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Hard-hitting Wallingford beats Canton Little League for Section II title

Canton manager Chris LaPointe talks to Major Division All-Stars after Wallingford beat Canton, 13-2 for the Section II title Saturday night.

PLYMOUTH, July 22 – The summer journey of the Canton Little League baseball team is now complete. Hard-hitting Wallingford rapped out 11 hits including three home runs to win the Section II championship and a spot among the last four teams left in the state tournament with a 13-2 win in five innings Saturday night.

Wallingford (8-1, 3-0 Section II) will be among four Major Division (ages 11-12) teams playing a double-elimination tournament beginning Friday in Guilford to determine the state champion and who will represent the state at the New England regional tournament in Bristol.

Not only did Wallingford dominate at the plate but pitcher Justin Hackett was outstanding on the mound. He allowed just four hits and struck out eight to keep Canton (7-3, 1-2 Section II) off balance all evening.

“That is one heck of a team,” Canton manager Chris LaPointe said of Wallingford. “They capitalized on our mistakes and we made more than we usually do.”

Canton was very successful at the plate throughout their tournament run as they won their first District 6 championship since 1988. They had 11 home runs and 14 doubles in their 10 games and won their first-ever state tournament game with an 8-2 victory over Prospect on Thursday. But they were only able to get five hits off the Wallingford pitching staff in two games here, including one in a 17-0 loss on Friday night.

“Justin (Hackett) has a pretty good fastball,” Wallingford skipper Tim Hackett said. “We’ve noticed that if we stick with the fastball, the other teams will get dialed in. So we tried to mix it up a bit. He was throwing a type of knuckleball to keep the hitters off balance and we began to throw it for first pitch strikes.”

Andrew Coates had one of four hits for Canton Saturday night in the Section II championship game.

Wallingford jumped out to an early first inning lead with one run scoring on a wild pitch and a second on a bases-loaded walk. Wallingford extended the lead to 3-0 in the second inning on a John Carrozella home run.

Canton cut the lead to two runs in the bottom of the second inning. Andrew Coates singled and moved to third base on a pair of passed balls. After Shane LaPointe walked, Coates scored on an infield ground ball from Justin DiCarlo to cut the lead to 3-1.

Andrew Coates slides into home before Wallingford catcher Owen St. Amant can apply the tag to score Canton’s first run of the game.

Wallingford made it 4-1 when Charles Ennis reached on an error and scored two batters later on a RBI ground ball from Derek Rascati. Wallingford added another two runs in the fourth inning on an error for a 6-1 lead.

Canton cut the lead to 6-2 in the bottom of the fourth. DiCarlo led off with a double and moved to third base on an error. DiCarlo scored on a sacrifice fly from Jack Biskupiak. Tyler Dufresne was hit a pitch, moved to second on a ground ball out and took third on a wild pitch. But Hackett struck out Andrew Cappabianca to end the threat.

In the third inning, Canton had runners on second and third base with one out but Hackett got Coates to strike out and LaPointe to ground back to Hackett on an off-speed pitch to end the inning. In the second inning, Canton had runners on first and second base with one out but Hackett struck out two to end the rally.

“I thought it was nip and tuck for most of the way,” Wallingford manager Tim Hackett said.

Canton relief pitcher Robbie Dlubac.

Wallingford blew open the game in the top of the fifth inning with a towering, three-run home run from Hackett, a deep, two-run blast from Ennis and a two-RBI double from Carrozella. Hackett finished 4-for-4 with three RBI, a double and a home run at the plate while Carrozella finished 2-for-3 with three RBI, a double and home run.

DiCarlo, Canton’s starting pitcher, ran out of pitches with one out in the fifth inning. Pitchers can only throw 85 pitches before they are required by Little League rules. Devin Brown, who played at third base, was ineligible to pitch because he threw 85 pitches in Thursday’s win over Prospect and needed to rest four days before another appearance on the mound. Brown was 5-0 for Canton.

DiCarlo, Coates, Robby Dlubac and Cappabianca had hits for Canton. DiCarlo walked four but he also fanned four as well on the mound.

“It’s a special group,” Chris LaPointe said. “After being with them for three seasons, you get to know them pretty well. They made it further than any other Canton team.”

A year ago, this same group won the District 6 title in the 10-11 age division (Minor Division) and advanced to the Section II title game as well before losing to Farmington.

Wallingford 13, Canton 2 (5)
At Plymouth
Wallingford (8-1)                    211  27  — 13-11-1
Canton (7-3)                          010  10  — 2-4-3
Justin Hackett and Owen St. Amant; Justin DiCarlo, Robby Dlubac (5), Andrew Coates (5) and Jack Biskupiak; WP: Hackett; LP: DiCarlo (1-2); 2B: John Carrozella (W), Hackett (W), Andrew Cappabianca (C), DiCarlo (C); 3B: none; HR: Carrozella (W), Hackett (W), Charles Ennis (W)

Players from Wallingford take a victory lap with their Section II championship banner after Saturday night’s 13-2 win over Canton.

2017 Little League baseball
Connecticut state tournament
Major Division (ages 11-12)

Section I
Wednesday, July 19
Fairfield American (D2) 6, Ridgefield (D1) 2
Thursday, July 20
North Branford (D4) 12, Ridgefield 11
Friday, July 21

Fairfield American 22, North Branford 9
Saturday, July 22
Final: North Branford vs. Fairfield American

Section II
At Terryville
Wednesday, July 19
Wallingford (D5) 17, Prospect (D3) 13
Thursday, July 20
Canton (D6) 8, Prospect 2
Friday, July 21
Wallingford 17, Canton 0 (4)
Saturday, July 22
Final: Wallingford 13, Canton 2 (5)

Section III
At Waterford
Wednesday, July 19
Newington (D7) 6 Cromwell (D9) 3
Thursday, July 20
Waterford (D10) 14, Newington 6
Friday, July 21
Waterford 19, Cromwell 12
Saturday, July 22
Final: Waterford vs. Newington

Section IV
At Killingly
Wednesday, July 19
Ellington (D8) 12, Willimantic (D11) 2
Thursday, July 20
Ellington 6, Mansfield (D12) 5
Friday, July 21
Mansfield 4, Willimantic 3
Saturday, July 22
Final: Ellington 7, Mansfield 3

2017 Little League State Championship 
At Guilford Adams Middle School
Friday, July 28
Game 1 – Section 1 champion vs. Wallingford, 5:30  p.m.
Game 2 — Section  3 champion vs. Ellington, 5:30 p.m.
Saturday, July 29
Game 3- Winner G1 v Winner G2, 11 a.m.
Game 4- Loser G1 v Loser G2, 2 p.m.
Sunday, July 30
Game 5- Loser G3 v Winner G4, 11 a.m.
Monday, July 31
Game 6- Winner G5 v Winner G3, 5:30 p.m.
Tuesday, August 1
Game 7- Winner G6 v Loser G6 5:30 p.m., if necessary

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of The Collinsville Press. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 30 years.


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