Baseball: McNamara, Gaels outduel Hornets

Craig McNamara threw a complete-game two-hitter to help Shelton High to a 1-0 SCC non-league victory over Branford High on Thursday night.

It was the second time this season McNamara, who struck out six and did not allow a walk, defeated the Hornets (9-7). The senior right-hander hit Devin DeRenzo with a pitch to start the top of the seventh, before pinch-runner Zachary Ellison stole second base following a botched pickoff. McNamara then sandwiched two grounders from Ross Prior and Mike Gogliettino around a strikeout of Luke DiStasio to nail down the victory.

Shelton (7-6) snapped a two-game losing streak and needs one victory to qualify for the Class LL state tournament for the second year in a row.

McNamara's pitching counterpart, Carson Mendoza, was the hard-luck loser for Branford. The sophomore right-hander allowed just a two-out RBI single to Carl Kopf in the bottom of the second inning. Coach Scott Gura's Gaels managed just three hits, two from Joe Zoppi, as Mendoza struck out seven and walked five.

McNamara also defeated Branford, 4-1, back on April 15 to earn his first varsity victory. He has only allowed one earned run all season.

The Hornets won have already clinched the SCC Oronoque Division title, going 8-0, but have gone 1-7 against non-league competition.

The Gaels return to action on Sunday at 5 p.m. with a road game at Trumbull (11-5), before hosting North Haven (6-10) on Monday night at 7 p.m.

Branford returns to action on Monday with a road game in Wallingford against Sheehan High (10-6).