SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — Mike Randazzo led his players out of the third base dugout and into left field, sitting them in a circle to begin his postgame speech.

The undefeated summer had just ended. The first “L” had been posted on the board as Lufkin, Texas, had outbattled Fairfield American on Sunday and taken a 6-3 victory. And looking at the disappointed looks on his players’ faces, Randazzo knew he didn’t need to say much.

“I told them, ‘Look at the score. That was a good game today,’” Randazzo said. “We played well. But I also told them, we have another game tomorrow.”

After 19 straight wins to open the tournament season, Fairfield American came up short in its winner’s bracket second-round game in the Little League World Series. Lufkin got a complete game from starter Collin Ross and a pair of home runs from Christian Mumphery to knock Fairfield into Monday’s loser’s bracket (8 p.m., ESPN) against Walla Walla, Wash., at Lamade Stadium.

Fairfield was limited to just four hits by Ross, who retired the last 15 batters he faced. He struck out eight and got two spectacular fielding plays from left fielder Kolby Kovar, who twice robbed Michael Iannazzo of potential extra-base hits.

More Information

Fairfield American (New England) vs. Walla Walla, Wash. (Northwest)

WHAT: Little League World Series elimination game

WHEN: Monday,8 p.m. ESPN

WHERE: Lamade Stadium, Williamsport, Pa.

SKINNY: Fairfield needs to win in order to stay alive in Little League World Series play. A victory means that Fairfield would play again on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at Lamade Stadium against the winner of the Mid-Atlantic Region versus West-Southeast Region loser. Lose, and it’s pack the bags and come home to Fairfield. Tyler Bauer will get the start for Fairfield American.

“That team made some plays that surprised me,” Randazzo said. “To be honest, that play the left fielder made was … I don’t know how he made the play. He made two of them. That’s what happens. Those plays go a different way, things can change.”

The first play, where Kovar basically spun around in a circle as he raced back toward the fence, ended the second inning as he caught the ball at the wall. The second one, coming in the fifth inning, he went back to the wall to make the catch, taking away a potential Fairfield American run.

“Our boys didn’t back down,” Randazzo said. “They weren’t happy to lose, which is good, but it was inevitable at some point. I’m happy that the game was close. It came down to the last couple of innings and we were on the wrong end of the result.”

Lufkin took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Chandler Spencer led off with a triple into the left field corner. Malcolm Deason grounded to Iannazzo, who threw home to catcher Aidan Rivera, who tagged out Spencer trying to score. Deason advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored on Collin Ross’s single up the middle.

Unfazed, Fairfield scored three times in the second inning. First, Rivera tied matters with a long home run to right field, then Owen Kalagher reached via an error. He went to second on a passed ball and scored on Leo Randazzo’s double to left to make it 2-1. Pinch-runner Christian Smith advanced to third on a wild pitch and he scored on Ethan Righter’s grounder to third.

But that was it for Fairfield offensively. Ross, who had given up four hits in the opening two innings, changed his delivery motion and started overpowering the Fairfield hitters.

“He was throwing a lot of fastballs, throwing hard,” Matt Vivona said. “He didn’t have a great breaking ball, we just didn’t time him up good. He was throwing hard. Maybe we were a little overaggressive. We could have tried and gotten his pitch count up a little bit more.”

“The kid threw strikes,” Mike Randazzo said. “He got ahead in the count. For most of the game he was ahead in the count. And when you get strike one, you put the hitters at a disadvantage. We had some long at-bats, we squared up on a bunch of balls that didn’t get through, and it just happens. That’s baseball.”

Chip Buchanan singled to open the Texas second and he scored when Mumphery hammered a deep home run to center to tie the game at 3-3.

Texas took a 5-3 lead in the fourth. Iannazzo hit pinch-hitter Zach Phipps, who advanced to second on Spencer’s single. Deason’s RBI single plated Phipps, and both Spencer and Deason advanced on the throw to the plate. Spencer then scored on a wild pitch. Mumphery’s second home run of the game in the bottom of the fifth completed the scoring.

“We knew that we didn’t play great today, we didn’t play our best but tomorrow we’re going to be hungry to win,” Vivano said. “Hopefully, we’ll play like we usually do.”

PLAYER OF THE GAME

Texas pitcher Collin Ross. He allowed just four hits, retiring the last 15 Fairfield American batters. He struck out eight and didn’t walk a batter. Oh, he also went 2 for 3 at the plate with a double and an RBI single.

UNSUNG HERO

Fairfield American catcher Aidan Rivera. In addition to hitting a solo home run to tie the game in the second inning, he also tagged a runner out at the plate — the runner tried to leap over him — to keep the game scoreless in the bottom of the first.

QUOTABLE

“It was kind of distracting. I kept looking up into the stands. I knew I had to try and focus.” — shortstop Ethan Righter on looking at the players from the Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals, who watched some of the game from the Lamade Stadium stands.

celsberry@ctpost.com

LUFKIN, TEXAS, 6,

FAIRFIELD AMERICAN 3

FAIRFIELD AMERICAN 030 000—3 4 0

LUFKIN, TEXAS 120 21x—6 10 1

Batteries: FA—Michael Iannazzo (L), Tyler Bauer (5) and Aidan Rivera; L—Collin Ross (W) and Chandler Spencer. HR: FA—Aidan Rivera; L—Christian Mumphery (2)