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New Canaan Cal Ripken Team Stays Alive

NEW CANAAN, Conn. – The epic battles between New Canaan and Newtown in the New England Cal Ripken 12-year-old tournament took another wild twist Thursday.

On Friday, the teams will meet once again with a World Series berth on the line.

Justin Stemerman’s RBI single in the 11th inning snapped an 8-8 tie and New Canaan went on to win, 9-8, in the championship round. The teams play at 5 p.m. Friday in Newtown with the winner going on to the World Series.

Newtown beat New Canaan, 12-11, in eight innings in the winners’ bracket final. New Canaan stayed alive by beating Exeter, N.H., 6-3, in the losers’ bracket final. That set up Thursday’s game, which produced another slugfest between the Connecticut teams.

New Canaan scored four runs in the top of the first, and Newtown answered with three. Newtown took a 7-5 lead with three runs in the fourth, and New Canaan forced extra innings with two runs in the fifth. Both teams scored in the eighth before Stemerman delievered his game-winning hit.

Mikey Pelli pitched six strong innings to get the win, yielding one earned run and just four hits. He also ripped three hits. Matt Burger had five hits. Rob Jones was walked five times, including a leadoff intentional pass to start the 11th inning rally.

In two tournament games, New Canaan and Newtown have combined for 40 runs and 40 hits. Jones is hitting .583, while Burger has a .538 batting average. Jones, Burger and Dillon Abate hit home runs in the earlier loss to Newtown. Pelli hit a home run in Thursday’s win.

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