STAMFORD, Conn. Stamford American Legion under-17 player Andrew Oakes threw nine scoreless innings against Norwalk in a 1-0 extra innings win Tuesday. Thursday, he took care of his neighbors to the north with his bat.
Oakes crushed a three-run triple in the sixth inning and scored on an overthrow to break the game open as Stamford defeated Norwalk, 9-5, at Cubeta Stadium for its ninth straight win. Stamford (12-2) stands in first place in the league standings and owns a two-game lead over Trumbull.
"It was just right in my zone,'' Oakes said of the pitch that he crushed into the gap in left-center. "It was right where I wanted it."
Oakes hustled to third as Nick Palumbo, Bryan Pischel and Jeff Cortese raced around the bases. Oakes came home when the throw from the outfield sailed past the third baseman. What had been a tight 5-3 game erupted into a rout for Stamford.
The game was not Stamford's cleanest. Starting pitcher Logan McCullough labored through 6 2/3 innings in which he struck out nine, but walked eight. He allowed five hits, and was hurt by three errors. Pischel came on to get the final out. "Not our best game at all, but Logan has been a horse for us,'' manager Scott Giorgi said. "We're happy to get the win."
Norwalk jumped on McCullough for an unearned run in the first. Oakes' RBI single tied it in the bottom of the inning. Norwalk added two more in the second, and Stamford got one back in the bottom half on Pischel's RBI double. Stamford took the lead for good in the fourth on an RBI single by Palumbo and Nick Della Jacono's two-run single.
Palumbo ignited the offense with three hits, three runs scored and an RBI. Oakes had two hits and four RBIs, and Billy Murphy reached twice and scored two runs.
Oakes and McCullough give Stamford a powerful 1-2 pitching punch. Both are undefeated in a season where Stamford pitchers have thrown five shutouts. Stamford has allowed 33 runs in 14 games and posted back-to-back wins over Norwalk, a perennial league contender. Stamford's pitching staff will be challenged over the next 10 days when Oakes travels with his family for a European vacation.
"I don't know if you could see this coming,'' Giorgi said of the nine-game winning streak. "I've had nine or 10 of them on the team since they were 13 years old. Just to see them improve and get better each year is outstanding. We have a lot of guys who come into a game and make a contribution for us. It's an all-around team effort."
Stamford looks to extend its winning streak in a busy weekend that includes a doubleheader at Wilton Friday and games Saturday and Sunday against Westport.
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