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Stamford Junior Legion Wins First State Title

STAMFORD, Conn. – Stamford American Legion Junior division manager Scott Giorgi set a goal at the beginning of the season to return to the state championship game. The important distinction was that this time, he wanted them to win it. Saturday, Stamford achieved its primary objective.

Kevin Stone pitched a two-hitter and Stamford shut out Southington, 4-0, in Bristol to win its first Junior Division state championship. Stone was named the tournament MVP while teammate Randy Polonia was named the outstanding pitcher.  Stamford (27-4) will advance to the Junior American Legion Eastern Regional in Cranston, R.I., beginning Friday.

“Pitching has been our remedy all year,’’ Giorgi said.  “Legion baseball in Stamford is built on pitching and defense and aggressive base-running. We did that here today.”

Stone fanned nine, walked three and pitched out of the few jams he was in. With runners on second and third with one in the first, he struck out the next two. He also got out of a bases-loaded jam in the fifth with a strikeout.

Stone’s performance followed a dominant performance by Randy Polonia in the semifinals. Polonia shut down West Hartford on two hits. Stamford pitchers finished the tournament with 18 scoreless innings, and different pitchers won each game. Peter Dawson and Ryan Duggan earned the first two victories.

“Our success is related to our energy,’’ Stone said. “The way we care for each other and the way we’re always picking each other up. We’ve been together a short time but we bonded pretty quickly.”

Stamford got two runs in the first when Billy Murphy reached on an error, stole second and scored on Polonia’s triple. Stone’s sacrifice fly scored Polonia. Stone had another sacrifice fly to score Pollack in the third. Ryan Duggan tripled to lead off the fourth and scored on Joe Palumbo’s single. The rest was left to Stone, and Southington couldn’t solve him.

Stamford won four straight Senior Division titles from 1954-57, but had never won a crown in the Junior Division. Stamford fell in last year’s championship game to Bristol.

“This is a much sweeter feeling than last year,’’ Giorgi said. “Our focus from the first practice has been to get back here and win it. I’m proud of my guys.”

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