NORWALK, Conn. – The Norwalk Little League All-Stars put themselves in a position to end a 28-year drought on Thursday night.
Norwalk rallied from a 4-0 deficit to defeat North Stamford, 6-4, in the District 1 winners’ bracket final at Springdale Elementary School in Stamford.
Norwalk can win the district title Saturday when it plays in the championship round against the winner of a game Friday between North Stamford and Stamford American. Saturday’s game is at 2 p.m. at Frank Noto Field in Stamford. If Norwalk loses on Saturday, it will force a winner-take-all game Sunday at Springdale at 4 p.m. in the double-elimination tournament.
Norwalk’s last district championship came in 1986 on a team that included Pete Tucci Jr., who went on to play professionally. Brien McMahon baseball coach John Cross was also a member of that team, and Pete Tucci Sr., now the Norwalk High baseball coach, was an assistant coach on the team.
The 2014 All-Stars set themselves to join the short list of Norwalk’s District 1 champions with a memorable win on Thursday. Trailing 4-0, Norwalk scored a run in the fourth and five in the fifth to knock off previously unbeaten North Stamford.
James Stefanowitz stroked a leadoff double in the fourth and came around to score. In the fifth, Michael Boyian slammed a three-run home run to tie the game. After Jack Mathews walked, Stefanowitz blasted a two-run shot to take the lead for good.
Shane Popkins got the win for Norwalk with relief help from Myles Andriopolos. Popkin and Andriopolos combined on a three-hitter. George Psichopaidas hit a grand slam in the fourth inning for North Stamford’s only runs.
Norwalk has a long way to go to match its 1986 predecessors. The District 1 winner has to play a divisional series and a sectional game to reach the best-of-3 state championship series. The state winner advances to the New England Tournament in Bristol.
Norwalk is 6-1 so far in the District 1 tournament. It lost its first game to North Stamford, 8-7, before winning its next four in pool play.
It has already been a banner year for Norwalk Little League, as Signature Landscaping won the District 1 Tournament of Champions.
Norwalk won the Little League World Series in 1952 in Williamsport, Pa.
Click here to see a complete roster of Norwalk's All-Star team.