The question all season long for Norwalk High has always been which Bears baseball team would show up. Norwalk has showed flashes of brilliance--as in the FCIAC quarterfinal matchup against cross-city rival Brien McMahon on Wednesday.
Then there were games like the one Thursday at Harbor Yard where the Bears faced Danbury in the FCIAC semifinals. Walks, errors and bad breaks were the order of the day as Norwalk outhit the Hatters but were beaten in the stat that mattered. Danbury took advantage of four walks in the fifth and pulled away to eliminate Norwalk, 7-2.
"If we let them put guys on base, bad things are going to happen to us," Norwalk head coach Pete Tucci said. "I thought our kids attacked the ball pretty well, but we just couldn't get the big hit. Breaks are a huge part of the game and the teams that are good make their own."
Norwalk thought it had the first run of the day in the third when Leon Fleming ripped a single up the middle. Danbury centerfielder Chris DelDibbio threw a seed to home plate, and catcher Austin Calitro was slow to the tag. Norwalk's Kevin Lawrence appeared to slide under the tag, but was called out. Tucci argued the call, but to no avail.
That play seemed to sap the momentum for Norwalk as the next 11 Bears failed to reach base. Danbury starter Abe Almante dominated Norwalk for the second time this season, but struck out only two.
The big inning for Danbury was the fifth, when Norwalk starter Spencer Jacoby lost his command. The Bears righty walked four batters in a row and was replaced without getting an out. DelDibbio provided the death blow with a two-run double.
A late rally by the bottom of the Norwalk order in the top of the seventh proved too little, too late.
"That play [at the plate] was big because the next play would have been a sacrifice fly and we would have been up 2-0. It's always easier to play ahead than from behind," Tucci said. "We were hoping to make a little more noise here, but we'll have to get over this and our goal is to win a state championship."
Norwalk will now wait to find out who it will play in the Class LL state tournament, which begins next week.
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