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No-hitter keeps World Series dream alive

No-hitter staves off elimination
Updated 6:35 pm, Tuesday, August 21, 2012

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  • New England pitcher Will Lucas raises his arm into the air after the team beat Great Lakes 4-0, during 2012 Little League World Series game action in South Williamsport, Penn. on Monday August 20, 2012. Photo: Christian Abraham / Connecticut Post
    New England pitcher Will Lucas raises his arm into the air after the team beat Great Lakes 4-0, during 2012 Little League World Series game action in South Williamsport, Penn. on Monday August 20, 2012. Photo: Christian Abraham

 

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Who needs luck when you have Will Lucas?

He may be Fairfield American's No. 3 starter, but Lucas put in the No. 1 performance of the 2012 Little League World Series Monday night, firing a no-hitter against Great Lakes champion New Castle, Ind.

With New England champion Fairfield facing elimination, Lucas struck out 13 and walked one in a 4-0 victory that kept alive his team's hopes of capturing the Little League crown.

"It felt really good," Lucas said. "I was just trying to throw strikes."

Before a of 7,400 at Lamade Stadium and a national TV audience, the 12-year-old pitcher struck out 13 and walked one in a dominating performance.

The win advanced Fairfield to another elimination game Tuesday night against West champion Petaluma, Calif. That game ended too late for this edition.

Indiana starter Janson Anderson surrendered two hits and two earned runs in two innings, taking the loss.

New Castle (1-2) was eliminated from World Series contention.

"We had a hard time hitting (Lucas)," Indiana manager Tim Porter said. "We're pretty disappointed."

It was the 47th no-hitter in Little League history.

Matt Kubel homered, and Lucas knocked in a pair of runs with a fifth-inning single.

Lucas hit drove in Biagio Paoletta and Ryan Meury to give Fairfield a 4-0 lead, putting the Connecticut champions within three outs of advancing.

"It takes a lot of heat off a defense when you're working with a two-run lead as opposed to a four-run lead," Fairfield manager Bill Meury said.

Lucas' no-hitter was the second in Williamsport this week, and the first six-inning no-no since Trey Quinn's on Aug. 17, 2008, for Lake Charles, La.

Lucas had appeared in seven games since his sectional championship clinching win over Annex on July 25, but had not earned a decision until Monday. Lucas threw 76 pitches, 57 for strikes. His fourth-inning walk to Anderson was the only blemish.

"He was about as sharp as he could be," Meury said. "When he did miss his spot, he didn't miss by much."

Meanwhile, Kubel gave Lucas all the help he'd need with one second-inning swing. The powerful lefty scalded a first-pitch fastball over the wall in right-centerfield, putting Fairfield on top 1-0.

"I felt good because I got our team on the board," Kubel said. "He gave me a first-pitch fastball and I just tried to barrel it up."

Kubel had been hitless in his previous five at-bats before the homer.

"I've been struggling lately," Kubel said. "It took a little weight off my shoulders."

Kevin Oricoli followed with a walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch, Anderson struck out Michael Ghiorzi and Matt Clarkin, Henry Prestegaard struck a 1-1 curveball up the middle for a single, scoring Oricoli, lifting Fairfield's advantage to 2-0.

The single was Prestegaard's first hit and RBI in Williamsport.

"It was pretty cool," Prestegaard said. "I just got a piece of it."

After that, it was all Lucas. The righty dominated, changing speeds and striking out seven of the first nine hitters he faced, including Cayden Smekens, who reached on a wild pitch.

"He threw (his curveball) for a strike," Meury said. "He had everything tonight. He was terrific."

Lucas admitted he was aware he was throwing a no-hitter as the game progressed.

"I tried to forget about it and just pitch," Lucas said. "It kept coming back to me and I would start to get nervous."

Cory Murphy's sixth-inning leadoff fly out -- to the warning track that center fielder Ryan Meury hauled in was the only loud out against Lucas.

"I missed my spot and he hit it really far," Lucas said. "Ryan made a great play going back on it. Right when it came off the bat I was like really scared."

Lucas struck out Mason Gillis for the second out, then blew three straight fastballs by Anderson. After the third one, he pumped his fist and his teammates piled on top of the 5-foot-8, 121-pound righty.

"The last batter of the game, I threw three straight fastballs and everyone I tried to get harder and harder," Lucas said. "(His pitching arm) is going to be sore tomorrow."

ppickens@bcnnew.com; twitter.com/Pat_Pickens

NEW CASTLE, Ind. 000 000 -- 000

FAIRFIELD AMER. 020 02x -- 450

Records: Indiana: 1-2; Fairfield: 2-1; Batteries: NC -- Janson Anderson (L, 0-1), Cayden Smekens (3), Niah Williamson (5) and Hunter McCubbins; FA -- Will Lucas (W, 1-0) and Biagio Paoletta; Home runs -- Matt Kubel; Time: 1:33; Attendance: 7,400.

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