SHELTON >> Amity wasn’t thinking about the series of protests that led to its late-season loss to Shelton, according to coach Sal Coppola. It was a lot bigger than just one game for the Spartans.
“(Shelton) swept us this year,” Coppola said. “That hurts.”
On Friday, 14th-seeded Amity put a hurting on sixth-seeded Shelton with a 17-1 Class LL quarterfinal drubbing.
Amity will face Southington in the semifinals on Tuesday at Muzzy Field at 7 p.m., as the Spartans continue their quest for three straight Class LL championships.
Meanwhile, the Gaels are left to lick their wounds after suffering their largest margin of defeat in a state playoff game since a 9-0 loss to Southington in the first round of the 1997 Class LL tournament.
Still, Shelton coach Scott Gura chose to focus on the positives of his team that missed the state tournament last season.
“I congratulate Amity and wish them the best of luck,” said Shelton coach Scott Gura. “But, I’m very proud of my boys. To end the season in the quarterfinals is a great accomplishment for them.”
In both wins Fordham-bound Mike Cowell pitched. He did not pitch in the quarterfinal after starting the first round game and appearing in the second round, too. Rain forced all of the state’s teams to play three games in three days, putting team’s pitching rotation’s at a disadvantage.
“We could have thrown Mike (Cowell) in the quarterfinals,” Gura said. “But, that’s what it is. You’ve got to play the games in front of you and we had our two best pitchers pitch the first two rounds and we saw an offensive buzzsaw today.”
Amity’s run total of 17 was the second-most runs it has scored in a game this season. The Spartans crossed the plate 21 times in a 21-2 rout of East Haven on April 23. Amity finished with 15 hits, eight players recorded an RBI, three players, Chris and Pat Winkel and Devin Belenski hit home runs and Elias Oliphant hit a double.
“Our approach at the plate was to be aggressive,” Pat Winkel said. “Jump on the first pitch you see. We knew they were going to be mixing curves and stuff, but we were just looking fastball and adjusting.”
Shelton pitchers Trey McLoughlin, who started, Jordan Ubani, Mark Polkowski and Carl Kopf all struggled to keep Amity off base. Meanwhile, Amity starter Teddy Hague went six innings, struck out four and only gave up one earned run off a first-inning Justin Lynch sac-fly RBI that scored Chris Kanios.
“He’s 3-0 as a varsity pitcher,” Coppola said. “He was pitching (junior varsity) for the first half of the year and to come out and mix speeds like he did, I would not have wanted to hit against him today.”
As good as Hague was, the day belonged to Amity’s offense. After looking at one strike to start the game in the top of the first, Chris Winkel took McLoughlin’s second pitch over the left field fence for a solo home run and a bit of foreshadowing for how the afternoon would go.
“We wanted this one bad,” he said. “We wanted this one.”
AMITY 17, SHELTON 1
Amity 120 0410 0 — 17 15 0
Shelton 100 000 0 — 1 4 2
Teddy Hague, Brian Ronai (7) and Pat Winkel; Trey McLoughlin, Jordan Urbina (4), Mark Polkowski (5), Carl Kopf (5) and Marc Zoppi.
WP: Teddy Hague (). LP: Trey McLoughlin (). 2B: (AM) Elias Oliphant; (SHE) Chris Kanios.