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New Canaan Leads Suspended Game In Ripken Tourney

NEW CANAAN, Conn. – New Canaan’s Cal Ripken 12-year-old All-Stars are six outs away from playing for the New England championship. The way Tuesday’s game went, however, those outs could be extremely tough to get.

New Canaan led Newtown, 11-10, in the winners bracket final of the New England Cal Ripken Tournament when the game was suspended heading into the bottom of the fifth. The teams will return to Newtown Wednesday at 5 p.m. to finish the game. The winner advances to the championship round. The loser faces Exeter, N.H., immediately afterward, and then needs to return Thursday to win two games in the championship round.

“I don’t know if it really matters (that the game was suspended),’’ New Canaan manager Chas Abate said. “We have to go out and play another 1½ innings.”

Tuesday’s slugfest dragged on for more than two hours before it was halted. The game also started late because of weather.

New Canaan saved its best for last, scoring five runs in the fifth inning to pull ahead. Dillon Abate socked a two-out grand slam to tie the game, and Matt Burger’s RBI single drove home Mike Pelli with the go-ahead run.

“That was clutch,’’ Chas Abate said of his son’s grand slam. “Down to our last four outs, down by four runs, and he hits a grand slam. I’m very proud of him.”

Dillon Abate’s blast was the fourth homer of the night for New Canaan. Rob Jones hit two two-run bombs, and Burger hit a solo homer. Abate has three hits in the game already, and has scored three runs. Burger also has three hits.

In the fifth, Pelli singled following Abate’s grand slam. Jones was intentionally walked, and Burger followed with his run-scoring single.

Newtown scored five times in the fifth to erase a 6-5 deficit. Now Newtown will have to do it again, this time against Jones. The left-handed flame thrower is available for two innings after pitching earlier in the tournament. “It’s no secret, he’ll be out there for the fifth,’’ manager Abate said.  “We’ll see after that.”

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