Milford National edged 5-3 in Section I opener

The Milford National Lou Gehrig Little League 12U All-Star team brought the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the sixth inning, but couldn’t come all the way back against Stamford North in losing a 5-3 decision in the first round of the Section I Tournament at Unity Park  in Trumbull on Tuesday night.

Milford National will play District 2 champion Fairfield American Wednesday at 5:45 p.m. at Unity Park. Stamford North plays Fairfield American Thursday. The teams with the best record meet for the title on Friday at 5:45 at Unity.

The Section I winner plays the Section II winner for the state title and a berth in the New England Regional in Bristol.

Stamford North went 8-0 win winning the District I title, as did Milford National in District 4.

Jordan Nunez led off the game with a home run. Another run scored on Roderick Olsen’s one-out single, before Milford starting pitcher Zach Werthmann got the third out on strikes to leave a runner on second.

Stamford starter Jack Hock struck out the side in the first. He put two outs in the book on strikes before Milford’s Justin Judge lined a hard single to left field. Another strikeout left him at first.

Stamford was denied a rally in the second when Milford shortstop Mark Lombardi made a fine play from one knee to get the inning-ending force out to Nathan Haase at second.

Stamford made it 3-0 in the third after Hock unloaded a long home run. One out later, Olsen ripped a ball to the fence in left field. Jack Phelan threw him out on the fly, trying to stretch his hit into a double.

After two outs via strikeouts began the home third, Lombardi reached on an infield error. He got no further as Hock made it nine outs by strikes.

Matt O’Connor reached on a bloop hit to open the Stamford fourth, but there was nothing cheap about Levi Lisack’s line drive two-run home run to left field.

Jaden Wywoda came on in relief. After giving up a single, he retired 7-of-8 batters (one reached on a strikeout/wild pitch).

Milford left two runners on base in the fourth. Phelan had an infield hit off Hock and relief pitcher Connor Sullivan hit Judge with a pitch. With men on first and third, Brian Felag ripped a line drive that was caught by the second baseman to end the inning.

Milford began its comeback in the fifth.

Derek Ouelette worked out the only walk allowed by either team and Jonathan Contaxis came in to pinch run. Werthmann singled to the right side of the infield to put two runners aboard.

Trevor Knotwell reentered the game and the lefty swinger pulled a pitch over the fence in right for a three-run home run.

Phelan singled to left and Judge doubled up the gap in right center to keep the rally going, before Sullivan retired Wywoda on a grounder to third.

Phelan came in to pitch with a runner on first and two out in the sixth and kept the game at 5-3.

Felag beat out an infield chop in front of the plate to open the Milford sixth.

Christian Rubino-Churcas came in from shortstop and caught the next two batters looking at strike three.

Felag went to second on a wild pitch, but a ground out to second base gave Stamford the round one win.