MERIDEN, August 3 – For the second straight game, a hit in the final at-bat for the Stamford American Legion baseball team sparked a victory. This time, it secured a state championship for Post 3.
T.J. Wainwright’s one-out double to center field in the top of the seventh inning lifted Stamford to a 1-0 victory over Southington as Post 3 swept the best-of-3 state championship series Saturday at Ceppa Field.
Stamford hurler Grant Purpura went the distance for Post 3, scattering four hits, striking out seven and walking just one. Southington pitcher Ryan Henderson also pitched all seven innings, allowing five hits, striking out seven and walking five.
Stamford (29-3), which has won 15 straight games, captured their second state championship in three years. Post 3 also won the state title in 2017. It was Stamford’s fourth trip to the finals in the past five seasons.
On Friday, a two-run single in the bottom of the sixth inning lifted Stamford to a 2-1 win in game one.
Scoreless in the top of the seventh inning on Saturday in game 2, Stamford’s Jaden Dawkins led off with a single and moved to second base on Noah Skaug’s sacrifice bunt. Dawkins scored the only run of the game on Wainwright’s double.
Southington (23-9) threatened in the sixth inning. With one out, Post 72’s Kyle Leifert singled and Joshua Panarella reached on an error. But Purpura coaxed Southington’s Ethan McDonough into grounding into an inning-ending double play.
Purpura had a great tournament, earning three wins in four appearances and being named the tournament MVP. He allowed just two runs and struck out 30 in four appearances.
Henderson pitched out of a jam for Southington in the fifth inning when Stamford loaded the bases with one out. Dawkins was hit by a pitch, Noah Skaug reached on a bunt single and after Wainwright struck out, Joe Skarad walked to load the bases.
But Henderson got Reid Gesuald to fly out to right field and struck out Joe Gambino to end the inning and the threat.
Stamford, which won the sixth title in the program’s history, and Southington both advance to the Northeast Regional tournament on August 7-11 at Fitton Field in Shrewsbury, Mass.
Stamford 1, Southington 0
Stamford (29-3) 000 000 1 — 1-5-1
Southington (23-9) 000 000 0 — 0-4-0
Grant Purpura and Joe Skarad; Ryan Henderson and Joshua Panarella; WP: Purpura; LP: Henderson; 2B: T.J. Wainwright (Stamford); Jacob Romano (Southington)