Branford's American Legion Post 83 baseball squad continues a dream season as it defeated Worcester 12-2 in Regionals to earn a trip to Shelby, North Carolina, to compete in the American Legion World Series as the Northeast's representative.
According to the Connecticut American Legion Baseball website, "Championships are no stranger to Branford, winning Connecticut State Championships in 2005, 2007, 2010, and now adding another State Championship and Regional Tournament Championship in 2013."
Post 83 finished the 2013 regular season with a a 26-1 record. Branford is coached by Rich Balzano and Frank Forgione. Chet Santoro is the team's manager.
The Sound quoted Balzano on what it means to be heading to the World Series.
“We’re going to North Carolina with the most balanced team we’ve ever had and aren’t going there just to keep the cars running and come back. We’re going there to play hard and win some games. This means a lot to us as a program because we’ve put Branford American Legion baseball on the map and so when kids decide where they’re going to play, they may come here instead of going somewhere else.”
The Sound also reported that Mike Funaro—who was hospitalized after being hit in the helmet by a pitch in the first Worcester gamel—did not play in the Regional-clinching game, but he was in uniform and received an ovation when the rosters were announced.
“We heard that Mike might be able to play again if we made it to the World Series,” teammate John Amendola told The Sound. “So it means a lot to give him a chance to get back on the field because he’s one of our leaders.”
The team includes nine players from Branford, eight from North Branford and Northford and one who attends Notre Dame.
The 2013 American Legion World Series will be held from Friday, Aug. 16 to Tuesday, Aug. 20 and fans can watch live on ESPN3.com.