Wilton’s 12U All-Star Little League baseball team is inspiring a lot of summertime hope, as the team’s back-to-back victories Tuesday and Wednesday mean they’ll be headed to the District Championship this weekend. They’ll face Weston for the District 1 12-Year-Old Little League title.
Getting there has been an improbable story, according to the team’s head coach Michael Daversa. “This is the most unpredictable thing, beating three Stamford teams to get here. No one expected us to be here, no one expected this. It is such a great feeling for kids and for the coaches.”
The improbable started July 6, when Wilton logged its only loss in a District championship bracket game to Stamford National, 0-4. After that, Wilton beat Stamford North on July 7, 4-3.
Then they played Stamford American on Tuesday, July 10, and won 11-3, increasing the feeling of momentum. The game was intense, according to parents, with the boys showing grit in battling back from a two-point, 1-3 deficit with an 8-run streak in the 5th inning. The offensive drive was shored up in large part to pitcher Justin Lewis, who was able to hurl nine strikeouts, and only three hits and two walks, to help assure Wilton’s victory.
Wednesday night’s exciting match-up saw Wilton overcome Stamford National–the team that beat them just five days before. Wilton took an early 1-0 lead in the top of the 1st inning, until Stamford tied it 1-1 in the 2nd inning. Wilton moved ahead one more run in the 3rd, and they continued to hold tight until the top of the 5th inning, when Wilton’s Michael Fischetti hit a two-run homer to bring the score to its final 4-1.
“That 4-1 lead gave us some breathing room; 2-1 is way too close,” Daversa recounted. But what really made the game, he says, is what he’s been telling the team all along: “Pitching and defense is going to win games. You just gotta hit a little bit. From the start, we knew we had pitching and we had defense. The reason we’re in the championship now is because of those two things.”
The bulk of the night’s pitching was handled by starter Cole Silvia, who pitched more than 70 pitches over four full innings and into the fifth, until he was relieved by Max Jarvie, who got the save. “We needed Cole to go at least four innings, and he was outstanding. And then Max, for the fourth time in two weeks, came in and saved the game for us,” Daversa said.
Daversa gave a lot of credit to all his players.
“These kids are all contributing. It’s fun to watch, they’re all playing great. Me and the other coaches, we’re the architects. The kids, they build the house. We just design the plan but they followed the game plan to perfection every single game. It’s them. We map it out, and the kids execute it to perfection,” he says.
The improbability of getting to this point–a Wilton team hasn’t made it this far in District play in several years–is not lost on the coach.
“We’re very excited. To win three straight games is improbable, but we just did it. We lost to this Stamford [National] team 4-0 last Friday, and we reversed everything. And that we’re facing Weston in the finals! We were up against the giants–Stamford, Norwalk–we’re just two little towns with a handful of talent.
Because Wilton has lost one game during District play, and Weston has lost no games at all, Wilton must beat Weston twice, in games that will be played Friday and Saturday, if needed. If Wilton wins Friday, they’ll need to win again on Saturday to take the title. Weston, on the other hand, is undefeated in district competition, so it only needs to win one game to nab the title.