STAMFORD, Conn. Even on a night when Grant Stone did not have his best stuff, he was still dominant. The 12-year-old North Stamford ace struck out six in five innings. He worked through five walks, and allowed only one unearned run to cross the plate for Darien.
Stone did it at the plate, too, clubbing one of three North Stamford home runs as it thrashed Darien American, 8-1, to move on to the District 1 Little League championship game.
"Stone really gutted it out tonight. He didn't really have his best fastball or curveball, but whenever he needed an out, he got it," North Stamford manager Dave Grafstein said. "This was our best all-around game of the tournament. We've hit well, pitched well and fielded well. Tonight we put it all together."
Stone wiggled his way out of two early jams, which would be Darien's only major threats of the evening. North Stamford forced a double play with runners on first and third in the first. Stone walked two batters in a row in the second, but still managed to strike out the side.
North Stamford's offense woke up in the second and never looked back. Stone led off with a triple, and Michael Grafstein clocked a two-run homer to stake North Stamford to a 2-0 lead.
North Stamford provided the big blow in the fourth when the first four batters reached. Telly Colarossi drove in a runner with the bases loaded and Alex Mella put the game out of reach with a bases-clearing double. Stone added a solo shot in the fifth while Grant Purpura put the exclamation point on the evening with a solo shot in the sixth.
"I was feeling pretty confident going into the game to try to get the team to the district championship," Stone said. "We put it together tonight. We're starting to get the bats going so we're feeling good for the title game."
North Stamford will seek its third straight District 1 championship in an all-Stamford final. It takes on unbeaten National Lione at Scalzi Park on Sunday at 4 p.m.
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