Trumbull Babe Ruth drops pitcher's duel in semis

Bryan Kraus went the distance, giving up two runs, striking out four and not walking a batter. — Bill Bloxsom photo
Bryan Kraus went the distance, giving up two runs, striking out four and not walking a batter. — Bill Bloxsom photo

Trumbull Babe Ruth had one chance to advance to the 14 Year Old Babe Ruth New England Regional championship tilt — and it came in the first inning of its semifinal game with Norwalk on Tuesday night.

Bryan Kraus singled with one out. Justin Delaney followed with a base hit, and with two outs Grayson DeFelice was intentionally walked. That brought Michael Brown to the plate, and he hit a line drive for the third out.

Norwalk right-hander Vance Ward allowed only one more base-runner, and the host team posted a 2-0 victory before a large crowd at Brien McMahon High.

Norwalk (4-0) and Keene, N.H. (4-0) will meet Wednesday at 1 for the title at McMahon.

You have to tip your cap to Vance Ward from Norwalk,” Trumbull manager Mike Buswell said. “When you face a good pitcher like that, it is important to get to him early — don’t let him get settled in. We loaded the bases and had a hot hitter up in Mike Brown and he hit a laser right at somebody.

“That’s sometime how games go. Last night (in a 3-1 win over Plymouth, Mass.) the ball found holes for us and tonight they didn’t. I thought Norwalk’s at bats were equally as good. They found holes and that was the difference.

“Again, it was their pitcher. This is the first time this group has been shutout.”

Norwalk used some clutch two-out hitting to score runs in the second and third innings off Trumbull righty Bryan Kraus.

Ben Boccanfuso and Jose Vasquez slapped singles to score Jeremy Cooke in the second.

Kraus struck out the first two batters looking in the third, before Jaden Echavarria and Mitch Stiles singled. Cooke doubled to make it 2-0.

“It was a great pitching duel,” Buswell said. “If you told me at the beginning of the game that our guy was going to throw a complete game and allow only two runs, I would have signed up for it. It was two guys going at it.”

Kraus reached on an infield error with one out in the third inning. He stole second with two down, but was stranded.

Norwalk’s Ethan Platt singled to start the fifth, but Delaney raced into the gap from his center field position and made a diving catch of Echavarria’s bid for extra bases.

Kraus struck out four and didn’t walk a batter in his 89-pitch outing.

Ward retired the last 14 batters he faced, struck out six and walked one. He threw 80 pitches

When asked to sum up his team’s summer run, Buswell said, “I just love them, they become such a part of you, You’re with them every single day, you go to work, you get out and it’s like they’re your own.

“Especially when you hit an elimination round you know any day can be your day to either continue or not.

"I had that pit in my stomach because I didn’t want to end it with these guys because I love them so much.”