Post 16 misses out on state playoffs

The Shelton Post 16 American Legion baseball team finished one victory short of qualifying for the state tournament in Zone II.

Manager Steve Boles’ squad split a doubleheader with Milford, a 3-0 win, and Branford, a 3-2 loss. On Friday, Shelton dropped a 6-5 decision to New Haven, before losing the season finale to Branford, 7-1, on Saturday.

Shelton finished tied with Milford for sixth in the Zone, with New Haven (15-15) finishing fifth to secure the final playoff spot.

On Friday, Milford right-hander Ian Zona scattered three hits, but Post 16 made all three of them count. Shelton starter Hudson Boles made the lead stand up, firing a complete-game, five-hit shutout at Post 196.

Tyler Tice singled to lead off the third inning and stole second base, before Vin Backert reached on a one-out error.

C.J. Rizzo followed with a grounder to second base, which R.J. Jackson fielded and flipped to the shortstop Jimmy Palmer at the bag. But, Rizzo beat Palmer’s throw to first — allowing Tice to score the game’s first run.

Shelton scored two more runs in the bottom of the fourth inning.

Jake Camp drew a walk to start the uprising and Jordan Urbani singled to right field. After John Zoppi bunted them over, Marc Zoppi punched an RBI single to left field.

Tice followed with a run-scoring groundout to make it 3-0. Tice’s groundout was the first of eight in a row retired by Zona to close out the game, but the damage was already done.

Milford looked to break through in the fifth inning.

Kevin Connors reached on an error and Nick Tuozzola singled to right field with one out. Boles worked out of the jam, getting Sean Clark to hit into a fielder’s choice and striking out Tyler Kasuba to end the threat.

Palmer singled with one out in the sixth, but Shelton center fielder Michael Rotondo threw out Palmer looking to stretch it out into a double.

Post 196 brought the tying run to the plate in the top of the seventh, before Boles finished off the complete-game shutout.

Pinch hitter Kurt Holden doubled into the left-field corner and Tuozzola notched his second base hit of the game. Boles then got Clark to hit a game-ending grounder to John Zoppi at first base.