David Wells is quickly winding down his high school athletic career at Shelton.
Monday afternoon he proved once again his importance to the Gael in a 2-1 Southern Connecticut Conference win over Foran.
As the team’s lead-off hitter, he reached first in the opening inning with a perfectly-placed bunt before being moved to second on Will Ciccone’s sacrifice. He quickly moved to third on a wild pitch before running home on Matt Hunyadi’s sacrifice fly to left.
With the score tied at 1 in the sixth and time running out, Wells laced a single to left, driving in Ryan Murphy with what proved to be the winning run.
Then in the bottom half of the frame when Foran was rallying in an attempt to get the tying run, Wells made a defensive gem at short, keeping Kevin Lanese’s hard ground ball in the infield and avoiding the Lions from scoring.
If he was needed to pitch, which he wasn’t, Wells could very well have made a mound appearance for the Gaels who, with the win, evened their record at 3-3.
“The way he played today makes him a strong candidate as an All-Conference player,” said Shelton coach Scott Gura. “He scored a run, drove one in and then prevented the tying run from scoring.”
Wells has been a three-sport player, and a very good one, at Shelton. He quarterbacked the football team; was a top scorer on the Gaels’ basketball team and is now completing his 12th scholastic season. He’ll head off to Springfield College in the fall, where he’ll compete in football and baseball.
The Gaels struggled offensively on Monday, as did the Lions. Each team left 10 runners on base.
Shelton did get enough pitching out of starting and winning pitcher Carl Kopf, along with Jafar Vohra and Trey McLouglin.
Kopf, who struck out six and walked two, worked into the fifth while Vohra got the Gaels into the seventh and McLoughlin, who will pitch next year at Fairfield University, finished up, throwing 25 pitches to get the save.
“We’re going to have to execute to win games, we’ve been saying that all season long,” Gura said. “Pitching and defense will have to be a big part of things for us. Today, we just went cold for too long. We left too many runners on base.”
“I’m always happy when I can do my part,” Wells said. “Coach gave me the green light on that at-bat in the sixth. He has confidence in me.”
Murphy had led off the inning with a walk and stole second. But Foran starter David Payne got the next two outs, as he was closing in on 118 pitches thrown. Wells selected his pitch before hitting his liner into left.
Down 1-0, Foran tied the game in the fifth.
J.T.Lanese’s opposite-field single to left produced the run which chased home Tyler Heenan. Lanese was the first batter that Vohra faced, but the run was charged to Kopf.
Wells had half of Shelton’s four hits on Monday.
The loss dropped Foran to 1-6 and in five of those losses, the Lions have scored two or fewer runs.
“We’ve suffered some very lop-sided losses so far this year,” said Foran coach Garrett Walker. “At least this wasn’t a bad loss. We were able to compete today. We had scoring situations in just about every inning. But we’re going to have to put together some offense pretty soon. The season is moving right along.”