NORWALK, Conn. -- In their final tuneup game before the state tournament, the Norwalk 9-year-old Cal Ripken District 1 champions prevailed over New Canaan, 7-1, at Mead Park on Wednesday.
Matt Claps started the game and pitched two strong innings, striking out four and allowing one run. Chris Balchius, Vinny Velez and Sean Lengyel followed Claps and shut down New Canaan the rest of the way. Balchius was helped out in the third inning by back-to-back good plays from Norwalk first basemen John Diurno.
New Canaan put three runners on base in the bottom of the sixth, but Velez left them all stranded. In the top of the seventh the Norwalk bats came to life in a big way. With one out Velez reached first on a single up the middle, which was followed with a bunt base hit from Ryan Notley. CJ Arsenault came up and hit a single, scoring Velez with go-ahead run.
After the play, Arsenault caught the New Canaan infielders napping and took second base, which allowed Notley to also score. Later in the inning, Mike Russo collected two RBIs with a bullet to center field that scored Arsenault and Balchius. Kostacki Kodonas followed with an RBI single making the score 7-1. Lengyel closed out the game on the mound for Norwalk.
The Norwalk Cal Ripken 9s now head to South Meriden this weekend to represent District 1 in the state tournament.