MADISON — Music blared from the dugouts as the faint smell of nearby Long Island Sound lofted over Madison Town Campus.
The outfield and bleachers were filled with fans, friends and relatives.
This is postseason baseball. And for the Wallingford U19 baseball team, postseason baseball goes on.
The Wallingford Cardinals made the trek to Madison on Monday night to face off against the host Tigers in the Division 2 play-in tournament of the CT Elite Baseball Association.
The Cardinals returned to Wallingford victorious, prevailing 6-0 in extra innings thanks to a six-run eighth.
Both teams came away at 14-5. Madison’s season, though, was over, while Wallingford lived to play another day.
“They played gritty; there was no giving up,” said Wallingford coach Chris Bishop. ”We played through and I’m proud of them.”
Next up for Wallingford is Hamden (13-6), which blanked East Haven 10-0 in its Monday play-in game.
The Wallingford-Hamden winner will take the second seed from Division 2 into this weekend’s eight-team state tournament. Orange has already secured the division’s No. 1 seed.
“It’s always business,” said Bishop. “We are expecting another great game.”
Monday’s clash with Madison showcased pitching and defense, with the spotlight on the matchup between starting pitchers Justin Hackett of Wallingford and Liam Wallace of Madison.
Both threw seven scoreless innings. Both were backed by a series of great diving grabs and adept double plays.
Hackett allowed one hit and five walks while striking out four. He yielded to reliever Nick Iannone, who closed it out after Wallingford put up the 6-spot in the eighth.
“I was able to get the fastballs ahead of the count and got my off-speed going early,” said Hackett.
Wallace went seven and one-thirds before Chris Wanat took the hill for Madison. Wallace gave up two hits and two walks while striking out four.
Wallingford broke the scoreless tie on a bases-loaded walk drawn by Evan Wilkenson. Kyle Simmons and Aiden Weir followed with RBI singles to right field.
John Cotter legged out an infield single to extend the lead to 4-0. Bill Gorry capped the rally with a two-run single.
“They beat us the first two times we played, so it felt good to come back and beat them,” said Hackett.
Joe Amarone led the Wallingford offense with two singles. Danny Weinstein reached base twice for Madison.
“It was a tough game in the beginning because we were squaring up and hitting it right at them,” said Wilkenson. “We hung in there and kept our composure and put it all out there in that final inning.”