SOUTHINGTON — The Wallingford Silver Storm continue increasing in value. It could lead to gold in the Connecticut Collegiate Baseball League.
The second-year squad advanced to the CCBL championship series by completing a two-game semifinal sweep of the Southington Shock with a 10-0 victory on Monday night at Southington High School.
Spotted a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning, Silver Storm starting pitcher Brendan O’Connell took it from there. The former Lyman Hall Trojan and current Bentley Falcon fired a no-hitter and walked just two before the game was halted after six innings by the mercy rule.
Mark D’Augelli led the offensive charge for Wallingford. He got the Silver Storm on the board with a RBI double in the first inning, increased the lead with a two-run double in the second and later drove in a fourth run with a ground out.
Add it up and the Silver Storm didn’t merely sweep the Shock, they dusted them. The Wallingford squad took the opening game 3-0 behind a combined shutout from Gary Costello and O’Connell and outscored the Shock 13-0 in the best-of-three series.
”We hit the ball well — Mark D’Augelli is really on fire — we ran the bases well and played really good defense. And what can you say? You get a no-hitter from your pitcher,” said Silver Storm head coach Matt Altieri. “So we go into the finals, I think, playing about as good as we have all year.”
Along with D’Augelli’s first double of the night, Wallingford established its 3-0 lead in the first inning on a Pete Abate single and a Brandon Clark double. D’Augelli’s second two-bagger made it 5-0 one inning later.
The extra-base hits kept coming for the Storm. Zach Barlok and Wil Coleman doubled home runs to push the lead to 8-0 in the third. After D’Augelli’s RBI groundout in the fifth, Coleman singled home another run in the sixth.
That made it 10-0. O’Connell just needed to keep the Shock off the board in the bottom half to end it. He did more, completing his no-hitter.
Thus, a team in just its second season, standing at 16-7 after winning just two games a year ago, heads to the championship series in a 10-year-old league that features five of the original franchises. That includes the Glastonbury Arrows, the team that finished in first place during the regular season and the team likely to be awaiting the second-place Silver Storm in the finals.
”If you think you’re the best team in the league, there’s only one way to find out,” Altieri told his team after Monday’s game. “Go play those games the best you can and prove to the league that you are the best team.