NORWALK, Conn. The Wildcats softball team of the Norwalk Recreation and Parks league finished fourth in the recent state tournament and earned a berth in next month's American Softball Association national tournament in Salem, Va.
The Wildcats will compete in the ASA Class D Nationals in September. The Aces, who also compete in Norwalk, have also qualified for the Class D nationals.
Chris Tegano hit .676 for The Wildcats in the state tournament. Other top hitters included Al Schor, .667; Eric Dralley, .615; and Donnie Smith, .606.
The Wildcats won their first three games in the state tournament. In their opener against Martella's, the Wildcats overcame an early 4-1 deficit to run-rule Martella's, 16-6. In the second game against Total Fence, Schor's grand slam helped the Wildcats build an early 10-0 lead. Total Fence climbed within 10-8 going into the sixth, but the Wildcats added four more in the seventh and held on for a 14-10 win. Against Mount Dairy, the Wildcats cruised to a 9-3 win for a berth in the winners bracket semifinals.
The Wildcats lost in the semis to Tommy Tape. The teams waged a memorable battle in last year's national tournament, with Tape (then known as Shirt Graphics) pulling out a 25-24 victory. Tape built a 12-run lead in the rematch, only to see the Wildcats claw to within four. The Wildcats had the bases loaded in the seventh and the tying run at the plate, but that was as close as the Norwalk team would get.
In the losers bracket, the Wildcats nipped the defending state champions, Punching The Clowns, 6-5. The Wildcats took an early 4-0 lead, only to see PTC tie it at 5-5 entering the seventh. Mike Roberto's leadoff single and Tegano's double started the game-winning rally. Marc Rubush delivered the winning run with a sacrifice fly.
Mount Dairy, which earlier lost to the Wildcats, eliminated the Norwalk team with 16-10 victory. Mount Dairy scored seven runs in the first inning. The Wildcats responded with a pair. Mount Dairy tacked on nine runs over the next two innings to put the game away. Mount Dairy eventually made it to the state championship game before losing to Dinardos, 15-14, in eight innings.
The Wildcats are coached/managed by Donnie Smith. They are 5-5 in the Men's Friday Adult Softball League heading into a key game Friday against The Aces at 7 p.m. at Calf Pasture Beach.
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