The Shelton High baseball team earned a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Newtown High in the second round of the Class LL state tournament on Thursday.
Chris Kanios drove in Jake Camp with an RBI single in the bottom of the sixth, providing the margin in a classic pitcher’s duel between Gael right-hander Justin Lynch and Newtown sophomore lefty Jason Hebner.
Lynch (6-2), who allowed one hit through six innings, got the first two outs of the seventh before allowing back-to-back singles to Jake Oliger and Nicholas Lotrecchiano. Shelton High head coach Scott Gura brought on Mike Cowell, who picked up the victory in the Gaels’ tournament opener on Wednesday, to face Newtown’s lead-off batter Jaret DeVellis.
Cowell nailed down the save, striking out DeVellis on five pitches to send No. 6 seed Shelton (18-6) into tomorrow’s quarterfinal against SCC Housatonic Division rivals Amity High (18-7) — the No. 14 seed. Amity upended No. 3 Glastonbury, 6-3, in their second-round matchup.
Shelton defeated the Spartans in both of their regular-season contests.
Newtown, the No. 11 seed, finished its season 15-8 overall.
Hebner matched Lynch nearly pitch-for-pitch on Thursday, allowing the one run on three hits in a complete-game effort. The sophomore struck out nine and walked one, quelling a Shelton offense that scored 14 runs against West Haven High in the first round.
Lynch, who allowed three hits, walked four and struck out five, benefitted from a pair of diving catches by Gael left fielder Paul Salley. The first came in the third inning, when Charlie Huegi was robbed of a two-out extra-base hit by Salley with Oliger, who drew a leadoff walk, on first. Salley then stole a hit from Sam Czel with a sprawling catch in the seventh, before Oliger and Lotrecchiano hit consecutive singles.
Shelton will host Amity tomorrow at 4 p.m. The semifinals are set for Tuesday.