Bombery stealing. Black at shortstop made the tag. Melanson then fielded a shot up the middle by Bisconti to retire the side.

Shelton batters began to get better swings, beginning in their third at bat.

With two outs, Chiesa fouled off three two-strike pitches and worked out an eight-pitch free pass.

Chiesa again stole second and third — and Kaija Jenkins (three fouls) and Black (two fouls) drew walks to load the bases — before the last out was put in the book.

With two Union City runners on base in the third, Tania Heltzel in right field made a strong throw home. The runner just beat the ball, but Roscoe threw down to Chiesa at third to get Lauren Sanchez looking to advance.

Melanson got out of the jam on another comebacker and a fine catch by Roscoe on a foul ball off the bat of Avery Crockett.

Shelton tied the game in the fourth inning.

Roscoe ripped a hard single up the gap in right center to start the rally, before Ava Woods fought off two pitches and then drew a full-count walk.

With two down, Melanson and Chiesa were patient and drew walks with Chiesa getting an RBI.

Jenkins then cleared the bases with a hard hit between third and shortstop.

By the time the dust settled on her two-RBI hit, Woods, Melanson and Chiesa had motored home to make it 6-6.

Union City came out swinging in the home fourth. Four hits, some walks, and aggressive base running put UC on top 14-6. Taylor Capela at second base made a fine turn to get a force out to end the inning.

They added a pair in the fifth to advance.

“I’ve been lucky enough to coach these girls and see them improve over the last five years,” Lee Berardi said. “There are a lot of players in our younger division, so the future of Shelton Softball is in good hands.”

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