Baseball: Shelton wins pair, qualifies for states

Shelton High’s baseball team clinched a state playoff berth with a 7-1 win over Abbott Tech on Saturday.

Two nights later, the Gaels bolstered their state standing while improving its Southern Connecticut Conference postseason hopes with a 10-3 triumph over Foran of Milford, avenging a loss to the Lions earlier this campaign. Both games were held at Shelton High.

The Gaels improved to 9-6 overall.

Against Abbott Tech, the Gaels jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning and tacked on three in the third. Joey Romano had a two-run single in the opening inning. Nick Walsh had a double, walk and run scored. Matt Hunyadi and Jafar Vohra also had hits, and Vohra scored a run.

Shelton batters worked six walks in the contest.

Vohra and Mike Kennedy combined to strike out 11 batters and allow just three hits and Vohra went four and 1/3 innings and Kennedy was on the mound for the final 2 2/3 frames.

“They came out and did their job,” said Shelton coach Scott Gura, adding that the Gaels had to fight off some Senior Night emotions.

In the win over Foran, pitcher Justin Hafele went the distance and allowed just four hits.

“It all starts with our pitching. It all started with Justin,” Gura said. “The fact he threw a complete game four-hitter is a great job out of him. When he throws first-pitch strikes and can mix in his breaking ball he’s very effective.”

Hafele pitched to contact and generated most of his outs on fly balls and grounders. Gura was especially pleased that Hafele pitched the entire game.

“When you play at the beginning of the week you want to see your pitchers go deep into games,” said Gura, explaining that Hafele’s effort saved other arms for games to be played Wednesday and Saturday.

Hafele was lights out through four innings, when the lights at the field actually went out for several minutes. Once they came back on, Hafele remained on his game and pitched a one-two-three fourth inning.

The Gaels seized a 2-0 lead in the first inning with a two-out rally.

Hunyadi got things started with a double, one of his four hits. Romano followed with an RBI single and Walsh singled before Kennedy knocked in the second run.

In the third inning, Dylan DeSio worked a full-count walk, stole second, and scored on another Hunyadi double. After Romano singled, a Kennedy sacrifice fly made it 4-0.

Shelton more than doubled its lead with five runs in the fourth, highlighted by a two-run double off the bat of DeSio and a two-RBI single by Hunyadi

“He’s a big, strong kid who worked hard in the offseason,” Gura said of Hunyadi, who finished with two doubles, two singles, three RBI and three runs scored.

Kennedy belted an RBI single to cap the scoring in the frame. Romano (who had three singles in the game) was tagged out trying to score on the play.

T.J. O’Sullivan added an RBI double in the sixth.

Alex Kozlowski was robbed of a hit on a hard liner to short.

Gura said the Gaels likely need to win four of five remaining games to qualify for the SCC tourney.

“We’ve got to keep winning games,” he said.

Shelton hosts Guilford on Wednesday at 7 and visits North Haven Saturday at 7.