Fairfield American 11-year-olds win state title
Fairfield American's 12-year-olds are not the only local Little League baseball team that won a state championship this summer.
The Fairfield American 11-year-olds defeated Avon 7-5 Tuesday night to claim the Connecticut State Little League 11-year-old title in Haddam.
Matt Kubel earned the win in the state championship clincher, throwing 4 2/3 innings. Will Lucas closed the game, recording the final four outs to earn a save.
American won Game 1 of the best-of-three series, 13-2, behind the pitching of Ryan Meury, who also had a three-hit game.
Fairfield finished its 11-year old season undefeated at 13-0. Fairfield American head coach Bill Meury's squad was also the state champion in 2010, as 10-year olds. Fairfield American's 11-year-olds have now won the state title three consecutive years.
"Baseball is at its peak in Fairfield," Meury said. "We've got a large pool of boys who happen to be talented and interested in the game."
The team did not triumph without adversity. American twice trailed rival Fairfield National by six runs in the District 2 Final, before rallying for an 18-17 win to claim the district crown.
Meury realizes how his team's summer could have ended there had it not been for the team's resilience in that game and a little luck.
"Had that game gone another inning, National might have beaten us," he said. "We just happened to finish with more runs than they did."
However, he also knows how valuable overcoming those deficits were to his team as it progressed beyond districts.
"We learned that we've got to play every out," Meury said.
Meury also is aware of what consecutive state championships means as his team continues to grow.
"There is no substitute for experience," Meury said. "This team has an awful lot of experience in championship games over the last two years."
Meury understands how poised and special his team is.
"They're cool under pressure, which you have to be," he said. "They're a modest but confident group."