WILTON, Conn. This years edition of the Wilton Little League All-Star team has quite a winning history as it enters the elimination play in the District One tournament. The group of Wilton 12-year-olds has stayed largely intact for three years straight, having won the district championship as 10-year-olds and as 11-year-olds.
But the team might be the best it has ever been this season. And dreams of heading to the Little League World Series are closer than ever to becoming a reality.
Were hoping for [championship] No. 3, Wilton manager Kevin Black said. The first two are accomplishments nobody can take from us, but the 12-year-old district title is the one you really want. Its not just that its a chance to go to Williamsport, but its a hurdle that Wilton hasnt overcome in 35 years.
Wiltons offense has been nothing short of epic to start the postseason, inducing the mercy rule in three of its four pool-play games. The team enters the elimination round having outscored its opponents a staggering 60-3.
Wilton opened the tournament with a 12-2 win over Darien National, then sunk Stamford Northrop, 11-0, bashed Rowayton, 22-1, and cruised past Stamford Federal, 15-0.
I have never seen a team hit as consistently as they hit, Black said. Usually you have a top four or five kids you plan for, but there is literally a home run threat one through nine. Even the kids coming off the bench are a threat too.
Despite the dominant wins, Black remains cautiously optimistic. I wish we played more teams in pool play to see where we really stack up against the different teams, he said. We played some good teams, but maybe didnt see their best pitchers.
But no matter the outcome, Black knows he has coached a special group of kids for the last three years.
The relationships theyve formed is, for me, the most gratifying part about this. Watching this team mature into a bunch of confident young men has been a fun trip, Black said. They all hang out with each other all year long. Theyre all really good friends so they all push each other without me or the other coaches having to do it.
Wilton takes on Norwalk in the District One quarterfinals Sunday at 12:30 p.m. at Bisceglie Field in Weston.
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