NORWALK, Conn. -- After suffering their first defeat of the year as an 11-year old all star team, the Cal Ripken Norwalk baseball team needed to make a statement on Thursday to stay alive in the state tournament. Its 14-4 win over Oxford did just that.
The victory puts Norwalk in the championship bracket against rival Newtown. The teams play Friday at 5:30 in Danbury. If Norwalk wins, a winner-take-all game will be played Saturday at 5:30, also in Danbury.
As usual, many players contributed to Norwalk's balanced offense. Nine of the eleven players who batted added to the team's 12 hits and seven different players had at least one RBI while. Nine players scored at least one run.
Norwalk pitcher Johnny Thorme gave his team a complete game, pitching all four innings in a game shortened by the 10-run rule. Thorme scattered six hits while walking only two and striking out one. Thorme's effort leaves Norwalk's top pitchers, Andrew Matthews and Brendan Huertes, ready for the weekend.
Three players led the way with two hits each: Thorme (two for four with two runs scored), Griffin Root (two for three with two runs scored and two RBIs), and Huertes (two for three with two runs scored). Matthews and Chris van der Els got things rolling in the first after Oxford had taken a 1-0 lead in the top of the inning, each doubling in two runs to set the tone in a five-run inning. Leadoff man Mike Claps chipped in with two runs scored, two steals and a big, two-run single in the fourth to spark the final rally.
Matt Saint-Louis also knocked in two with a sacrifice fly in the third and a single in the fourth. Chris Druin also drew three of the six walks given up by Oxford and scored two runs.
Oxford did scratch back to make it 5-4 going in to the bottom of the third , but Norwalk put it away with five more runs in the third and four in the fourth.
This marks the second time this year Norwalk has faced Newtown in a tournament final, beating them at the Jimmy Fund Invitational last month in Bethel.
To follow the 11s in Danbury, go to www.danburyyouthbaseball.com and click the link "11 Year Old 46/60 State Tournament.
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