NORWALK, Conn. -- The players on Norwalk Legion Post 12 realize they do not have the winning pedigree of their opponent after making their first-ever appearance in the A merican Legion's Connecticut title game.
Norwalk will take on defending state champion, Branford, on Friday at Muzzy Field in Bristol at 6:30 p.m. Despite having never made it this far before in the 83-year history of Connecticut legion baseball, more recent history gives Norwalk plenty of reasons to be confident.
In the winners bracket final, Norwalk beat Zone 4 rival Stamford on Tuesday in a stunning, come-from-behind victory . Post 12 trailed Stamford 7-0 in the fourth inning before erasing that huge deficit to win 10-8. The reward was two days off and time to put their best pitcher forward in what is sure to be a challenging matchup against an experienced team.
"They have earned it. These guys have busted their tails," Norwalk manager Chris Brown said. "I'm very proud of them. This team battles and we don't give up. We've got quality baseball in Zone 4 now. For anybody to say otherwise is a joke."
Post 12 made an impressive run in the state tournament after finishing second in Zone 4 behind Greenwich. After finishing the regular season at 20-7, Norwalk won five straight playoff games to come away victorious in the winners bracket of the double-elimination tournament. Despite a dominant postseason run, Norwalk shortstop Eric Stenger said the team realizes it can not relax.
"We've still got a job to do," Stenger said. "I've gone into championship games before in double-elimination in the winners bracket and lost twice. It's definitely not over."
Because Norwalk is undefeated in postseason play, it will have another chance to win the state title if Branford wins on Friday. The "if-necessary" game is scheduled for 11 a.m. on Saturday.
What do you think it will take for Norwalk to win the state championship tonight? Start the discussion below!
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