Milford All-Stars take it to the limit

The Milford 11-12 All-Star softball team dropped a 3-2 decision to North Branford in the third game of the best-of-three finals in the District IV Little League softball championships played in Orange on Sunday, June 30.

Milford had advanced to the championship round after the locals outscored the opposition by a 59-5 margin in pool play. Included in that run was a 6-4 win over North Branford.

Home teams controlled the action in the final series, as North Branford won the opener 4-0 on Friday, and Milford took the second game 3-0 on Saturday.

North Branford jumped in front 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning, before Milford’s defense settled down to back Kaitlin Capobianco’s outstanding pitching.

Three misplays in the opening frame, and a pair of singles, staked North Branford to the three-run cushion.

Milford drew two runs back in the bottom of the second inning.

Lolly Mendillo and Erica Boehm had one-out singles. With two outs, Courtney Olenski put the ball in play against the strong right-handed serves from Angelina Ramada. Her pop up to the right side was juggled, then dropped, as Mendillo and Boehm hustled home.

Kailey Loewenberg was on second base and Cali Jolley, who had bunted her way aboard, was on first, when North Branford shortstop Kay Peterson put the third out in the book.

Capobianco and Ramada didn’t allow another run to score, although the rivals had their chances.

Jill Montano had a double and two singles for Milford, which out hit its foe by a 7-3 margin.

Montano’s double came with two out in the Milford first at bat, before Ramada recorded her only strikeout.

Capobianco struck out two batters around an infield error in the second. The left-hander retired 16-of-19 batters at one points, with all three runners reaching on miscues.

Milford’s defense however, took back as much as it gave.

Shortstop Jolley’s throw to catcher Meg Flanagan got an out at the plate in the first inning, and Boehm made a fine play to her right from her second base position to end the uprising.

Elena Ball stayed with a tough liner to make a catch in center field, and Ally Stein in left field also tracked down a fly ball for a key out.

Mendillo at third base made two stellar plays on balls hit to her left to give Milford an opportunity to rally.

Montano ripped a single past second and into right field to open the third, but North Branford’s defense was solid.

Molly Sakowicz fouled off two tough pitches and drew a one-out walk on a 3-2 pitch.

Stein and Ball had two well-struck hit attempts, but North Branford right fielder Kyleen Crowe was equal to the task.

North Branford put its leadoff batter on base to start the fourth, but Mendillo got the force out to Boehm and Capobianco notched two more strikeouts.

After Loewenberg and McKenna Prete tried, but couldn’t get the ball past Ava Galdensi at first base in the home fourth, Jolley singled into the hole at short. Capobianco’s fly to left field was caught to end the inning.

North Branford threatened in the fifth with an infield single, but Boehm and Jolley made plays to leave the runner at second.

Montano’s third hit came to open the fifth.

Stein bunted her to second, but Ball’s shot down the right field line was caught by Crowe and third baseman Abby Spivey had another assist on Sakowicz bid for a hit.

Montano made a fine scoop at first after Mendillo took a hit away from Spivey to open the sixth.

Milford came to bat looking to tie or win the game in the home sixth, but Ramada set down the side in order.

Milford was managed by Elizabeth Capobianco and coached by Tom Boehm and Tom Jolley.

Contributing to the team’s outstanding post-season run were Kailey Lowenberg, Cali Jolley, Molly Sakowicz, Kaitlin Capobianco, Haley Laforte, Jill Montano, McKenna Prete, Ally Stein, Courtney Olenski, Elena Ball, Meg Flanagan, Lolly Mendillo and Erica Boehm.