Legion baseball: Shelton overcomes heat to win two games

Shelton Post 16 American Legion baseball players competed in two-plus games on Sunday, battling intense heat to defeat Danbury 5-3 in completion of a suspended game and then shutting out the Hatters 2-0 at Shelton High.

Shelton and Danbury picked up in the fifth inning of a game suspended by rain earlier in the season with Shelton leading 5-3. Coach Tom Murphy’s Post 16 squad won by that score, then blanked Danbury in a game rescheduled from Thursday because of rain.

Ryan Murphy’s three-run triple stood up to the test of time in the win over Danbury. Garrett Cafaro and Will Ciccone combined efforts on the mound to help Shelton to victory.

In the 2-0 win, Ricardo Torres pitched a complete game one-hitter with three walks. David Wells knocked in both runs with a single, plating Torres and Francis DeMarco, who singled and walked, respectively.

Torres had a 93-pitch effort to get the job done.

“That’s his best outing of the summer so far. We really needed that to save our other pitchers. We needed Ricky to go deep into the game,” said coach Murphy.

In addition to the pileup of games necessitated by the weather, Shelton is without pitcher Tyler Cafaro due to injury.

A noontime contest with Bethel featured more strong pitching, but Shelton lost a 3-1 decision.

Bethel jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning, aided by a trio of Shelton errors, and that was the difference in the final game of the weekend.

Wells and John Bucci combined to shut down Bethel the rest of the way. Post 16 scored its only run in the bottom of the first, when Wells doubled and scored on a Shaun Hills’ single.

Shelton’s bats were silenced by Bethel pitcher Kyle Roche out of Newtown High.

“The sun came out and I think we started to melt after that,” coach Murphy said jokingly, referring to the morning cloud cover giving way to the sun broke  through and temperatures soared into the 90s. “I think we just wilted with the bats after a little while.”

Shelton had won three of four contests, including a 2-0 victory in eight innings at Washington on June 26.

Will Ciccone and Tyler Cafaro both went four innings on the mound. Wells drove in the tie-breaking/ ice-breaking run and Garrett Cafaro knocked in the other. Tyler Cafaro had a key hit in the inning.

At the midpoint of the campaign and his team playing better ball of late, Murphy is hoping his team can sneak into the postseason.

“We have a puncher’s chance, but we need to get on a roll. We need to beat the teams that are ahead of us and that’s the challenge,” he said. “Dave Meyer (assistant coach) and all the players are all in and I appreciate the effort.”

Shelton held a 1-0 lead in the sixth inning over Zone IV leader Oakville before falling 3-1 in a game earlier in June. It had defeated Naugatuck and Bethel, while staying competitive in some one- and two-run defeats this season.

“We’ve had flashes,” Murphy said of his team performing at a postseason-worthy level. “We’ve beaten the better teams. We just need to put it together.”

Shelton will carry a record of 5-9 into Tuesday’s doubleheader with Washington.