GREENWICH, Conn. Greenwich was three outs away from elimination in the 12-year-old Cal Ripken District One tournament, but it took just one pitch for Colin Kelly to abruptly rewrite the ending. Kelly blasted the first pitch he saw off of Norwalk closer Mike Gonzalez to lead off the bottom of the sixth, tying the championship game at 2 all.
"I was nervous because [Gonzalez] has shut me down. Once I heard it off the bat I knew it was gone," Kelly said. "Before the inning, we all got up. We knew we weren't going to lose to [Norwalk] because we have their number."
While the tying run was majestic, the winning run was downright wacky. Gonzalez pitched around Greenwich's red-hot first baseman Marco Pastore, putting the winning run on base. After a groundout forced Pastore to second, Daniel Curley became the unlikely hero.
Curley dribbled a routine ground ball, but the play caused mass confusion around first base and the ball was thrown away. Pastore rounded third with his hands on his head in disbelief as he scored the winning run, clinching the Cal Ripken championship for Greenwich, 3-2.
"I couldn't believe I was seeing that error. I didn't think the game was going to end like that," Pastore said. "I was hoping to hit the walk-off [home run], but it's still nice to score the winning run."
Until the wild finish, the game seemed firmly in Norwalk's grasp. Matt Galyas solo home run, which barely cleared the left field wall, gave Norwalk a 2-1 lead in the fourth inning and looked like it would be the difference.
For the second straight game , however, Connor Langan came on in relief and shut down Norwalk. He struck out the side in the fifth and did not allow a base runner in the sixth, keeping Greenwich within striking distance. In five crucial innings pitched over the two-game final, Langan gave up just two hits and struck out six.
Greenwich will represent District One in the Connecticut Cal Ripken 12-year-old state tournament , held in Southbury. The tournament features the six district champions from around the state, an at-large qualifying team and host Southbury. The tournament begins on July 9.
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