Little League All-Stars meet Wilton in district opener

What will it take for the Ridgefield Little League All-Stars to make a run in the district tournament?

“We have to focus on keeping errors low and getting runners on base and moving them over,” said manager Casey Gaughran. “We also need pitching depth; you can’t rely on one or two pitchers.”

Competing in Pool A, Ridgefield opens the District 1 12-under tournament with two home games at Jensen Field: today at noon against Wilton and Tuesday at 7:30 against Norwalk. Ridgefield’s final pool-play game is next Thursday (10 a.m.) against Stamford North at Springdale Field in Stamford.

Teams that win at least two of their games in Pool A and Pool B (Weston, Stamford American, Stamford National, Darien) automatically advance to the playoff round. The district champion moves on to the state sectionals.

Six of Ridgefield’s players were on the 11-under team in last year’s district tournament. The group consists of Chris Keating (shortstop/pitcher/first base), Aidan Mignano (pitcher/infielder), Sam Gonzalez (outfield), Jack Signorelli (second base/pitcher), Nick Roman (shortstop/pitcher), and Owen Zusel (catcher/outfield/pitcher).

“Those guys should all be big contributors,” said Gaughran. “It’s a good core to build around.”

Ridgefield’s 14-player roster also includes catcher/first baseman Lucas Clausen, second baseman/pitcher Jesse Hisiger, third baseman/pitcher Casey Gaughran (the manager’s son), catcher/outfielder Trevor Chojnacki, catcher/first baseman/pitcher Nico Genna, pitcher/outfielder Andrew Sproule, outfielder Teddy Sproule, and outfieder Chris Provenzale.

“Most of the guys can play multiple positions,” said manager Casey Gaughran. “That gives us some nice options.”

Ridgefield will look for Keating and its other line-drive hitters to get on base for power hitters such as Gaughran, Chojnacki, and Mignano, who finished first at the recent Slugfest competition.

Keating is slated to be Ridgefield’s opening day pitcher, with Hisiger, Zusel, and Genna also in the mix for starts.

“We don’t have two or three fireballers,” said Casey Gaughran. “But we do have guys who can throw strikes, which is even more important.”

Ridgefield’s manager also hopes his players enjoy the experience.

“Our attitude is to go out and compete and have fun,” said Gaughran. “You’re not going to significantly change anyone as a player in such a short time span. You just want them to play as well as they can and then see what happens.”