Wolcott baseball beats St. Paul in matchup of two of NVL’s best

Wolcott’s Nick Longo gets down a sacrifice bunt in front of St. Paul catcher Chris Mills
during Monday’s game in Bristol. (Copyright, Sports on CT-69)

You really can’t get a better matchup in the regular season than the one that was scheduled for Wednesday afternoon at St. Paul Catholic High School.
The 14-2 Falcons hosted the 12-3 Wolcott Eagles in a game that pitted two of the NVL’s best baseball teams against each other. Each won a state championship in 2016, and they would both love to make some noise in the 2018 postseason as well.

St. Paul shortstop Ethan Rembish chases after Wolcott’s Anthony Ligi
during a rundown in Monday’s game. (Copyright, Sports on CT-69)

The game featured Wolcott’s Jack Drewry and St. Paul’s Julian Thayer on the mound. Offensive would be at a premium, and the Eagles gave Drewry and reliever Dane Hassan enough for a 3-0 win over Thayer, Joe Persechino and the Falcons. Wolcott improved to 13-3 while St. Paul fell to 14-3.
Drewry gave up seven hits in six innings of work and compiled three strikeouts. Hassan allowed a hit in the seventh, but got around it and picked up a save. Drewry and Hassan relied on a strong defense that made nearly all the plays. St. Paul had its chances but couldn’t get the big hit. The Falcons left nine men on base in a four-inning stretch from the third through the sixth.
Drewry provided run support for himself in the top of the first inning. Hassan led off with a walk, stole second base, then was sacrificed to third by Nick Trager. Drewry grounded out, but Hassan scored and Wolcott had a 1-0 lead. Trey Nastri singled, Nick Longo reached on an error, and Ethan Gillotti singled to drive home Nastri and make the score 2-0.

Wolcott starter Jack Drewry follows through on a pitch.
(Copyright, Sports on CT-69)

The Eagles added the third and final run of the game in the third inning, and again scored without a hit. Drewry led off with a walk and Nastri was hit by a pitch. A great bunt by Longo moved the runners up, then Drewry scored on a wild pitch for a 3-0 lead. Wolcott wound up with six hits in the game, led by two from Hassan. Nastri, Gillotti, Anthony Ligi and Tino Ciarlo had one hit each. Hassan doubled twice and Ciarlo added a two-bagger.
St. Paul had two runners on in the third inning. Sean Crean led off with a single, then Josh Cofrancesco reached on an error with two outs. A fielder’s choice from Gillotti at shortstop to Nastri at third ended the inning.
In the fourth, the Falcons loaded the bases on singles by Ryan Greene and Ryan Parent and a two-out walk to Crean. A flyout to Hassan in right field closed out the inning.
Cofrancesco, as he has done many times this season, started a potential rally in the fifth with a single. Thayer singled with two outs, but a grounder to Gillotti ended the threat.
The sixth looked really promising for St. Paul when Parent and Chris Mills started the frame with back-to-back singles. Trager made a nice, backpedaling catch on a soft liner to second base for the first out, then two flyouts to Ligi in left field closed out the inning.
Cofrancesco greeted Hassan with a single to start the seventh, but the left-hander got three straight flyouts to end the game.
These teams could see each other again soon in the NVL Tournament.

GALLERY: My photos from Monday’s game.