BRIDGEPORT -- The meeting of the two Little League all-star teams from Fairfield for the District 2 baseball championship had a swift end on Saturday at Blackham Field, wrapping up after just 3 1/2 innings due to the 10-run mercy rule. The Fairfield American All-Stars put on an offensive show in the first inning, scoring 10 runs, and defeating the Fairfield National All-Stars 12-2 to claim the District 2 championship.
Fairfield American, which beat Fairfield National 4-0 in the winners' bracket final on Tuesday, advances to the Section 1 tournament in Southington starting Wednesday. It will play the District 5 champion at 5:45 at Southington South Little League's Recreation Park.
Leading the way in Saturday's win was third baseman Kevin Oricoli, who had two hits and two RBI, and starting pitcher Will Lucas, who also had two hits, including a home run. Lucas, who pitched all 3 1/2 innings, was named the game's most valuable player.
Fairfield American entered Saturday's game looking to close out the series and avoid an "if" game on Sunday.
The team did so thanks to its offense, which showed up right from the start. In the bottom of the first inning, American worked three walks and six hits into 10 runs as the lineup batted around.
"The hitters are aggressive but very selective," Fairfield American coach Bill Meury said. "They're going to make pitchers throw strikes. They're not afraid to hit with two strikes on them and if someone's not going to be around the plate, we're going to pick up a walk or two and that puts an awful lot of pressure on the defense when that happens."
All ten runs came after Fairfield National thought it was out of the inning on a 3-2 pitch with the bases loaded and two outs. As the Fairfield National players began to jog off the field thinking the pitch was a strike, the umpire instead called it a ball, enabling Fairfield American to score its first run.
Fairfield National coach Bill Llewellyn called it a "turning point" in the game.
"It's part of the game," Llewellyn said. "Can't blame it on that, but it just got the momentum going for them."
After hitting station-to-station and working in walks to score the first eight runs, Lucas hit a homer to center field to put his team up 10-0.
"It was a pretty long at-bat, 3-2," Lucas said. "Bryan Azarian was the pitcher, he threw very well and I just got the barrel on the ball and hit it far."
Fairfield National's Robbie Farruggio hit his own two-run blast to left-center field in the third inning, but Fairfield American countered with two runs of its own in the bottom half of the inning.
"This is a great hitting team," Meury said of his opponent. "If you throw just fastballs these guys will put 10 runs on the board. So, (Lucas) was relying on breaking pitches as much as his fastball."
National was unable to score in the top of the fourth inning. The mercy rule states that the game is over if a team is down 10 runs or more after its fourth at-bat. So, just like that, the Fairfield American team was out celebrating on the field following a short but well-deserved victory.
"These guys have been together for three years, most of them," Meury said. "And they worked really hard."
FAIRFIELD NATIONAL 002 0--2 5 0
FAIRFIELD AMERICAN (10)02 x--12 10 0
Batteries: FN--Robbie Farruggio (L), Bryan Azarian and Tyler Llewellyn. FA--Will Lucas (W) and Biagio Paoletta