Babe Ruth 14s repeat as District 2 champs
Andrew Lojko used his bast and his arm to help propel Trumbull Babe Ruth 14s to the District 2 championship with an 11-2 victory over Norwalk at Unity Park on Sunday, July 6.
With the win, manager Mike Buswell’s team repeated as District winners and will travel to New Milford’s Volunteer Field for the opening of the eight-team state tournament.
Trumbull will play Simsbury at 3 p.m. on Saturday, July 12, and New Milford at 10 a.m. on Sunday. Its third game in its divisional pool play will be against Shelton at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday at Kent School in Kent.
Lojko, who couldn’t pitch but batted third in last season’s run to the title, shut down Norwalk over the final four innings, and Trumbull’s bats scored five runs in the bottom of the third and added four more in the home fifth to win going away.
“That is a good team (Norwalk) we faced, but we swung the bats well and played defense,” said the right-handed Lojko, who retired 10-of-11 batters entering the final frame.
“The other night, and again tonight it started with the bottom third of our batting order,” said Buswell, who was assisted by Jack McFarland.
“Everyone talks of our hitting, but we talk to the team about limiting the other team with our pitching and defense.
“Andrew was our number one last year, but we had to shut him down.”
Ten of 12 Trumbull players crossed the plate, as the locals finished the tournament unbeaten.
Nolan Nemchek had three of Trumbull’s eight hits. Josh Colondona had two hits, Connor Bailo knocked in two runs with a single and Tyler Zikias doubled.
Colondona threw out Jake Fishman attempting to steal to stall a Norwalk rally in the first, but singles from Ed McCabe and Jeff Joslyn led to a sacrifice fly from Brennan Huertas and a 1-0 lead in the second.
Norwalk made it 2-0 in the third after Logan Raymond doubled and later scored on a misplayed double steal.
Trumbull stranded two runners in the second and then took advantage of three Norwalk errors to score five times in the third.
Tony Socci and Bailo reached on miscues to start the frame and Dustin Siqueira worked the right-handed Raymond for a walk.
Lojko singled to left-center field to score Socci to bring Robert Olah to the plate.
The lefty-swinging Olah had doubled twice and drove in four runs the previous game when Trumbull defeated Norwalk 14-2.
Raymond got ahead in the count 1-2, but Olah fouled off a tough pitch and then stayed off a 3-2 pitch to force in the tying run with a base on balls.
Zikias walked on four pitches to give Trumbull a 3-2 lead, before greeted Fishman on in relief with an RBI single to left to make it 4-2.
McCabe started and finished a 6-6-3 double play from his shortstop position to stop the rally.
Lojko made sure the momentum carried over, as he retired eight straight batters before Chris Druin reached on an error with one out in the sixth.
Brandon Bottino staved off Norwalk here with a sliding catch of Fishman’s gapper to left-center.
“I went to my fastball, and my curve was on today,” Lojko said. “I wanted to attack their hitters, get out of the inning quick and let my guys score,”
Trumbull put up four runs in the fifth behind five hits and two walks.
Zikias opened the inning with a double to left-center. Tom Troy made a diving try for the ball, but it was ruled no catch and Nemchek beat out a bunt and stole second to put runners on second and third.
Colondona singled to up the margin to 7-2. After Mike D’Agostino hit into a fielder’s choice, Mike Garofalo and Socci drew walks to plate another run.
Druin came in to pitch, and Bailo responded with a two-run single down the left field line to score D’Agostino and Garofalo.
Siqueira kept the inning alive with a base hit, and Sam Montalvo, who played a solid second base, came in to pinch run, but Norwalk got out of the frame behind in the scorebook 10-2.
Nemchek and Colondona had one-out singles in the home sixth and Garofalo singled to bring the game’s final run across the plate.
Lojko took his four-hitter into the seventh, but after throwing six straight pitches wide of the plate, Nemchek came on and put the last two outs in the book on strikes.
District 2 champions for Trumbull Babe Ruth are Dustin Siqueira, Sam Montalvo, Andrew Lojko, Mike Garofalo, Robert Olah, Connor Bailo, Tyler Zikias, Tony Socci, Nolan Nemchek, Brandon Bottino, Josh Colondona and Mike D’Agostino.
Trumbull broke open a tight 5-2 game with a nine-run outburst in the top of the seventh inning en route to a 14-2 victory over Norwalk on Saturday, July 5.
The victory gave Trumbull the top seed after pool play, while Norwalk placed second.
Mike D’Agostino pitched six innings to get the victory, before Mike Garofalo pitched a scoreless seventh.
Robert Olah had three of Trumbull’s 12 hits, including two doubles, and drove in four runs.
Tyler Zikias had two hits and two RBIs. Josh Colondona doubled, walked twice and had two RBIs.
D’Agostino had two hits and plated two runs, while Brandon Bottino singled, walked and had an RBI.
Connor Bailo had a double and two RBIs and Andrew Lojko singled, walked and scored two runs.