NORWALK, Conn. -- The Cal Ripken 12-year-old All-Stars improved to 4-0 in the round-robin Kinlock tournament, downing the Cranbury 11- and 12-year-old all-stars and the Norwalk Little League 12-year-old all-stars in recent action.
In the first game, Cranbury wasted no time getting on the scoreboard. In the top of the first, Zach White, Eddie McCabe and Noah Roman drew walks and A.J. Bella stroked an RBI single to centerfield. But the Ripken 12s answered in the bottom of the frame when Eric Van Der Els doubled, Nico Petridis singled and Kevin Woodring's single drove in both runners.
Ripken erupted for six runs in the second inning to extend their lead to 8-1. The rally started when Jimmy Ray Stagg hit a line-drive solo home run over the right centerfield fence. Jeff Vitatoe and Jake Berkowitz followed with consecutive base hits and scored on Van Der Els' second double of the game. Petridis then walked before Woodring slammed a three-run homer. Cranbury relief pitcher Max Berman then shut down the Ripken offense, striking out nine over the remaining four innings.
Cranbury scored its second and final run in the third inning when Zach White walked and moved to second base on a passed ball, eventually scoring on Bella's second RBI of the game. Three Ripken pitchersPetridis, Matt Galyas and Vitatoeshut out Cranbury for the remainder of the game.
In the opening game of the Kinlock tournament, Ripken edged the Little League 12s, 10-9, in a seesaw battle whose outcome wasn't decided until the last inning. However, Ripken prevailed decisively in the rematch, building a sizable early lead to win 12-4.
Ripken scored once in the first inning when leadoff batter Van Der Els doubled and crossed the plate on an infield miscue. The Ripkens tacked on two more runs in the second inning when Chris Giordano doubled and Ryan Searles hit a soaring two-run homer to centerfield.
Little League got one run back in the third inning when John Swick drove in Trey Canevari, who had reached on a fielder's choice. However, the Ripken team exploded for six runs in the top of the third, thanks to singles by Wady Almonte, Hunter Dumas, Giordano, Searles and Stagg, along with a Galyas double and a Woodring home run. Ripken extended the lead in the fourth inning, thanks to another homer by Woodring, who had five RBIs on the day.
The final runs were scored when the Little Leaguers plated two in the bottom of the fifth, keyed by a Jake Fishman double.
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