NORWALK—Kyle DeMayo plays baseball for moments like this.
Bottom of the seventh, bases loaded, the game on the line, the ball in his hand.
DeMayo, a senior right-hander for New Canaan, made the long walk in from right field to stand high up on the mound, getting the final out with the bases loaded in the Rams’ 9-7 win over Norwalk at the Callahan Athletic Complex on Monday.
It was New Canaan’s fifth win in six games as the Rams improved to 8-5 overall and qualified for the state tournament.
“It’s not pressure. It’s what you want,” said DeMayo, who threw four pitches to earn the save by getting Jake Dumas to ground out to second base. “That’s the dream, to come in and save your team like that. It’s really awesome.”
DeMayo didn’t just save his team the win, he also saved a total collapse by the Rams, who jumped out to a 9-0 lead after three innings.
Norwalk, however, scored three in the fourth, two in the fifth and two in the seventh to make a run at New Canaan.
“We stopped playing a little bit,” New Canaan coach Geoff Lambert said. “We stopped hitting and we let them back in it. It was a struggle. We were one pitch away from run-ruling them and then we let them back in the game. We just had to refocus.”
Chase Fichtner (double, 2 singles) had three hits and two RBIs to pace the New Canaan offense, while Frankie Ramppen added two singles.
Everybody in New Canaan’s lineup had at least one hit as the Rams had 12 in the game.
Mike Boyian had two hits for Norwalk while Randy Mateo had a three-run bases-loaded double.
“Listen, sometimes you just don’t have the horses,” Norwalk coach Pete Tucci said. “But as long as they compete, I have no problem. It could have been easy to pack it in, but we didn’t.”
AN EARLY LEAD
Ramppen opened the game with a single and advanced to third on Nate Bozzella’s double.
Ramppen then scored on a wild pitch before Bozzella scored on Fichtner’s two-out RBI single as the Rams took a 2-0 lead in the first inning.
In the second, New Canaan put up six runs to take control of the game.
Ryan McAleer, Ramppen, and DeMayo each had RBI base knocks to push the lead to 5-0 before Griffen Arnone laced a two-run double to make it 7-0.
Fichtner added another RBI single and it seemed as though the rout was on.
“That was great,” DeMayo said. “We’ve been working on trying to get more runs and get on teams early, and we did that today. We got their starter out quickly and got into their bullpen.”
New Canaan added a run in the third on Michael Tuffy’s single.
Norwalk didn’t roll over.
Mateo’s bases-loaded double sparked the Bears offense, which cut the lead to 9-5 by the end of the fifth.
Chris Buzzeo had a two-run single in the fifth as Norwalk made a game of it.
In the seventh, Norwalk again loaded the bases courtesy of a hit batter (Boyian) and two walks (Clayton Bray, Mateo).
Boyian scored on a fielder’s choice and Marco Monteiro drove home a run with a bases-loaded walk.
Enter DeMayo, however, to end things.
“We brought our senior in to close it and he shut them down,” Lambert said. “(Demayo’s) a senior and he has the experience. He was calm out there when we needed it.”
Tucci, whose team has lost four straight to fall to 4-10, was pleased his team made a run at the Rams.
“When you fall behind by nine and you come back and have a chance to win or tie the game with one swing, that’s a pretty good effort,” Tucci said. “That’s the way I look at it.”
Norwalk pitchers David Chuba and Jack Letizia came in to settle the Bears down, pitching four innings of two-hit ball.
NEW CANAAN 9, NORWALK 7
NEW CANAAN 261 000 0—9 12 1
NORWALK 000 320 2—7 9 1
Records: New Canaan 8-5, Norwalk 4-10; Batteries: NC—Zachary Lopez, Patrick Metzger (6), Kyle DeMayo (7); N—Clayton Bray, Gavin Kempa (2), David Chuba (4), Jack Letizia (6) and Marco Monteiro; WP—Lopen, LP—Bray, Sv—DeMayo.