NORWALK, Conn. – It's hard to believe that a high school baseball player with as many accomplishments as McMahon's Bryan Daniello has never appeared in a playoff game at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport.
That changed Wednesday in the conference quaterfinals as Daniello authored his third straight firecracker of an outing on the mound. The UConn-bound righty pitched through a broken right ring finger — again — striking out 10 and retiring the final 16 Wilton batters in a 4-1 victory for Brien McMahon.
“This is my first conference playoff win, so this is something I really wanted to do my senior year,” Daniello said. “I had a lot of rest with all the rainouts we had. I just wanted to be quick and efficient so I can come back for Saturday’s [championship] game.”
Daniello's only blemish was a home run surrendered to Connor Buehler in the top of the second on the lone change-up he threw all afternoon. It was one of only two hits Daniello gave up as he dominated Warrior batters. In the string of 16 batters Daniello retired to finish the game, only one ball left the infield.
The Senators faced an almost equally dominant Paul Merolla, who allowed just one earned run. The Warriors’ defense let them down, however, committing three errors that led to three McMahon runs.
McMahon gave Wilton fits with several well-executed bunts that the Warriors continued to throw away. The 6-foot-7 Merolla struggled to come down off the mound quick enough to collect the bunts.
McMahon’s only earned run came on a sharp RBI single by Jamie Restivo, scoring Ricardo Torres. Mike Giordano, Zack O’Connor and Joe Cox all scored on Wilton errors.
With the win, McMahon advances to the conference semifinals for the first time in five years. The Senators battle top-ranked and unbeaten Greenwich at The Ballpark at Harbor Yard on Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
“Bryan was very impressive out there. It’s such a big help to have a guy out there who can strike out so many guys and take pressure off our defense,” McMahon manager John Cross said. “If we swing the bats well, who knows what we can do. Greenwich is due for a loss.”
Follow Eric Gendron on Twitter for updates from tonight's semifinal game and for the latest Main Street Connect coverage of Fairfield County sports.
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