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Errors, Daniello Sink Wilton in Baseball Playoffs

WILTON, Conn. – The Wilton High School baseball team entered the conference playoffs as one of the hottest teams in the league, winning 10 of its last 11 games. Unfortunately for the Warriors, they had to go up against one of the hottest pitchers in the state — Brien McMahon High School's Bryan Daniello. The Senators’ ace allowed just two hits, struck out ten and retired the final 16 batters of the game to sink Wilton’s playoff hopes, 4-1.

Paul Merolla was almost equally as dominant on the mound for Wilton, scattering five hits and striking out seven in a complete-game effort. His defense could not back him up, though, as the Warriors committed three errors that led to three unearned McMahon runs.

“Our defense that led us to win 10 out of 11 didn’t show up today,” Wilton manager Tim Eagen said. “McMahon executed when they had to. I had a feeling going into this one it would be a close game.”

McMahon also gave Wilton fits with several well-executed bunts that the Warriors continued to throw away. The 6-foot-7 Merolla struggled to come down off the mound quick enough to collect the bunts.

The game started in Wilton’s favor when Connor Buehler launched a solo home run over the left field fence in the top of the second. McMahon responded quickly, as Jamie Restivo doubled after an eleven-pitch at-bat. Losing that battle seemed to rattle Wilton, and the Senators scored twice thanks to a throwing error and an RBI groundout.

That would be all the offense McMahon would need with Daniello cruising on the mound, despite nursing a broken right ring finger. Of the final 16 batters the UConn-bound Daniello retired, only one ball put in play got out of the infield.

“Give Daniello all the credit in this one. He gave up the home run to Buehler and he bore down and that made him tougher,” Eagen said. “[Daniello] makes you look bad. We just have to get past the hangover for this game and get ready for states.”

Wilton will now await its opponent in the Class L state tournament, which begins next week.

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