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Top 10 Summer Sports Stories In Fairfield County

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. – Summer can be a relatively quiet time in local sports, but it was any thing but quiet in Fairfield County over the past few months.

Fairfield American’s young ballplayers, Olympic contestants and the sobering death of a triathlete in Westport were among the top stories. Here’s a look at my Top 10 summer stories for 2012:

1. Fairfield American reaches Williamsport again: For the second time in three years, the team from Fairfield played in the Little League World Series. It was another fantastic run for Fairfield American, which battled through District 2, Section 1, State and New England tournaments to reach the World Series. The cherry on top came from pitcher Will Lucas, who threw a no-hitter before a national television audience for Fairfield’s second win of the series against New Castle, Ind. The run was the thrill of a lifetime for a talented group of 12- and 13-year-old boys.

2. County Olympians compete — and even earn a medal: New Canaan’s Charlie Cole won a bronze medal in rowing with the Men’s Four at the Summer Olympics in London. Weston’s Nick LaCava also competed in rowing, while Darien’s Rob Crane (sailing) and Fairfield’s Craig Kinsley (track and field) also represented Fairfield County on the world stage.

3. Contestant dies at triathlon in Westport: Wallingford’s Robert Hartline died a day after being pulled from Long Island Sound during the Sherwood Island Sprint Triathlon. Triathletes also died in races in New York and Vermont this summer. All three deaths occurred during the swim phase.

4. Chelsea Piers Connecticut arrives, along with the SoNo Ice House: In Stamford, Chelsea Piers Connecticut opened with a big building and an even bigger array of sporting options, everything from swimming to hockey to gymnastics. The new rink in SoNo is also noteworthy, bringing with it a minor league hockey team, the Connecticut Oilers.

5, Stamford’s American Legion Junior division team makes history: Led by a deep pitching staff, Stamford won its first state title in the Junior division. The team went on to win the New England title as well and finish the season 29-4.

6. Wilton wallops way to District 1 Little League title: If there was a team that could have given Fairfield American a run for its money, it was Wilton. The team coached by Kevin Black went 7-0 in winning the District 1 title, outscoring opponents, 107-13, along the way. Wilton led Fairfield American, 7-0, in the Section 1 tournament, but Fairfield American rallied for an 8-7 win. Wilton never recovered, but it does not diminish its impressive run to its first district title in 35 years.

7. Fairfield softball win second straight New England title: The team coached by Jarry Rasmussen lost many key players from last year’s squad. However, with teamwork, determination and a pitching staff anchored by Brittany Romero and Maddie Russell, Fairfield came within a game of playing for a berth in the Little League Softball World Series.

8. Triathletes make waves: The popularity of the sport continues to explode, especially in Fairfield County. A new race popped up in Norwalk this summer, and nearly every coastal community from Greenwich to Bridgeport has at least one event. Some of the country’s top athletes call Fairfield County home, including Easton’s Chris Thomas, Wilton’s Amy Bevilaqua, Stamford’s Megan Kelly and John Cook, and Greenwich’s Karen Newman and Reenie Parker.

9, New Canaan Cal Ripken team reaches New England tournament: New Canaan’s 12-year-old Cal Ripken baseball team had a tremendous summer, winning the state championship and falling in the final game of the New England tournament. A Fairfield American-New Canaan match-up would have been an interesting contest.

10. Golfer Danny Balin wins Met Open, New York Open in same year: The Greenwich golfer won two of the most prestigious tournaments in the region and played in the PGA Championship, too. He is, unquestionably, the best golfer in Fairfield County. He made a compelling argument that he might be better than any player in New York and New Jersey, too.

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