WALLINGFORD — After lackluster offensive performances in the first two games of the season, Wallingford’s U19 baseball team righted the ship Tuesday night in a 13-0, five-inning rout of Branford at Pat Wall Field.
And with that, Wallingford picked up its first win in the CT Elite Baseball Association, the independent league that is filling in for the 2020 American Legion season that was canceled due to COVID-19.
“We’re all excited to be back and we know there's some precautions that need to be taken,” said head coach John Amendola. “Everybody’s excited, everyone’s happy, everybody’s into it. We have 15 guys that are here every game and every practice.”
After twice being two-hit in 5-2 and 4-0 season-opening losses to Madison, Wallingford struck early in the bottom of the first against Branford when Joe Amarone reached home on a fielder’s choice by Kyle Simmons.
The offense did not let up. Wallingford scored another two runs in the second inning and two more in the third. John Cotter scored after Justin Hackett was hit by a pitch and Aiden Weir crossed the plate after a wild pitch by Branford starting pitcher Mike Virginelli.
Virginelli went two innings deep and recorded six walks, four strikeouts, three hits and three runs.
Wallingford put the game away with eight runs in the fourth inning. The eruption was capped by extra base hits from Weir and Simmons.
Throughout the night, Wallingford had no shortage of runners on base. The home team drew 10 walks and stole five bases.
“In the first two games, we went outside the zone a lot,” said Amendola. “Today, we were more patient and let those pitches go.”
Anthony Cretella started on the rubber for Wallingford. He went four innings, yielding only one hit while striking out three.
Nathaniel Emerton walked one and struck out one pitching the final inning in his return from an injury.
The offense was led by Weir and Simmons. Weir singled twice, doubled, stole a base and plated three runs. Simmons walked once and cleared the bases with a triple to the right-center gap.
After improving to 1-2 on the season, Wallingford traveled to Branford on Wednesday for a rematch. Wallingford host West Haven back at Pat Wall on Saturday at 10 a.m.