Ellington Cruises to District 8 LL Title

Ellington broke open a tight ballgame with a seven run outburst in the fifth inning, en route to a 10-0 victory over Enfield is the District 8 11/12 Little League championship game Friday at Brookside Park.

Ellington’s big rally all came after two batters were out, and featured four hits sandwiched around a hit batsman. Defensive breakdowns by Enfield led to the final three Ellington runs of the inning.

“It was a nail-biter, but you’ve got to play the game as it unfolds and hope you get an opportunity,” Ellington manager Chris Mateya said.

Winning pitcher Ryan Shaw struck out 12 while not walking a batter in posting the shutout. He allowed just five hits.

“Ryan’s a great pitcher; I’ve had the pleasure to have him on the all-star team three years now and he’s been a great pitcher every single year,” Mateya said. “Last year he threw a shutout in the state finals, so he’s a top-notch pitcher.”

Ellington, which acted as the visitors following a pregame coin toss, struck quickly with two runs in the opening frame. Jason Leslie doubled to left field to plate Frank Mozzicato, then Leslie came home on a wild pitch.

Shaw then engaged in a pitchers’ duel over the next three and a half innings with Enfield starter Nick Gilmore, with neither hurler allowing another run through the fourth. Shaw retired eight hitters in a row at one point, while Gilmore had a stretch of 10 consecutive batters retired.

With two out in the top of the fifth, Alex Maningas belted a double to left which was nearly caught on a great diving effort by Enfield’s Dylan Hurlburt. Garrett Phelps drove in Maningas with a single to left and Mozzicato was hit by a pitch, then Leslie cracked a two-run double to left-center to drive Gilmore from the mound.

Matt Curtis greeted reliever Matt Santy with an RBI single to center, then three Enfield errors and a wild pitch led to runs being scored by Curtis, Shaw and Logan Macaluso.

Maningas, who had reached on an error, scored the final run in the sixth on another Enfield miscue.

Leslie had two hits, knocked in three runs and scored twice to pace the Ellington attack. Phelps also had two hits, while Mozzicato and Maningas each scored two runs.

Ben Sosnicki had two hits for Enfield, while Gilmore, Joe Sosnicki and Vinny Delano also hit safely.

The District 8 championship is the first step in Ellington’s quest for a state title. Last year, the 10/11 team, containing many of the current 11/12 players, lost to Trumbull American in the best-of-3 state championship series.

“This was our first goal of the season and we accomplished it,” Mateya said. “We had good competition, having to play South Windsor twice and Enfield twice. We played our A-game against both those teams our second time around. My hat’s off to the kids for that. We’re going to have some fun this weekend and get back to business Monday. I have all the confidence in the world they’ll be focused and ready to go.”

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