Legion baseball: Shelton Valley defeats Torrington Post 38

SHELTON — Brendan Palmer went the distance to pitch Shelton Valley Legion to a 6-1 victory over Torrington Post 38 on Saturday.

Palmer is a rising sophomore at Ansonia High.

"Brendan did a great job mixing up his pitches," Shelton Valley head coach Ron Luneau said of his right hander. "He kept them off balance and got the big strike outs."

Palmer only 15 years old, knows what it takes to pitch at this level.

"I have to find my location," he said. "Batters here are bigger and stronger, so you don't want to make a mistake or they will hit it. I had command of my fastball and my slider. Working with Aaron (Kirby) at catcher is great. We communicate well."

Shelton Valley's roster is made up of players from the towns of Shelton, Ansonia and Derby. The team also has players who competed scholastically at St. Joseph-Trumbull and Notre Dame-Fairfield.

"Unlike high school, with summer ball you have players working jobs," Luneau said. "They miss practices and it takes time to get familiar with each other. One advantage is being from the Valley...Players are aware of each other and they find each other. It is only game six and we are still figuring things out. It's like a puzzle."

Shelton Valley put two runs on the board in the first two innings against Torrington left-hander Casey Weingart.

"We don't score much when Casey is on the mound," Post 38 head coach Doug Pergola said of his lean lefty, who pitched Northwestern Regional to the Class M quarterfinals where they lost to eventual champion St. Joseph. He pitched the No. 3 seed to a 3-2 nine-inning victory over No. 30 Ansonia in the first round of states.

"With Casey we've lost 4-0 and 1-0 and again today. He pitched well; we need to put hits together."

Torrington's defense accounted for two double plays, and each infielder made difficult plays look easy.

That was key in the Shelton Valley first at bat.

Tyler Cafaro was hit by a pitch before third baseman Brad Ellis made a fine play on Jason Ostrowski's grounder. Aaron Kirby then ripped a run-scoring double to deep left-center field. He went to third on a wild pitch. Garrett Cafaro drove the ball into the hole at second, but Colin Ferrer cut it off and got the out at first. A run scored, but the rally was halted.

Palmer gave up a two-out double to Ellis in the first only to leave him stranded. Ellis, out of Avon Old Farms, was a nemesis of Palmer's as he added an infield hit and took the ball deep in the gap but was denied by a running catch by Tyler Cafaro in center.

Shelton Valley doubled its advantage in the second.

Chris Oliwa (Avery Point) singled with one out. After Chandler Coe (Loomis Chaffee) at shortstop made a fine play for the second out, Jake Cook lined a pitch to right field. Oliwa, with a great secondary lead, took the score to 3-0 on the single.

Luneau called for a hit-and-run and Tyler Cafaro slapped a first pitch single to right. With runners on the corners, he got hung up and the double steal worked as Cook crossed the plate.

Weingart didn't allow a hit the next four frames, but Palmer was almost as stingy.

Eric Odenwaelder (Wamago) earned the first walk off Palmer with one out in the third. C.J. Root then hit into a well-turned 6-4-3 double play by Alex Kozlowski, with Cook throwing to Garrett Cafaro at first.

Ellis' second hit got him on board in the fourth, but the combo defense of Kozlowski and Cook turned the next two grounders into inning-ending force outs.

Ellis went around the horn to negate Luke Kirby's free pass in the Shelton Valley fourth.

Torrington scored with two outs in the fifth.

Ethan Collins walked with one out and stole a pair of bases around one of Palmer's 10 strikeouts. He scored on Odenwaelder's infield hit to the right side. Root doubled to right, but Palmer's seventh K left two runners in scoring position.

Weingart struck out two in the home fifth, and catcher James Gaskins threw out a runner attempting to steal.

Tyler Cafaro tracked down Ellis' drive to start the Torrington sixth. Oliwa in left made a highlight-reel diving grab on Mike Paniati's sinking liner for the second out. Palmer put the third out in the book on strikes.

Shelton Valley added two runs in the sixth.

Garrett Cafaro and Oliwa had hits. Oliwa and Kozlowski had the RBIs.


Torrington       000 010 0 -- 1 4 3

Shelton Valley 220 002 x -- 6 6 1

Batteries: Torrington- Casey Weingart (LP) and James Gaskins; Shelton Valley- Brendan Palmer (WP) and Aaron Kirby

Records: Torrington 1-5; Shelton Valley 3-3