MIDDLETOWN, Conn. So close.
The New Canaan Rams baseball team only needed four outs to claim its first state championship when it all unraveled. After getting the first two outs of the bottom of the sixth, Fitch High Schools Zach Wolfgang reached on an infield hit, though third baseman Willie Burger tried to get Wolfgang after trying to handle a tough hop. The single set up a three-run Falcons rally and the 6-4 margin theyd need to eventually win the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference Class L championship.
New Canaan (14-11) seemed ready to finish riding the wave that led the team to the state championship game, taking an early 3-0 lead in the first inning with two runs coming courtesy of a Burger triple. Fitch managed to tie the game with two runs in the third and another in the fourth.
New Canaan seemed set to claim the title after Nick Cascione drove home pitcher Dan Rajkowski with a 2-out single in the top of the sixth, giving the Rams a 4-3 lead. But things fell apart in the bottom of the sixth. Fitch tied the score at 4-4 when Jonathan Conley hit a single up the middle. Fitch took the lead for good when Falcons center fielder Chris Coram-Giles hit a 2-run triple.
New Canaan couldnt muster a rally in the top of the seventh, going down in order, giving the Groton school another title. That New Canaan could be in this position was unthinkable weeks ago. The Rams came into the Class L tournament as a 24-seed after finishing a 10-10 regular season.
New Canaan Head Coach Mitch Hoffman said he hopes the younger members of the team understand what happened and the older members of the squad should realize theyve laid a strong foundation for New Canaan baseball in the future. Sometimes you learn and you take that adversity and you come back stronger, he said.
This tournament is great that its only one game, but its tough that its only one game, Hoffman said. I would love to play these guys two out of three because I think these are two great teams.
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