TRUMBULL — An excellent summer just became an unforgettable one for the Max Sinoway of North Haven Little League Baseball All-Stars.
Sinoway captured its first Section 1 Little League title Wednesday night as it defeated Darien 7-1 at Unity Park.
District 4 champion Sinoway advances to the state tournament in Willimantic, where it will battle District 6 and Section 2 champ Simsbury Saturday at 5 p.m. in the four-team, double-elimination bracket.
“It feels great to be making the first trip ever for our league to the Connecticut state tournament,” Sinoway hitter extraordinaire Alex Bowery said. “It’s great to be a part of history.”
After waiting through two days of rainouts, Sinoway and Darien battled through a dramatic final Wednesday night.
Scoreless through four innings, the Sinoway offense broke out with four runs in the top of the fifth and three more in the sixth to secure the triumph.
Sinoway right-hander Jordan Higgins kept Darien (6-3 in the postseason) at bay. He carried a no-hitter into the sixth before Leo Zawacki’s opposite-field, leadoff single to right.
Higgins struck out six and walked one in an economical 60-pitch performance.
“I don’t get nervous in the big games. My curve and fastball were working. My changeup was my out pitch,” Higgins said. “I was thinking about a no-hitter in the sixth.”
To make sure Higgins had the Little League mandated rest for the states, Sinoway turned things over to closer Chris Cretella.
Darien managed two more hits and its lone run, but Cretella got the final three outs (two strikeouts) to kick off a grand North Haven celebration.
Sinoway lefty pinch-hitter Alex Bowery was in the middle of both late rallies. He stroked two doubles to right field good for three RBIs.
“I try to hit the ball hard every time up,” said Bowery, a Red Sox fan. “If the first pitch is in my zone, I try to drive it.”
The seeds of Sinoway’s success (9-1 this postseason) came out of a bit of disappointment last summer. Sinoway lost in the District 4 final.
“We had a great team last year,” Bowery said. “We knew that we’d come back strong this summer. It’s so cool to be part of Connecticut Little League Baseball’s Final Four (Section champs). Now we want to do our best in the states.”
Sinoway played errorless defense Wednesday night. Darien, which had been fundamental sound in its postseason run, hurt itself with four errors in the last two innings. Darien starter Tom Karczewski had four scoreless innings with four strikeouts in 62 pitches.
“We played every game cleanly in the field to get here. Tonight things just got away from us,” Darien manager Wes Yusko said. “It’s baseball. It happens. It was an amazing run. I loved every second of it. These kids gave me so much. They are down right now. But they will realize what a bright baseball future they will all have.”
MAX SINOWAY 7, DARIEN 1
At Unity Park, Trumbull