NORWALK, Conn. The Norwalk Senior Legion Post 12 baseball team has made a habit out of come-from-behind wins all season. The deficit it overcame against Zone 4 rival Stamford on Tuesday night in the state tournament winners' bracket final was nothing short of miraculous.
Norwalk's bats took a few innings to come alive, but when they did, they did not stop. Post 12 pounded out 13 hits in the final five innings, erasing a 7-0 deficit and clinching its first-ever berth in the American Legion state championship game, 10-8.
"I had confidence in all these guys. In baseball you play every inning," Norwalk head coach Chris Brown said. "You get down on yourself for a second, but they figured it out. They're a total team right now and I'm really proud of them."
Norwalk's Eric Stenger pitched 5 2/3 innings of stellar relief to stop the bleeding and earn the win. It was the first time Stenger has pitched all season, coming off a shoulder injury.
After collecting only two hits in the first four innings, it all suddenly clicked. Norwalk sent 10men to the plate in the fourth and slowly, but surely climbed back into the game. Spencer Jacoby got Norwalk on the board with an RBI groundout. Kevin Daniele ripped a two-run double. Matt Ederle and Scott Angeley each singled in a runner and suddenly the Stamford lead was reduced to 7-5.
After Stamford added one last run, Norwalk got another big inning in the sixth. Daniele and Kevin Cawley rapped out two more RBI hits. Leon Fleming made the comeback complete with a sacrifice fly to center, driving in Daniele who scored with an emphatic slide. Fleming also drove in the go-ahead run in the eighth with a bases loaded walk.
"We fight. That's all we do. I was just trying to keep it under control," Stenger said. "I lost a state championship to [Stamford] in Babe Ruth when I was 15. I wasn't going to lose to them again."
Norwalk will play in their first-ever state championship in the 83-year history of Connecticut Legion baseball on Friday. It is the first time a team from Zone 4 has made the finals since Trumbull in 1998.
Do you think the Norwalk Post 12 Senior Legion team can win the state championship? Start the discussion below!
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.