Softball: Milford advances to District IV semifinals

Everything, beginning with the pitcher-catcher combo Talia Salanto and Nicolina Salanto and continuing with the batting order, was clicking for the 12U Milford All Stars in the final game of District IV softball pool play on Tuesday.

With semifinal-round seeding on the line, Milford earned the No. 2 spot with a convincing 11-1 triumph in four innings over West Haven at Foran High.

“It was a big game,” said Milford coach Matt Nittoly, noting that the difference between a win and a loss was earning the second or fourth seed because of tiebreakers.

Milford will play No. 4 seed North Branford in the semis on Thursday with first pitch at Foran High scheduled for 5:30. The finals are slated versus either top-seeded Amity or West Haven on Friday at 8 p.m. at the Old Tavern Complex in Orange.

“Hitting was the story for us today. That’s a really good pitcher that’s over there,” Nittoly said of West Haven’s Mia Rubirosa. “Our players surprised me with the way they hit the ball.”

Milford fell behind 1-0 in the second inning, as West Haven cashed in on two hits and a walk.

Talia Salanto yielded nothing more the rest of the way, with help from her batterymate who nabbed a trio of would-be base stealers to snuff out possible rallies.

“When you can shut them down like that it’s really nice to have,” Nittoly said on having the strength of both Nicolina Salant0 and Kayden Prevost behind the plate. Prevost played outfield in this game.

Milford took the lead for good with a couple of runs in the bottom of the second.

Prevost blooped in a single and later scored when Nicolina Salanto reached on an error. She came across with the go-ahead run when Macie Rascoll beat out an infield single.

In the top of the third, Milford worked around a leadoff walk and two-out hit as Nicolina Salanto caught two runners looking to steal.

Milford opened up some breathing room with a three-run third.

Chloe Nittoly and Kaitlyn Beaupre got things going with singles.

With runners at the corners, Hailey Oliver crushed a two-run triple to left center for a 4-1 lead.

Michaela Fortier followed with a hard single over first base to drive in a run for a 5-1 cushion.

In the top of the fourth, Nicolina Salant0 caught a base stealer at third, following a leadoff walk and a ground out. The next two batters reached on singles, but West Haven couldn’t take advantage.

In the last of the fourth, Milford had its last swings thanks to a six-run outburst.

Lauren Stroffolino and Isabella Bellini had back-to-back triples to open the inning for the first run of the frame.

Talia Salanto reached on an error, resulting in another run and a 7-1 lead.

After a stolen base, Talia Salanto scored on Nittoly’s single.

Oliver had a two-run single, and Prevost knocked in the final run with a single.

Courtesy runner Elizabeth Roos showed her speed on the bases.

Talia Salanto struck out four batters and allowed four hits and three walks.

West Haven batters occasionally got ahead in the count, but Talia Salanto never made it easy on the opposing hitters.

“Any time she fell behind she battled back which was good to see,” coach Nittoly said.

Chloe Nittoly also pitches for the All Stars, and the team has strong players at all positions.

“We’re a deep team,” the coach said. “They get it. They know the game, they’re smart out there. They put a lot of time in — more than people think.”