NORWALK, Conn. – The Norwalk Senior Legion Post 12 baseball team took a little pressure off its playoff run Tuesday night. Needing two wins in three days to have a chance to defend its state championship, Norwalk came up with a big second inning at the plate and a solid outing from Mike Parlanti on the mound as it beat Wilton, 6-4.
But spectators would never have known the tight spot Norwalk is in heading into its last two games of the season. The players on the Post 12 bench acted as if it was opening day, trading chatter and jokes throughout.
“We’ve been like this for two seasons,” Parlanti said of the team’s attitude. “This year hasn’t been as successful as last year because we got killed by injuries, but it’s finally coming together.”
Norwalk was even loose enough to pull off the holy grail of baseball defense — the hidden ball trick. Second baseman Leon Fleming, who had the ball from a previous play, caught Wilton’s Drew Clevenger wandering off the bag before Parlanti had returned to the mound.
“I told myself, I can quit baseball now. I’ve always wanted to pull off that play,” Parlanti said.
The trick play proved critical, as Wilton stormed back from a 6-1 deficit in its last at-bats in the seventh. Wilton managed to get the tying run on first, but Parlanti induced a flyout to shallow right to end the game.
After Fleming opened the scoring with an RBI single in the top of the first, Matt Ederle provided the big blow in the second. The Norwalk catcher blasted a bases-clearing double to give Post 12 a commanding 4-0 lead. A Chris Carter RBI single in the fifth and a Kevin Lawrence RBI single in the sixth gave Norwalk the insurance it needed.
Parlanti battled to secure the win with a shaky final two innings. The Norwalk starter sparkled in the first five frames, though, allowing just one single in that span. Parlanti finished with five strikeouts and four earned runs.
Norwalk (14-11) now sits just one win away from qualifying for the Senior Legion state tournament with two games remaining. Post 12 takes on Trumbull on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at Brien McMahon High. With severe storms threatening, however, a climactic double-header could be in the works on Thursday.
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