Trumbull American eliminates Fairfield National in District 2 LL tournament
Updated 5:46 pm, Saturday, July 15, 2017
TRUMBULL — Trumbull American might have been down, but thanks to Scott Gell, they were never out.
Gell’s grand slam in the top of the sixth inning snapped a 5-5 tie and powered Trumbull American past Fairfield National 10-5 in a loser’s bracket elimination game Saturday afternoon at Unity Park.
Trumbull American survives to face undefeated Fairfield American today at 3 p.m. at Unity Park for the District 2 Little League championship. Trumbull will have to beat Fairfield to force an ‘if’ on Monday.
“When you look at the box score, it’s someone else every game,” Trumbull American manager Brian Csizmadia said. “We’re a ‘team’ and that’s what we’re most proud of. They’ve worked hard, they deserve it. We’re not done.”
Trumbull American banged out 13 hits, with Gell’s grand slam the biggest. Colin Csizmadia added a solo home run after Gell’s, part of a three-hit day. Gell also had three hits (and scored three runs), as did Tim Pearson.
“We don’t look to the front of the order or the back of the order,” Csizmadia said. “The contributions have been from throughout the lineup.”
Trumbull starter Kevin Katragadda went four innings, surrendering five runs but only six hits. He struck out four and didn’t walk anyone. Gell went and inning and a third to get the win, allowing just one hit and Ryen Duffy closed it out.
“Baseball’s a funny game … they got some clutch hits, just like last time. We had five hits or six hits, and they had 12, you’re not going to win too many games like that,” Fairfield National manager Jeff Passeck said. “I don’t think they walked anyone. They played a good game, they played better than us today.”
Until Trumbull’s sixth-inning explosion, the game was a back-and-forth affair. Gell’s double in the second and an RBI single from Csizmadia put Trumbull in front 1-0, but Fairfield tied it at 1-1 with a run on Paddy Galvin’s RBI grounder. Katragadda’s sacrifice fly in third made it 2-1 Trumbull but Brendan O’Hara’s pinch-hit homer made it 2-2. Logan Huzi’s RBI single in the fourth gave Trumbull a 3-2 lead but then Christian Rasmussen’s three-run homer gave Fairfield National a 5-3 lead.
“I thought we had nailed it down, I really did,” Passeck said. “It’s was just one of those games where we didn’t.”
Gell scored on a wild pitch in the fifth to pull Trumbull within 5-4 and in the sixth, after Fairfield was within two outs of advancing, the floodgates opened. Katgaradda’s single off reliever John Hietzman tied the game at 5-5 and then, Gell sent a rocket over the fence in right to make it 9-5.
“We were really playing hard and I just got up thinking ‘keep the rally going’ and we just had to keep our heads up and get some runs,” Gell said. “I was looking for a fastball, I had been getting them all game. Coach said to look for a fastball and crush it.”
“Scott’s been working hard, he’s a great player. He’s where he in in the order because of his bat,” Csizmadia said. “I was telling the team, we all produced. When we made outs, we made productive outs. We were hitting the ball on the ground, advancing runners. That was great.”
Fairfield National had edged Trumbull American 3-2 in pool play, thanks to a game-ending walk-off home run from Heitzman, but Trumbull American earned a measure of revenge in tournament play by beating Fairfield National 11-4, sending them into the loser’s bracket and setting up today’s elimination game.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Trumbull’s Scott Gell. He went 3 for 4 on the day with four RBI and three runs scored. His grand slam in the top of the sixth snapped a 5-5 tie. He also pitched 11/3 innings of relief, allowing one hit and no runs, picking up the win.
Tarantino’s Landscaping. Workers were at Unity Park at 5 a.m. to get the field ready for play after two days of rain forced postponements.
“Overall, we’re a little disappointed with the season, obviously. We expected to at least be in the championship, we have been the past two years (as 10- and 11-year olds), so we expected that and maybe, some of the guys took it for granted. They’re good players, they need to work hard and they’ll get better. You read about them in the future.” — Fairfield National manager Jeff Passeck
TRUMBULL AMERICAN 10, FAIRFIELD NATIONAL 5
TRUMBULL AMERICAN 011 116 — 10 13 2
FAIRFIELD NATIONAL 011 300 — 5 7 1
Records: Fairfield National (1-2, 6-3); Trumbull American (2-1, 6-3)
TA — Kevin Katragadda, Scott Gell (5, W), Ryen Duffy (6) and Jack Arcamone
HR — FN — Brendan O’Hara, Christian Rasmussen; TA — Scott Gell, Colin Csizmadia