NEW CANAAN, Conn. – The New Canaan Cal Ripken 12-year-old All-Star team got off to a roaring start in the New England Regional Tournament this weekend in Newtown.
New Canaan came away with a 10-0 victory against Upton, Mass., and a come-from-behind 4-3 win versus Keene, N.H., to advance to the winner's bracket final Tuesday.
In Saturday's game, New Canaan took care of Upton in a four-inning, mercy-rule shortened victory. Matt Burger, Matty Evans, Robby Jones and Justin Stemerman all hit home runs for New Canaan. Stemerman's two-run shot in the fourth ended the game, triggering the 10-run mercy rule.
Mikey Pelli pitched three scoreless innings, giving up just two hits and striking out four. Burger pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the fourth.
On Sunday, New Canaan battled back in dramatic fashion to defeat Keene. After falling behind 3-0 in the second inning, New Canaan slowly chipped away at the New Hampshire team's lead. Dillon Abate drew a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the second to cut Keene's lead to 3-1, but New Canaan could not plate any more runs.
New Canaan, which has had a penchant for big innings throughout the playoffs, came up with another one in the fifth. Evans and Stemerman led off with back-to-back singles, then scored on a Keene error to tie the game. Two batters later, Kyle DeMayo ripped an RBI double to give New Canaan the lead for good.
Robby Jones capped four stellar innings of relief with a scoreless sixth inning, putting New Canaan in the winners bracket final.
New Canaan, which is now 9-0 in postseason play, takes on host Newtown at 5:45 p.m. Tuesday. The team is just two wins away from a Cal Ripken World Series berth.
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