Fairfield Babe Ruth 14 suffers narrow final loss
NORWALK -- The Babe Ruth 14 and under District 2 final had almost everything.
For Norwalk, it was just enough.
Fairfield left nine men on base in the game, including five in the final two innings. Norwalk squelched a potential Fairfield rally in the bottom of the sixth when shortstop Chris Cotaling robbed Taylor Szemplinski of a base hit and the go-ahead single.
"He's really stepped up his game," Norwalk coach Tim Hefferan said of Cotaling. "Those are the kinds of plays where they score two runs, you can't say enough about that play."
"I thought it was in the hole there," Fairfield coach Bill Moeder said. "Their shortstop made a great play."
Norwalk then took the lead in the top of the seventh, but not without earning it. Leadoff hitter Matt Downey doubled to leadoff the seventh frame, but was cut down at the plate on Trey Newcomb's single.
"Momentum shifted," Moeder said. "They got a couple of hits and scored the runs. They played a good game."
Fairfield put two runners on with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, when with two outs and two strikes Billy Moeder singled and reached third on C.J. Sabella's single and error by the Norwalk right fielder.
"Brendon made the pitches," Hefferan said. "And we played better defensively today."
Norwalk started the scoring in the second, when with the bases loaded Ed Petrillo grounded into a double play to plate the first run.
That was the only run until the fifth inning, when Ryan Restivo was hit by a pitch, moved to third after a walk and a single by Downey, then scored on a sacrifice fly by Newcomb.
Fairfield tied the game in the bottom of the fifth, when Kyle Cavadi led off the inning by getting hit by a pitch. Jack DeMarco then singled and both runners scored on Tommy Luckner's RBI triple which tied the game at 2.
But with one out, Fairfield could not drive in Luckner and Fairfield did not plate a runner after that.
"The momentum was kind of going Fairfield's way in the game," Hefferan said.
Norwalk advances to the state championships in Waterford, and was able to avenge a loss to Fairfield in the 13-year-old district 2 tournament a year ago, and also a 7-3 loss that forced Wednesday's do-or-die game.
"They beat us on the field, and then beat us again (Tuesday)," Hefferan said. "It says a lot about my team when last year they manhandled us to rebound from that."