Members of the Stratford 8-year-old Cal Ripken All-Stars run off the field during state tournament action earlier this month. The team is playing the New England Tournament in Milford this week. (File photo by John Nash)

Stratford Ripken 8’s open New England tourney with a split of pool play games

MILFORD—The Stratford Baseball Association Cal Ripken 8-year-old All-Stars, which won the Connecticut state championship last week, has opened up the New England tournament by splitting its first two pool play games.

Stratford lost a heartbreaking extra-inning game, 8-5, to Fall River, Mass., in its opener before for rebounding for a 10-0 win over North Middlesex, Mass., in game two.

The team wraps up its pool play portion of the tournament facing Westport, Mass., in a 4 p.m.

In Sunday’s second game, Brett Fernandes and Jack Madar combined for a four-inning, mercy-rule shortened no-hitter.

Fernandes didn’t give up a hit in his two innings of work, striking out four. Madar fanned five in two innings of work without walking anybody.

Stratford scored two runs to open the game in the bottom of the first before Fernandes delivered an RBI single to give his team a 3-0 lead.

Tyler Stirk then grounded out into an RBI out, but a throwing error allowed another runner to score to make it a 5-0 game coming out of the gate.

In the second inning, RBI hits by TJ Marshall and Tate Carmona made it a 7-0 game.

Fernandes later added another RBI single by Brendan Lesczczynski and Marshall were both walked with the bases loaded to plate runs, as well.

Fernandes was named Player of the Game for Stratford, which was successful on 13 of 15 steal attempts.

On Saturday, Stratford and Fall River were tied up at 5-5 after six innings before the team from the Maplewood Independent Youth Baseball League put up a three-spot in the top of the seventh.

Fall River took a 1-0 lead in the first courtesy of a walk, a couple of passed balls and an RBI groundout.

Stratford answered, though, with three runs to take a lead.

Fernandes laced a two-run single before Lesczczynski later walked with the bases loaded to make it 3-1.

Fall River put up a crooked number of their own in the second, scoring four runs to take a 5-3 lead.

Stratford got one back in the fourth when Marshall laced an RBI double down the left-field line to make it 5-4.

In the fifth, the locals tied the game.

Papo Quattrucci, who had come in relief to strike out the side in the top half of the fifth, had a two-out single to left field to plate the tying run, making it a 5-5 game.

Stratford also had a chance to walk off in the bottom of the sixth, putting runners on second and third with just one out.

A strikeout and ground ball out ended the rally, sending the game to extra innings.

Quattrucci (2-for-4, run scored, RBI, 2 innings pitch, 4 strikeouts) was named Stratford’s player of the game.

Pitching had been a strength for Stratford, but in this game they walked nine total with seven coming around to score.

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