As usual, facing elimination did nothing to faze Fairfield American Little League.
Matt Kubel dominated, throwing 4 2/3 scoreless innings, and American's offense scored six runs in the fourth inning as Fairfield staved off elimination with a 12-0, mercy-rule-shortened, five-inning win over Kearney, Neb., Saturday in front of 16,390 at Lamade Stadium.
"I thought they swung the bats well," Fairfield American manager Bill Meury said. "They were getting good pitches to hit and when they put them in play, they put them in play pretty hard."
Biagio Paoletta was 2-for-4 with three RBIs and Patrick Steed scored two runs and drove in one. Will Lucas was 2-for-2 with a home run and five RBIs, lifting his batting average to .800 at the World Series.
"He's locked in," Meury said of Lucas. "He's seeing the pitches very well ... you can't ask for any more than he's given this team right now."
Fairfield improved to 4-0 when facing elimination this summer. American will play another elimination game Monday against the loser of Sunday's New Castle, Ind.-San Antonio contest at 8 p.m. at Lamade.
"It'll be our biggest test," Meury said.
Kearney starter Matt Masker struck out six in three-plus innings, allowing just one hit but three runs and walking four as Kearney was eliminated from World Series contention.
Nebraska played a consolation game Monday at noon against Germany.
"They're hugely disappointed," Kearney manager Brad Wegner said of his players. "This isn't what they thought would happen. They don't feel like they've played well."
Fairfield led 3-0 after three but broke it open in the fourth, batting around. The rally started with American's bottom of the lineup, as No. 7 hitter Dan Kiernan -- in his first plate appearance -- walked and Chris Meyers, also in his first at-bat, scalded a double off the wall in left, scoring Kiernan.
"I thought 1-11, all had good at-bats," Meury said.
Fairfield's No. 9 hitter Steed followed with a double, scoring Meyers, making it 5-0.
After Ryan Meury walked, and each runner advanced on a wild pitch, Paoletta smacked a single through the middle, making it 7-0.
Lucas followed with a home run over the wall in left-center, capping the frame and lifting American's lead to 9-0.
"The wheels can come off quick here," Wegner said. "That's the difference between anything you see in regionals and beyond."
Paoletta and Lucas struck for fifth-inning, RBI singles, with Lucas' scoring two, making it 12-0.
"I'm just trying to put the ball in play and help our team win," Lucas said.
Kubel efficiently breezed through Kearney's lineup, throwing just 49 pitches in 4 2/3 innings, striking out six, allowing just two hits and walking none.
"I was a little nervous," Kubel said. "But I just tried to channel it all and throw my game."
Kubel will be available to pitch again Tuesday should Fairfield win Monday. The 5-foot-11, 150-pound lefty won his sixth straight decision, retiring five of the 14 batters he retired on the first pitch of an at-bat.
"Our hitters went up there to be aggressive and hit that first pitch," Wegner said. "But (Kubel's) got good pace on the ball and a big-swinging, right-to-left curveball is something our kids haven't seen a whole lot of."
Masker was arguably better through two innings, changing speeds and striking out four through two. Masker got into trouble in the third inning, loading the bases, but struck out Paoletta, walked Lucas for Fairfield's first run, then struck out Kubel looking for the second out.
"He made me look really bad," Kubel said. "He's a great pitcher ... he mixed speeds and it was pretty tough."
But Kevin Oricoli blooped a 2-0 pitch into left, scoring Steed and Meury, boosting American's lead to 3-0.
"I was just trying to get on base," Oricoli said. "It felt good because I helped my team score runs."
FAIRFIELD AMERICAN 003 63 --12 8 1
KEARNEY, Neb. 000 00 -- 0 2 0
Records: FA -- 1-1; Neb -- 0-2; Batteries: FA -- Matt Kubel (W, 1-0), Will Lucas (5) and Biagio Paoletta; Neb. -- Matt Masker (L, 0-1), Thad Huber (4), Jared Wegner (4), Jake Skala (5) and Cole Staab; Time: 2:15; Attendance: 16,390.