HARWINTON -- On an afternoon when its usually reliable fielders who often come up with sparkling plays, were prone to a case of the yips, the Fairfield American all-stars were forced to depend on solid pitching, timely hitting and aggressive base running to capture the 2014 Connecticut Little League championship.
Fairfield (12-1) earned a berth in the New England Regional for the third time in five years on Sunday when it defeated South Windsor National 12-2 in four innings at the Harwinton Sports Complex.
South Windsor (12-2) scored single runs in the first and third innings for a 2-0 lead. Then the Americans' batters began to solve the Nationals starter, working deep into the counts to get the pitches they liked, beginning in the bottom of the third inning to rally all the way for their second mercy-rule victory in as many days.
They combined to piece together six hits, six walks and a South Windsor error to score eight runs in the third inning and four more in the fourth two wrap up the state title by opening a 10-run lead after the fourth inning had started.
Fairfield shortstop Brian Howell was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to bring in the 12th run, which ended the game; Jamie Flink belted his eighth homer of the summer, a three-run opposite-field shot to left field, in the third that gave the Americans an 8-2 lead. Earlier in the third, Ian Bentley singled home two runs to make it 2-2.
Americans' starter PJ Egan, their ace, couldn't quite match No. 2 starter Sam Davenport who stung the Nationals with a two-hitter in Fairfield's 10-0 win on Saturday. But he battled throughout and shut down South Windsor after Fairfield went ahead in the fourth.
"PJ didn't have his perfect stuff," said Fairfield manager Michael Steed, "but he had real good stuff. PJ has the ability to dig deep. He made some clutch pitches. He has pitched out of jams multiple times this season.
"We played good at times and not so good at times," Steed said. "It was a typical Little League game. There were a couple of errors, and a pitcher who has been lights out for us walked some batters down in their lineup."
Egan gave up six hits and two walks. He stranded four runners and struck out five. He pitched a no-hitter through 4 2/3 inning in his last outing, on Wednesday in the Section 1 championship game against Farmington.
"It's kind of a surprise each time you hit one over the fence," Flink said. "He threw a couple of fastballs and a curveball. He fell behind in the count. Then he threw it outside. Luckily it went out."
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State Little League finals
SOUTH WINDSOR 101 0--2 6 2
FAIRFIELD AMERICAN 008 4--12 9 1