Throughout the summer season, the Wilton Little League 12U All-Star team had been focused on a singular goal: to win the CT Little League District One Championship. Their hard work and dedication led to that and so much more. By the time the season ended, they were also CT Little League Section One Champions and a state finalist, going further than any Wilton team had in 70 years.
The talent of the group was matched by their discipline and commitment to development, which led to a long list of achievements including: three straight district finals appearances, two district titles and only the fifth Wilton team ever to win 12U districts, first Wilton team to win sectionals, first Wilton team to make the state finals and 29 total wins this Spring and Summer against the top competition in the state.
Each member of the team made significant contributions throughout the season. They played together as a true team, with each one understanding his role and performing it to the best of his ability at every game and practice.
The pitching staff was led by Colton Smith, whose blazing fastball and sharp curve dominated hitters throughout the season. In 35 innings, Smith struck out 74 batters and only gave up 12 earned runs. Charlie Cretella, Jeff Fox, and Casey Meyer combined for 42 strikeouts in 42 innings and only gave up 16 earned runs. Gavin Toohill and Mario Coppola rounded out a rotation that had a team ERA of less than 2 against the best teams in the state.
Ethan Driscoll caught the pitching staff throughout the season, proving to a be a brick wall while keeping runners from stealing with his strong arm. Driscoll’s defense was supplemented with six hits including three doubles and a home run during district play. Cole Herbst backed up the catching position and provided an offensive punch with eight hits of his own, including three doubles and a long-distance tape measure home run in the state tournament to support his 0.444 batting average.
First base was manned by Meyer and Smith, who provided a highly productive middle of the order combination on offense, leading the team with 13 RBIs each. Meyer also led the team in hits with 19 for a 0.442 batting average, ending the season going 7-for-11 in the state tournament. Smith roped 16 hits on his way to a 0.390 average, including five doubles and a moon-shot home run in the state tournament. Impressively, the power hitter did not strike out once this season but was walked 10 times.
Toohill’s consistent defense and mobility at second base was matched by his offensive production as the team’s leadoff hitter. He led the team in batting average, on-base percentage and runs at 0.531, 0.625, and 12 respectively, consistently setting the table for the middle of the order to drive him in.
Coppola continued to shine at shortstop, proving that he belongs among best in the state at the position. He made plays both deep in the hole and on the run to rob multiple batters of infield base hits. His defense was matched by his offensive production with 14 hits and 10 runs for a 0.333 batting average.
Cretella was at 3B when not on the mound, using his arm and great hands at the hot corner. Cretella was one of the most consistent and productive hitters on the team, ending the season among the team leaders with 18 hits, 12 RBIs and 11 runs. He only struck out twice but was walked seven times. He also had an impressive ERA of 0.720 on the mound across 16 2/3 innings.
Greg Bocchino provided depth in the infield, but it was his speed on the bases that proved crucial down the stretch. Bocchino’s maximum effort sprint and slide into second base in the last inning of the Fairfield American game kept Wilton’s season alive and propelled them to a walk-off win that night and the Sectional Championship a day later. Bocchino was among the team leaders with 8 runs scored.
Denny Dustin continued to be the captain of the outfield, tracking down balls far, wide, and to the fence throughout the season. He had multiple on-the-run catches to stop opponents’ rallies in their tracks in each tournament. Dustin also managed to get Wilton’s only hit against Manchester‘s ace in the final championship game.
Gavin Levenherz’s outfield skills were on full display throughout the season in left field, tracking down balls with ease and grace. On offense, Levenherz took advantage of his tremendous speed to tally 8 runs scored while also driving in 6 runs for the team.
Fox provided depth in the outfield when he was not closing games out on the mound. At the plate, Fox notched a 0.368 on-base percentage, leading to 5 runs scored for the team. On the mound Fox continued to be impressive with 17 strikeouts versus 5 walks over 16 2/3 innings. Fox closed out the championship game against Darien by going 1 2/3 scoreless innings to capture the title for his team.
Peter Braid patrolled right field flawlessly for the Warriors throughout the tournament, but it was his bat that spoke loudest throughout the season. Braid notched 13 hits, including a team-leading 6 doubles and an opposite-field home run during district play. He was also second on the team (along with Cretella) with 12 RBIs.
Anthony Palumbo provided depth in right field for the Warriors, but it was his ability to put together clutch at-bats in key situations that proved to be incredibly valuable to the team. Palumbo drew a walk-off-walk to drive in the winning run against Fairfield American in the sectional tournament, keeping Wilton alive and allowing them to win the Sectional Championship a night later. He also ignited Wilton’s rally vs. Simsbury in the state semifinal game with a 2RBI single to left.
Wilton was managed by Kevin Toohill along with coaches Aaron Meyer, Peter Braid and Dennis Dustin.
Each team member’s contributions were critical to Wilton’s historic run. In the end, they left everything they had on the field. Wilton looks forward to watching these players continue to work and develop for years to come.