Kondor, Backert power Shelton Post 16 past Milford Post 196 (Updated)

The Shelton Post 16 baseball team knocked off host Milford Post 196, 4-1, on Saturday afternoon at Foran High in a Zone II American Legion matchup.

“That’s a good win over a very, very good Milford team,” Post 16 manager Fred Kelley said. “They’re a well-coached team... It was a team win, everyone contributed to the win today.”

Bryan Kondor had two hits and three RBIs for Shelton (9-7), while Vinny Backert chipped in with an RBI single. Backert also turned a game-ending double play at third base on a sharply-hit ball by Milford’s Ed Michaud in the bottom of the seventh.

Milford (10-5) loaded the bases with one out, knocking Shelton starter Scott Cataudella out after he walked Pat Boyle and Jake Saley consecutively.

Jeremy Soderholm came on in relief, getting a grounder from Kyle Winters that forced a wide throw from shortstop Dustin Chmielewski.

The error loaded the bases for Michaud, who ripped a hard grounder down the third-base line that Backert snared — stepping on the base and firing to first to complete the victory-clinching double play.

Cataudella (3-1) worked 6 1/3 innings, surrendering just three hits, striking out four and walking seven.

“Kudos to Scott Cataudella,” Kelley said. “He just pitched a great game. He wants to pitch at Sacred Heart. He’s been awesome. He’s an amazing kid, a kid I’ve known for so many years.”

In the bottom of the first inning, Cataudella worked out of a jam by stranding a pair of Milford base runners. With one out, Kyle Winters and Michaud drew back-to-back walks. Post 196 slugger Joe Zanghi then hit a slow roller to shortstop, which Chmielewski fielded and threw across the diamond for the second out.

Shawn Cariglio then pulled a hard grounder toward the hole between first and second. Post 16 second baseman Tyler Tice made a sliding stop to his glove side, throwing out Cariglio to end the inning.

Shelton scored the game’s first run in the top of the third inning, sparked by a one-out walk to Chmielewski.

Marcello Ursini (2-for-3, one walk) followed with a single to left field, before Tice fouled out to first base for the second out. Kondor provided the big two-out hit, slashing a run-scoring single to left field to make it 1-0. Saley, the Milford starter, limited the damage to the lone run, retiring Backert on a fly ball to left field.

Backert drove in Tice, who led off the inning with an infield hit, with a one-out single in the top of the sixth to extend the Shelton margin to 2-0.

Milford nicked a run off of Cataudella in the bottom of the frame.

After allowing just singles to Cody Hadden and Saley over the first five innings, Cataudella surrendered a booming RBI triple to Cariglio to plate Zanghi — who had worked a one-out walk.

But, Cataudella defused the threat, as Chmielewski snagged a liner off of the bat of Christian Baglini and Kondor threw out Matt Ferraiolo after a dropped third strike.

Post 16 padded its lead in the top of the seventh, as reliever Nick Pinto issued back-to-back, one-out walks to Mike Ferro and Chmielewski.

Michaud replaced Pinto and walked Ursini to load the bases, before striking out Tice. Kondor then belted a two-run double, pushing the lead to 4-1 heading into the bottom of the seventh.

With the victory, Shelton moved one step closer to securing a bid in the state tournament.

“We have nine (wins) with eight (games) left,” Kelley said. “It’s going to be the hardest year to get into the playoffs because now you have to win 14... We’ve been battling away.”