Trey McLoughlin struck out 10 batters in 6 1/3 innings, and Chris Kanios hit a three-run, inside-the-park home run to lift Shelton to a 7-2 triumph over visiting Sheehan on Monday night.
With the Southern Connecticut Conference Housatonic Division win, in Shelton’s first of five contests in six days, the Gaels improved to 5-4. Sheehan fell to 8-4.
Shelton plated five runs in the second inning, the big hit Kanios’ homer to center field. The throw came in toward third base and Kanios used his blazing speed to keep going around the bases and score.
Prior to the drive by Kanios, Shelton used patience and played small ball to start the rally.
Ryan Murphy led off the frame with a walk and, after Murphy moved to second on Will Ciccone’s groundout and took third on a passed ball, McLoughlin worked a full-count pitch base on balls to put runners on the corners. McLoughlin broke for second and got caught in a rundown; an errant throw allowed Murphy to score the first run of the game.
Another passed ball pushed McLoughlin to third base, but he was later thrown out at home on a failed squeeze attempt. Matt Silverstein and Carl Kropf walked, setting up the three-run homer for a 4-0 lead.
David Wells followed with an infield single and scored on a double off the bat of Matt Hunyadi, who split the outfielders in left-center.
“That gave a little confidence boost,” McLoughlin said of the early run support, adding that he used a fastball to get ahead of hitters and mixed in a changeup and curveball throughout his outing.
Sheehan got a run back with a solo homer off the bat of Sal Gozzo in the third, and scraped out a run thanks to a pair of singles, walk and passed ball in the fifth. McLoughlin was pretty much dominant and minimized damage in the couple innings in which he struggled.
Shelton got a couple of insurance runs in the sixth to reclaim its five-run cushion. Kanios led off the inning with an infield single and stole second and Wells worked a walk. The Gaels executed a double- steal, and Kanios scored on an errant throw. Murphy ripped an RBI single inside of third with two outs to conclude the scoring.
McLoughlin struck out the side in the fourth and fanned three batters again in the sixth. After he recorded an out on the first pitch of the seventh, his pitch count climbing, he issued a walk and was replaced by Craig McNamara, who capped things off with two more strikeouts.
“He can fire the ball by anybody, even the best in the conference,” Shelton coach Scott Gura said of McLoughlin. “He threw the ball very, very well — very hard.”
Gura added that this was the first night game for both teams and thought it might be a tough adjustment for hitters, so he wanted McLoughlin to challenge the opposing players.
“When your pitcher’s throwing that well your job as a hitter is just to get him some runs,” said Kanios, the team’s leadoff hitter. “I just tried to put the ball in play and use my speed.”
Kanios certainly used it effectively, kick-starting the offense on this night.
“He’s the fastest kid I’ve ever coached – the most athletic player I’ve ever coached Gura said. “He won it with his wheels today.”
The Gaels, who were coming off an 8-7 win at Xavier on April 28, host Lyman Hall on Wednesday at 7.