DARIEN -- As his team allowed seven runs in the opening inning of Sunday's first-round tournament game, Darien National manager Dave Williams believed he was already witnessing the writing on the wall. And when Wilton led off the second frame by batting through its order while recording only a single out, there was little doubt left that Williams was right.
Plating every player on its roster, Wilton topped Darien National 29-2 in a mercy-rule shortened game in of District 1 Little League double-elimination tournament. Kyle Hyzy went 4-for-4 with a pair of home runs, including a fourth-inning grand slam, to rack up a game-best eight RBIs on the day. Wilton's Dean DiNanno and Drew Phillips also recorded big flies, batting in seven runs between them. Darien catcher James Louis smacked a two-run homer to center in the third inning.
Wilton is set to battle North Stamford tonight at 7:30. Darien National will play Tuesday in an elimination game against either Norwalk or Stamford National.
"We struggled at the plate over the last couple of games, but they were hot today," said Wilton manager Scott Gioffre whose team tallied 19 hits. "We love home runs, obviously. But what I was proud of for these kids was they had hard-hit line drives to left and right. And to me, that's when they're on the ball." Moments after DiNanno scored the game's first run via a bases-loaded walk, Hyzy dropped a double into centerfield, clearing the diamond for an early 4-0 edge. Three more runs and outs later, starter Rich Nolan took the hill and sat down the Darien National hitters in order. Wilton then continued to build its lead in the next half-inning to 14-0, most notably on Phillips' blast, when Nolan took a bases-empty walk with two outs. Hyzy immediately followed with his first ball over the fence, a towering shot to right-center.
The long ball drew Williams out of the dugout to make his second pitching change in as many frames on a day when he would send seven Darien players to toe the rubber. He later admitted the constant maneuvering was motivated both by the hope of finding the right pitcher and limiting each hurler's pitch count before Tuesday's do-or-die contest.
"When you look at the brackets, getting a day off tomorrow is probably the best thing we need," Williams said. "Wilton plays the other No. 1 seed tomorrow and hopefully they'll beat each other up a bit." Henry Williams and Will Kirby combined to pitch the third inning for Darien, as Wilton tacked on five more runs. Kirby started the fourth by allowing a lead-off double, before striking out DiNanno looking. However, upon surrendering a quick walk to the next bitter, he was pulled for Mac McLaughlin, the eventual victim of Hyzy's grand slam.
"I felt like I could get my hands up through it and I just put a good swing on it and it went out," Hyzy said of his second blast. "I have hit two home runs in a game when I was 10, but I didn't have that good of a game."
Wilton 29, Darien National 2
WILTON 7 (11) 5 6 --29 19 2
DARIEN 0 0 2 0 --2 4 3
Records: Wilton 3-2; Darien National 3-2. Batteries: W-- Richard Nolan (W), Michael Angerame, Zayvion Eusebe and Reagan Kahal and Griffin Morris; D--Liam Wilson (L), Ben Olson (2), Glen Fay (2), Aaron Sears (2), Henry Williams (3), Will Kirby (3), Mac McLaughlin (4) and Olson, Jackson Leone and James Louis. Highlights: W-- Kyle Hyzy hit two homers, including a fourth-inning grand slam, totaling eight RBIs. Drew Phillips and Dean DiNanno also hit home runs. Every Wilton player came around to score. D--James Louis blasted a two-run home run to center in the third inning.