Wilton beats Darien National for return trip to District 1 final
Wilton manager Bob Cullinan decided against walking O'Malley, who had smacked a pair of home runs earlier in Tuesday's semifinal, with the bases loaded and two outs and Wilton leading by two in the bottom of the fifth. The strategy "worked." O'Malley hit a ball so hard on a bounce to right field that his teammate Max Gosvoda was easily gunned down trying to score the tying run from second base.
"Every time O'Malley came up it was scary," Cullinan said after Wilton earned a berth in the District 1 final with a 10-9 victory at Scalzi Park. "He's such a good player. He just hit it too hard."
O'Malley, who had three hits and four RBI and allowed seven runs in 3-plus innings on the mound, helped Darien National wipe out an early 7-0 deficit with a solo homer in the third and two-run blast during a six-run, fourth-inning rally. But after Wilton scored three times in the top of the fifth following a 20-minute rain delay to take a 10-7 lead. O'Malley came up with the game on the line.
"I wasn't nervous, I've been in that kind of situation before," O'Malley said. "I wasn't trying to hit one out because I knew a single might tie it. But I just hit it too hard."
Wilton, attempting to defend its District 1 title, will face North Stamford or Stamford National in Friday's District 1 championship at 7:30 p.m. at the Springdale Little League field.
"It feels great to get back to the championship game," Wilton's Matt Cipri said. "We kind of relaxed with the big lead but then we got a little nervous. After the rain we felt better and got the lead back."
Nick Condos homered for Wilton in the fifth inning before Scott Vollmer and Nicky Cullinan added RBI singles to make it 10-7. Cullinan led Wilton with four hits and two RBI. Ryan Looney had three hits including a three-run double in the first and a two-run homer in the third, and Cipri added two hits.
But the lead didn't at all feel safe when O'Malley strode to the plate with the bases loaded in the fifth.
"O'Malley is a machine," Darien National manager Kevin Gosvoda said. "He's a great kid, really humble despite his talent, and he delivers in the big moments. The ball just got to the right fielder so fast; it was like he was playing second base instead of right field."
Darien National's Max Gosvoda, who had a two-run homer in the fourth, tried to score from second with two outs, as expected. But he got caught in a rundown between home and third and was eventually tagged out. Wilton reliever Cole Judelson, who relieved Kyle Phillips, then retired the side in order in the bottom of the sixth.
Wilton 10, Darien National 9
WILTON 412 030--10 13 2
DARIEN NATIONAL 001 620--9 10 1
Records: Wilton 5-1, Darien National 3-3. Batteries: W-- Kyle Phillips, Cole Judelson (4, W) and Judelson, Chris Tienken; DN--Sean O'Malley (L), Reid Gesualdi (5) and Mac McLane. Highlights: W--Nicky Cullinan had four hits and two RBI, Ryan Looney had three hits, including a home run, and five RBI, Matt Cipri had two hits, Nick Condos had a home run; DN--O'Malley had three hits, including two home runs, and four RBI, Max Gasvoda had a two-run homer, Glen Fay had an RBI triple.