Norwalk 9-Year-Olds Advance In Cal Ripken State Tournament

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Matt Claps is congratulated by teammates after hitting a grand slam for the Norwalk Cal Ripken 9-year-old All-Stars in a game against South Meriden.
Matt Claps is congratulated by teammates after hitting a grand slam for the Norwalk Cal Ripken 9-year-old All-Stars in a game against South Meriden. Photo Credit: Contributed

NORWALK, Conn. -- The Norwalk 9-year-old Cal Ripken All-Stars won the first two games of the state tournament in South Meriden over the weekend. 

Norwalk beat Ledyard, 9-8, and South Meriden, 4-1, to advance in the winners' bracket.

In the game against Ledyard, Norwalk took a 7-3 lead only to see Ledyard rally for an 8-7 advantage going into the bottom of the sixth. Mike Russo singled to start the rally, and Konstantinos Kodonas tied the game with an RBI single. Kodonas moved to third base after a couple of wild pitches and scored the winning run on a two-out single by Jonathan Diurno.

Vincent Velez, Isaias Gonzalez, Christopher Balchius and Kodonas had RBI singles and Vahle ripped an RBI triple. Vahle pitched the final inning. Russo and Sean Lengyel also pitched for Norwalk.

In the game against South Meriden, Matt Claps hit a grand slam in the first inning and Norwalk never looked back. Russo and Vahle made the lead stand up, with Russo pitching the first four innings. Vahle struck out four in two hitless innings.

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