Balls and Strikes: Daniello rises to the occasion for McMahon

If you happened to catch a glimpse of Brien McMahon’s 4-1 win over fifth-seeded Wilton in the FCIAC quarterfinals on Wednesday afternoon, you saw just how valuable Bryan Daniello is to his team.

Fresh off a one-hit shutout of Fairfield Ludlowe nine days ago, which all but locked up an FCIAC postseason berth for the Senators, Daniello was just as good, if not better at times against fifth-seeded Wilton.

With complete command over all his pitches, Daniello needed just 73 pitches to breeze through the Warriors’ lineup as he struck out 10 and walked none.

He bounced back from his lone mistake (a second-inning home run by Wilton catcher Connor Buhler) and retired the final 15 batters he faced.

“Coming into today my arm felt really good,” Daniello said. “I just wanted to work quick and be efficient.”

“We didn’t challenge him really enough,” Wilton head coach Tim Eagen said. “What we really had to do was we had to put more balls in play. We really didn’t do it today.

“But gave him credit. He makes you look bad.”

Daniello was so efficient that he will be available—if needed—to come out of the bullpen in Thursday’s semifinal round against top-seeded Greenwich at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport. Right-hander Ricardo Torres will start on the mound for fourth-seeded McMahon.

Greenwich, which is a perfect 21-0, defeated McMahon 4-0 on April 18 in the lone meeting between the teams this season.

Daniello will likely get the ball on the mound to start if the Senators advance any further.

“I know if we happen to win tomorrow that I’ll be back for Saturday’s (title) game, so I wanted to try and keep my pitches down as low as possible. That way I’ll be ready to go and I’m going to take care of my arm,” Daniello said.

*The Senators recorded only hit eights against Wilton right-hander Paul Merolla, but their penchant for sticking to the fundamentals made the difference. The Senators moved runners over, they got productive outs and they stayed away from making the big mistake.

Wilton, on the other hand, did just the opposite.

The Senators noticed early that Wilton had trouble fielding bunts and they capitalized on it throughout the afternoon. The Warriors committed throwing errors on bunts by Daniello and center fielder Zack O’Connor in the first two innings. O’Connor drove in a run on a two-out bunt in the sixth inning to make it 4-1.

“Give (McMahon) credit. They put bunts down in perfect position. They executed when they had to,” Eagen said.