NORWALK, Conn. Norwalk was three outs away from the 12-year-old Cal Ripken district title, but it took only one swing by Greenwich's Colin Kelly to ruin the party. Kelly blasted the first pitch he saw off of Norwalk closer Mike Gonzalez, tying the championship game at 2 all.
While the tying run was majestic, the winning run was downright wacky. Gonzalez pitched around Greenwich's red-hot first baseman Marco Pastore, putting the winning run on base. After a groundout moved Pastore to second, an unlikely play doomed Norwalk.
Daniel Curley dribbled a routine ground ball causing mass confusion around first base, and the ball was thrown away. Pastore rounded third base with his hands on his head in disbelief as he scored the winning run, clinching the 12-year-old District One Cal Ripken championship for Greenwich, 3-2.
"It was a crazy play. The second baseman came up with the ball and the first baseman didn't realize it," Norwalk head coach Mike Giordano said. "We are not disappointed at all, though. This was a great group of kids and they worked hard."
Until the wild finish, the game seemed firmly in Norwalk's grasp. Matt Galyas solo home run barely cleared the left field wall in the fourth inning to give Norwalk a 2-1 lead, and it looked like that run would be the difference.
For the second straight game, however, Colin Langan came on in relief and shut down Norwalk. He struck out the side in the fifth and did not allow a base runner in the sixth, keeping Greenwich within striking distance. In five crucial innings pitched over the two-game final, Langan gave up just two hits and struck out six.
"Both of these games were so close. Greenwich is such a great competitor," Giordano said. "We know all these teams and knew it was going to be a fight. We thought their Cinderella story was over, but it'll have to wait for another day."
All is not lost for Norwalk, however, as it still has a chance to grab an at-large bid in the state tournament. Norwalk rode an at-large spot all the way through states and New England regionals to the Cal Ripken World Series last year .
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