NEW HAVEN -- It wasn't enough for the Fairfield American Little League team to simply make history in its state championship series against Avon.
American had to cap its unprecedented run with an exclamation point.
American routed Avon 10-0 in a mercy-rule shortened game, taking its third consecutive state championship at McGowen Field.
"We didn't want to have to go to a game three," American manager Bill Meury said. "We played really, really well."
Fairfield American is the first league in Connecticut Little League history to claim three consecutive state championships. American is just one step away from becoming the second Fairfield American squad in three years to reach the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa.
Fairfield will open its New England regional tournament starts Friday at 8:15 p.m. against Coventry American (R.I.) at Breen Field in Bristol.
"The competition up there is real," Meury said. "When you get there, you feel like you're playing with house money. We hope we can put together some good games and take it from there."
Fairfield's Matt Kubel surrendered just two hits in four innings, striking out five and earning the victory despite having less than his best.
"(Kubel) came in after the first inning and said `I don't feel good,'" Meury said. "His timing was off and he couldn't throw his curve ball for strikes ... He battled through it and threw a good game, but he's thrown better than that."
"My mechanics were off a little in that first inning," Kubel added.
Biagio Paoletta homered, tripled, scored two runs and drove in three and Kevin Oricoli struck a three-run homer to cap a five-run fourth inning.
"Everybody on our team can hit," Paoletta said. "It's great knowing that 1-9, everybody can hit."
Avon pitcher Dylan Nastri allowed two hits and five runs -- only one of which was earned -- taking the loss. Avon finished its summer 13-2.
"They're a very, very good team," Avon coach Steve Harris said. "I'm very disappointed that the we didn't play the kind of baseball that we played to get here." American outscored Avon 18-0 in two games -- it would have been 19-0 if not for rain washing away Dan Kiernan's fifth-inning home run in Saturday's rain-shortened, four inning contest. Of Fairfield's 18 runs scored, only nine were earned.
"We made a ton of errors, gave them a lot of opportunities and a lot of extra outs," Harris said. "We didn't play our best baseball over two games." After scoring eight runs in the first inning Saturday, American took the lead before Avon was able to hit for the second straight day. Ryan Meury was hit by the game's first pitch, then circled the bases on wild pitches, scoring one that put Fairfield ahead 1-0.
"I think there was an element of `this is a different game if we don't score in the first inning,'" Bill Meury said. "Psychologically, it told (American) that we were going to score some runs today." And score runs American did in the second. Chris Meyers' leadoff single was Fairfield's first hit. After Henry Prestegard walked and a wild pitch put runners on second and third with two outs, Meury hit a ground ball that Avon second baseman Will Trahmann fielded, but threw to first wildly, allowing special pinch runner Matty Clarkin and Prestegard to score.
"I think the key play of the game was the error at second base," Harris said. "It allowed them to extend that inning." Paoletta followed with a home run deep over the wall in right, on a 1-2 count, putting Fairfield up 5-0.
"He had me on the ropes," Paoletta said. "I guess he just left one over the plate and I hit it." Kubel battled on the mound, getting substantial help from his defense. Oricoli and Michael Ghiorzi turned double plays and Fairfield did not make an error for the second straight day.
"We don't give people a lot of runs," Meury said. "It helps our pitchers." "They were huge," Kubel said of his defense.
When Kubel induced Ryan Ollestad to ground out to short to end the game, only one feeling hit him.
"It's just relief," he said.
FAIRFIELD AMERICAN 140 5 -- 10 6 0
AVON 000 0 -- 0 2 1
Batteries: FA -- Matt Kubel (W) and Biagio Paoletta; A-- Dylan Nastri (L), Sam Leopold (4) and Ryan Ollestad; Home runs: FA -- Paoletta, Kevin Oricoli.