Jacob Ditscher hurls Danbury past Xavier in Class LL baseball quarterfinals

Danbury’s Jacob Ditscher celebrates after leading his team to a 6-2 win in the Class LL baseball quarterfinals against Xavier at Palmer Field in Middletown on Saturday.

Danbury’s Jacob Ditscher celebrates after leading his team to a 6-2 win in the Class LL baseball quarterfinals against Xavier at Palmer Field in Middletown on Saturday.

Pete Paguaga / Hearst Connecticut Media

MIDDLETOWN — Trailing by a run with two outs in the fifth inning, Danbury’s Nick Smith came to the plate with no one on.

Smith got a pitch he liked and sent the ball soaring, just inside the foul pole and over the left field fence to tie the score.

An inning later, Jackson Ciccone came through with a two-out opposite-field, RBI single to give the Hatters the lead and that was all Jacob Ditscher needed.

The junior allowed five hits and one run through the first two ,innings and then sat down the next 16 batters to lead Danbury to a 6-2 win over Xavier in the Class LL quarterfinals on Saturday afternoon at Palmer Field.

Danbury advanced to the Class LL semifinals for the first time since 2017, where the Hatters will play Southington.

“Beside the great pitching and attacking hitters, he seems to be unfazed out there,” Danbury coach Shaun Ratchford said. “He doesn’t seem to let the moment get more of him.”

Ditscher let his defense do most of the work, striking out just two of the final 16 batters.

“I had the mindset, that I am not giving up,” he said. “I am not going to give them any opportunities to get any runners and put it to them.”

He did just that, blowing through a vaunted Xavier lineup that had pounded opposing pitching all season and yet his team still trailed through four innings.

That is when Smith stepped to the plate and did what his team has become accustomed to.

“That totally brought us to life,” Ciccone said. “We had energy, but that took us to another level.

“Smithy is that type of player who can change a game.”

Ciccone then came through with the eventual winning hit

“Jackson’s going to find a way to get the job done,” Ratchford said.

In the seventh, the Hatters played their game. They got guys on base, and they stole bases and squeeze bunted a run home.

“Good pitching beats good hitting,” Xavier coach Nick Cerreta said. “Our bats went quiet, it’s baseball. The kid competed on the mound.”

PLAYER OF THE GAME

Jacob Ditscher, Danbury: The junior hung tough through the first two innings and then settled in, allowing no base runners the rest of the game. He finished with five hits allowed and just two strikeouts. He didn’t walk a single batter.

QUOTABLE

“This is a special group that competed for months and gave everything they had to this program and to each other,”

— Xavier coach Nick Cerreta on his team’s 22-4 finish to the season.

No. 8 DANBURY 6,

No. 1 XAVIER 2

DANBURY100 011 3 — 6 12 0

XAVIER 200 000 0 — 2 5 1

Batteries: D — Jacob Ditscher and Roman Hausmann. X — Tyler Hartley, Quintin Sotero (5), Dillion Luke (7), Blake Beattie (7) and Brandon Gaer. 2B: D — Kia O’Dell, Nick Smith. HR: D — Nick Smith. Records: Danbury 20-5, Xavier 22-4