After waiting an extra day to begin play in the section one 12-year-old Little League tournament, Shelton National opened with a surprisingly easy victory over North Stamford on Thursday in Orange.
It got the power (two home runs by Conner Prindle and one by Carl Kopf), flawless defense (no errors) and excellent pitching (two hits allowed by Trey McLoughlin).
That trifecta resulted in 12-0, four-inning triumph over a North Stamford team that is not used to losing by such lopsided margins.
Shelton National, which went 5-0 in the district three playoffs, served notice that it may have the best chance of the four other squads playing in Orange to dethrone defending state champion Fairfield American.
Prindle belted a solo homer to ignite a three-run rally in the third, then clubbed a three-run shot as part of a nine-run explosion in the fourth that sealed the contest.
Kopf went 3-for-3 with two doubles and a two-run homer in the fourth, finishing with three RBI.
"That's about how we played in districts, so I'm very happy with the results," Shelton National manager Steve Mcloughlin said. "They were a little tense to start the game, for sure, but that's to be expected when you come into these sectional games. I'm glad they got the butterflies out and they played like themselves."
Shelton went down in order in the first, but it quickly took control in the second. After Prindle's first homer, Kopf's RBI double and Ryan Smith's run-scoring single made it 3-0.
Stamford's only hits came in the third. With one out, Tolly Colarossi singled to right-center and one out later, Alex Mella hustled a grounder to the right side into an infield hit.
That gave North Stamford a ray of hope in what was still a three-run affair, but Grant Purpura, who reached on a fielder's choice, was called out for diving head first after he took off for third to end the inning. Purpura initially was called safe.
Shelton's bats erupted in the fourth. Tony Sweeney's two-run single with the bases loaded made it 5-0, with another run scoring on an error. Prindle's homer pushed the lead to 9-0. After another run came home on an error, Kopf's homer capped the scoring.
"We focus in practice on hitting the ball hard," the elder McLaughlin said. "Sometimes, it goes far. So, focus on hitting the ball hard, sometimes it goes far. That's become our motto somewhat."
North Stamford, which dropped to 1-1 in pool play after opening with a 6-5 win over Berlin on Wednesday, is back in action Saturday against Fairfield American (1-0) at 3:30 p.m.
Shelton National plays Berlin on Saturday at 6 p.m. Friday is an off day for the entire tournament.
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