BY KEN MORSE
The District 3 all-star tournaments capped off the 2022 Little League baseball season and the common response from the coaching staffs was that area teams have a bright future ahead of them.
“This is the first year in decades that we didn’t have Wendle Stiber and Bob Lang with us for the tournament,” said Scott Carroll, assistant district administrator. “They were definitely with us in spirit and deserve a mention. For the most part the Naugatuck, Prospect and Beacon Falls teams had young rosters but as most coaches felt, the future looks bright for Little League baseball.”
In the 8-10 year-old division, the Prospect Little League compiled a 2-2 record, scoring 26 runs and allowing 10 to score. Prospect opened with a quick 17-2 win over Robert A. Cole of Beacon Falls. A 2-0 loss to Shelton put them in the elimination bracket where they bounced back with a 5-0 win over Watertown-Oakville. A 6-4 loss to George J. Hummel of Seymour ended the promising run for Prospect.
Beacon Falls was eliminated following an 18-1 loss to Seymour. Union City struck for two runs in the opener before getting upended by Monroe 16-2. Ryan Hurd and Jordan Morales singled and came around to score on a two-run single from Avery Zbell.
Jack Mezzo threw four and one-third innings of no-hit ball, striking out eight against Seymour and also drove in Zbell with an RBI single. Tyler Clapes made some dazzling plays behind the plate and kept runners from advancing but it wasn’t enough as Seymour eliminated Union City, 4-2.
The Peter J. Foley 9-11 year-old All-Stars had a tough go of it, having to face one of the finalists twice. PJF lost the opener, 10-0, to Shelton. The Foley boys bounced back, earning a 4-1 win over Seymour with Brayden Looker throwing a complete game gem. PJF faced Shelton again and got eliminated in a 17-2 setback.
“The kids loved the experience and never hung their heads, but runs were hard to come by.” commented coach Michael Worobelut.
In the Major Division, both Union City and PJF saw their tournament hopes dashed by Shelton. Aiden Santos pitched a great game for UCLL in the opener, striking out 10 in five innings and allowing just two runs, but Seymour plated two runs late to pull out a 4-2 win.
Playing in the elimination bracket, Jacob Hurd tossed another strong game for UCLL, striking out 10 in five innings while surrendering only one run in a 9-1 victory over Water-Oak. Gavin Henry had multiple hits to spark the offense. The run ended with a 19-2 loss to Shelton.
PJF made a strong run, going 2-2 in the tournament. They scored 14 runs and allowed 14. It was a tough 3-2 loss to Monroe in the opener that sent the Foley boys into the elimination bracket. PJF put together a pair of victorie,s 4-2 over Robert A. Cole of Beacon Falls and 8-4 against Seymour. Liam Abbott had two outstanding pitching performances, but Shelton came out on top in the next game 5-0 to end the tournament run.
“We got two absolutely gutsy performances on his part as Liam kept us in it,” commented PJF coach John Didato. “Runs were a true team effort as hits were hard to come by in the tournament.”
“Most of the leagues rostered some young teams, but the experience of playing in the tournament is invaluable for the younger players when they come back next season,” added Carroll.
BY KEN MORSE