Eric Osterberg’s RBI single in the bottom of the seventh inning propelled the Trumbull 14U Babe Ruth team to a 1-0 victory over Darien at Unity Park in the winners’ bracket final of the state tournament.
After Michael Brown started the rally with a flared single to center in the bottom of the seventh, Grayson Defelice bunted him into scoring position. Osterberg then sent an offering from Darien reliever Chris Fallon into the left-center field gap to drive in the game-winning run.
Trumbull will now face the winner of tomorrow’s elimination game between Darien and Newtown in Thursday night’s championship game at 7:30 at Unity Park. The Darien-Newtown winner must defeat Trumbull twice to win the state title.
Tuesday night’s showdown was a pitchers’ duel that saw the teams combine for just eight hits (five for Trumbull, three for Darien).
Dylan Moran worked five scoreless innings for Trumbull, before issuing a lead-off walk to Darien’s Jake Berry in the sixth.
Trumbull manager Mike Buswell went to reliever Bryan Kraus, who struck out the next two batters and induced a weak foul out to retire the side.
Will O’Connor then walked with two outs in the top of the seventh, but Kraus notched another strikeout to set the stage for the walk-off win.
Kraus also played a big part in defusing one of Darien’s best scoring chances in the first inning.
After Andre Briganti worked a lead-off walk from Moran and stole second, Darien slugger Karson Drake lashed a sinking liner to center field. Kraus snared it on the run, then threw to second base to double off Briganti for the third out.
From there, Darien starter John Fiorita and Moran matched zeroes, with Fiorita working out of jams in the first and second innings.
In the home half of the sixth, Moran singled, stole second, then went to third on wild pitch. Fiorita, who would finish with 90 pitches, preserved the deadlock with a strikeout and popup to Briganti at shortstop.
In the first matchup of the night at Unity Park, Newtown thumped Amity, 18-4.