NORWALK, Conn. The Norwalk Cal Ripken 11-year-old All-Stars have shown a fondness for come-from-behind wins this season. They'll need to do it in the state tournament, too.
Norwalk lost to Newtown on Wednesday night in Danbury, 10-6, in the winners' bracket final. Norwalk plays Oxford in Danbury at 5:30 p.m. Thursday in the losers' bracket final. If Norwalk wins, it would need to beat Newtown twice in the championship round, which begins Friday.
"We've been coming from behind all season, so I don't see why we can't do it,'' manager Mike Claps said. "This is a resilient team."
Johnny Thorme had four hits and two RBIs for Norwalk in Wednesday's game. Brendan Huertas had two hits, an RBI and scored two runs.
Norwalk trailed 5-3 entering the fifth. Newtown tacked on one in the fifth and four in the sixth before Norwalk rallied for four in the sixth to make the game interesting. Norwalk, known for its hitting, had nine hits. However, it also stranded 12 runners, and three innings fizzled with the bases loaded. Down 5-3 in the fourth, Norwalk had the bases loaded with one out and couldn't punch across a run. It also left the bases loaded in the first and fifth innings.
"I think we had some opportunities, and we just didn't get the big hit,'' Claps said. "And we might have thrown the ball around a little too much tonight."
Norwalk also committed four errors, and its pitchers could not solve Newtown's Joe Palanzo, who went three-for-three, scored four runs and drove in two runs. For Norwalk, Mike Claps reached base three times and scored a run, Jake Feinstein added an RBI single in the sixth, and Matt St. Louis reached base three times, including getting hit by a pitch twice.
The loss means Norwalk has to win the tournament the hard way. It's a position it knows all too well. "We can still do it,'' manager Claps said. "I believe in our guys."
Can Norwalk come from behind to win it all?
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