A trio of home runs provided a boost for the Fairfield American Little League baseball team on the opening night of the District 2 playoffs at Trumbull's Unity Park, as Vince Camera, PJ Egan and Brian Howell all went yard in a 8-3 over Westport on Monday.
Fairfield American moves on to face Monroe, which defeated Fairfield National 4-3, on Wednesday. Westport will take on Fairfield National on Tuesday.
"We have good pop in our lineup, top to bottom we have kids that can swing the bat," Fairfield coach Mike Steed said. "The thing is with the big kids pitching, if you put a good swing on a ball it can travel really far."
Camera's home run gave Fairfield an immediate 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Westport committed a pair of errors that made matters worse.
"We came out swinging tonight," Westport coach Andy Thompson said. "We were hitting it hard so our confidence was high. We came out and gave them five, six outs that inning and it's tough to put (starting pitcher) Adam Petro in that situation."
Westport got back into the game in the top of the third. After a pair of walks put runners on base, Fraser Lyons hit a 2-run double that narrowly missed leaving the park but closed the gap to 3-2.
Fairfield put up five runs in the bottom of the third inning to help extinguish hopes of a Westport comeback. Howell took the first pitch of the inning over the right field fence for a solo home run, and two batters later Egan hit a two-run shot. Later in the inning, a pair of wild pitches plated two more runs.
"You don't want to give up home runs, but on a field this size and kids this age you're going to see home runs," Thompson said. "(Fairfield has) good hitters. I expected them to hit a home run or two; it was unfortunate we gave up three."
Egan pitched a complete game for Fairfield, allowed five hits and three walks and had six strikeouts. Egan's performance allowed the rest of the Fairfield staff a clean slate heading into games on Wednesday and Friday.
"This is the most important game of the summer we wanted to put our best out there," Steed said. "A couple of times during the game we were trying to decide (whether or not to pull Egan with pitch count in mind). We had to win the game; that's a good Westport team. ... No lead is safe against them."