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National Lione Nips North Stamford In Districts

STAMFORD, Conn. – National Lione knocked out three-time defending District 1 champion North Stamford, 9-7 in seven innings, in the semifinals of the District 1 Little League Tournament on Tuesday at Scalzi Park. National Lione will meet Wilton for the district title Friday at Springdale.

“It was a long time coming, but I’ll take it,’’ National Lione manager Lee Isenstein said after the two-hour and 15-minute marathon ended. “Our team just never gave up.”

North Stamford fought back from a 6-0 deficit to tie it at 7-7 with two runs in the bottom of the sixth. North Stamford had the tying run at the plate in the bottom of the seventh before National Lione winning pitcher Conor Nicholson got the final out with a strikeout.

“This game defines what kind of team we are,’’ North Stamford manager Gary Purpura said. “I couldn’t be more proud of the kids. The only thing I would change is the final score.”

Anthony Frangiose opened the seventh with a single and took second on a wild pitch. James Sassi’s double delivered the eventual winning run, and he scored an insurance run on a groundout by John Nelson.

Frangiose hit a two-run home run in the first for Lione, finishing with three hits, three RBIs and two runs scored. John MacDonald added three hits and two RBIs as Lione had 18 hits.

Hunter Semmel had four hits and three RBIs for North Stamford, including a two-run home run in the third. Michael Lisinicchia hit a solo home run, and his two-out double delivered a run in the sixth. Dom Svrcek’s double drove home Lisinicchia with the tying run in the sixth. Nicholson got out of the jam to send the game to extra innings. John Farrell also homered for North Stamford.

“It’s great to finally beat them,’’ Nicholson said. “I was on the team that lost to them last year for the district championship. They have a great team. I’m glad we were able to get this one.”

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