Baseball: Shelton splits pair of contests

The Shelton baseball team got exactly what it needed on the hill to start the season as they try and turn around from last seasons 5-15 ledger. Mike Cowell fired a no-hitter in Wednesday's season opening 10-0 win over Branford and the senior hurler struck out 15 in the process for the first Shelton no-hitter since Dave Adam in 1987.

Chris Kanios, John Zoppi and Cowell got the offense on track with three hits each as the Gaels broke the game open scoring five runs in the third as the team banged out 14 hits in the game.

The Gaels could have used a little luck on Saturday as they fell 3-2 to Cheshire. Justin Lynch went six plus innings on the mound and didn¹t allow an earned run but was undone by the only error of the game in the third

A single to center got it started for Cheshire and then a sure double play grounder to shortstop was bobbled and the Rams capitalized scoring two unearned runs to tie the game. Kanios led off the game for Shelton busting a triple to center and scored on a wild pitch in the first. Paul Salley reached on an error to lead off the second and came around to score on a single by Marc Zoppi.

Shelton stranded Mike Ficano at third in the fourth inning and failed to score the go-ahead run in the sixth leaving Lynch at second base. But the most damage occurred in the seventh inning as both teams loaded the bases.

The Gaels got run out of the inning when Jake Camp took off from third on a dropped third strike and got caught in a rundown. It looked like Shelton dodged a bullet when Cheshire loaded the bases but Cowell came on in relief and struck out two batters. The Gaels were almost out of the woods as Cowell fielded a comebacker to the mound but his attempt to bare hand the ball caused a bobble and Rich Mills beat the late throw to first as Altrin Kabashi scored the game-winning run.

It doesn¹t get any easier as Shelton will take on last years Class L state champion Notre Dame of West Haven on Monday with Class LL state champion Amity coming to town the following week.