After being blanked for five innings, the Rye Brook Predators rallied for two runs in the sixth and seventh innings Saturday to edge Stamford Legion 4-3 in the 14-year-old championship game of the 25th annual Sharkey Laureno tournament.
Stamford Legion pitchers Kevin Stone, the tournament's sportsmanship award winner, and Jalen Brown pitched playoff style baseball.
Stone struck out seven, walked none and gave up one hit in his four innings. Manager Frank Spoto did not want to remove Stone in the fifth, but Stone had to come out of the game after pitching too many innings in the previous contest.
Jalen Brown came in to relieve Stone in the fifth and picked up where Stone left off. Brown shut down Rye Brook, keeping its hit total to just one.
Stamford Legion got on the scoreboard in the third when Stone helped his own cause with a triple that scored Coner Mathany. Stamford had a chance to break open the game in the third, but Mike Nunziante struck out with the bases loaded to end the inning.
The Legion managed to score single runs in the fifth and sixth innings to extend its lead to 3-0.
Brown got two quick outs in the sixth, but he hit Cris Ruiz, gave up an double to Dylan Rosk and a two-run single to Ryn Popp, cutting the Legion's lead to 3-2.
Predators pitcher Popp shut down Stamford in the seventh and left it up to his teammates to scratch out a walk-off win.
Brown once again struck out the leadoff hitter, but John Munnnick singled, stole second and came home on a single by Anthony Amoroso to tie the game.
Tyler Gambardelli, the tournament MVP, came to the plate with two outs. Brown got two strikes on Gambardelli, who then hit a bloop single.
Legion outfielder Mike Nunziante dove in an attempt to make the catch and had the ball briefly in his glove. But it dropped out, allowing Amoroso, who was running on contact, to score the winning run from second.
It was an exciting way to end a great tournament that provides scholarships to graduates of the Stamford Babe Ruth 13-15 baseball program.
For more information about the tournament go to: www.sharkeytournament.org.