One bad inning cost Wilton the baseball game Monday against undefeated Fairfield Warde. The Warriors were unable to complete their comeback after the Mustangs scored eight first-inning runs en route to a 9-6 victory at Fairfield.
"At 4:30 [game-time], Warde was ready to play and we were not,'' Wilton coach Tim Eagan said after his team fell to 2-2 overall and 1-2 against FCIAC teams. "They chipped away, and you can't question their fight. But you can't give a team like Fairfield Warde extra runs and extra outs. The hill was too big."
Pitcher Paul Merola deserved a better fate. Fairfield pieced together a run in the first on a leadoff double, a sacrifice and an infield groundout. Warde's Dan Warren reached on an error, and John Gallucci followed with a two-run home run. The Mustangs went on to send 11 batters to the plate, ripped six hits and took advantage of two errors and three wild pitches. Seven of the eight runs were unearned. Ouch!
"This league is competitive, and the margin of error is so small that mistakes are the difference between winning and losing,'' Eagen said. "That's why they're 4-0 and we're 2-2."
Merola allowed just two hits the rest of the way and retired the last 12 batters. His teammates almost brought the Warriors all the way back.
Mike DiPilato (3-for-4, three RBIs) had a double and slammed a two-run home run in the fourth to bring the score to 9-4. Wilton added two more in the sixth on DiPilato's RBI single and an RBI single by Zack Ellenthal. Evan Roux (two hits) was thrown out at home on a delayed steal Eagen argued the call vigorously and Wilton sent the tying run to the plate with two out in the seventh. "We had our chances,'' Eagen said. "We couldn't get the clutch hit."
Wilton ripped 10 hits, but left seven runners on base, five of them in scoring position. While the Warriors put up a good fight, the difficult first inning was too much to overcome.
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