BRIDGEPORT—Wilton pitcher Billy Black is scheduled for surgery on his pitching elbow next week.
Before he goes under the knife, the Warriors ace threw one last gem and it was a game neither he nor anyone associated with Wilton baseball will soon forget.
Black struck out 10 batters, including the last batter he will ever face in a Wilton uniform, allowing only three hits as the No. 2 Warriors defeated No. 4 Ridgefield 2-1 in the FCIAC championship game at the Ballpark at Harbor Yard.
It was the second title for Wilton (19-4) in the last three years and its fourth overall.
Black said there was no way he would rather end his high school career than beating Wilton’s most hated rival for a league championship.
“It feels great. Ever since we were 12 years old, we have been dreaming about this and talking about it. We have had this core group since we were that young ad it feels great to win with these guys,” Black said. “I really wanted the ball. I am getting surgery Tuesday and I wanted to make my last game special and bring home a win for these guys. I definitely went out on a high note.”
In the top of the seventh, Pete Columbia doubled over the right fielder’s head with one out, advancing to third on a groundout but was stranded there when Black struck out the last batter.
The last strike set off a celebration with the players and the large contingent of Wilton fans at the stadium.
In the bottom of the fifth, Wilton’s No. 8 hitter Jack DiNanno doubled to centerfield leading off the inning.
“In most respects, you got what you paid for with two of the best pitchers in the league dealing,” Ridgefield coach Paul Fabbri said. “Putting a leadoff guy on second base forces our defense to make plays and the plays we have been making the previous two days, we didn’t today. Over the years we talked about tipping your hat to another team but I thought rather than them winning today, we lost. If we make the plays that were given to us, we are celebrating a 1-0 victory rather than a 2-1 loss. It’s tough to win a game with three hits but that’s what (Black) does to you.”
Ridgefield (17-6) got on the board first with Columbia coming in to score on a wild pitch in the second inning.
Jack Dooley of Wilton led off the bottom of the second with a double down the left-field line, coming into to score on a wild pitch two batters later.
Ridgefield’s ace Collin Lowe also went the distance, striking out 10 as well while allowing six hits.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Billy Black, Wilton. Black was simply dominant Friday night. Only three runners advanced as far as second base and he only issued one base on balls. Four times in seven innings he retired the Tigers in order.
“Billy pitched his usual great game and we played really great defense behind him,” Wilton coach Tim Eagen said. “I couldn’t be more proud of these kids because they found a way to win against a really good pitcher and a really good team.”
Collin Kahal of Wilton was awarded the MVP of the game after driving in the winning run on his groundout.
WILTON 2, RIDGEFIELD 1
RIDGEFIELD 010 000 0—1 3 2
WILTON 010 010 x—2 6 0
Records: R—17-6; W—19-4. Batteries: R—Colin Lowe (L) and Ben Cohen; W—Billy Black (W) and Jack DiNanno