Fairfield American opens with a bang
TRUMBULL - It was the same old, same old, for Fairfield American - the defending District 2, Connecticut state champs and New England Region champions - in its opening game. Fairfield banged out 12 hits, including two home runs, en route to a four-inning mercy rule decision.
“It was a huge team effort, both offensively and defensively,” Fairfield American coach Jeff Gouley said. “We didn’t have much defense but when it was hit at them, they made the plays.”
It only took two batters for Fairfield American to grab the lead as Jon Morris opened the game with a single and Pierce Cowels followed with a two-run homer to left to make it 2-0.
In the second American took advantage of a single from Will Meyers, a walk to Eli Balkan, hit by pitches against both Morris and Cowles and a two-run double from Tim Domizio to put five more runs on the scoreboard and make it a 7-0 lead.
Fairfield added five more runs in the third to push the advantage to 12-0 as Balkan banged out a two-run single and Morris added a three-run home run to center.
RBI singles from Meyers and Jude Gussen in the fourth ended the scoring for Fairfield American.
“The kids are great kids, they play in the fall, winter, spring, it’s great,” said Gouley.
Meyers pitched three innings, not allowing a hit and striking out four, throwing just 32 pitches.
“He’s a great kid,” Gouley said of Hess. “He hit his spots and the catcher called a great game, so I can’t really complain.”
Charlie Yates pitched the fourth. He struck out a batter, hit a batter but ended the game with a 5-4-3 double play.
“It was a tough day for us,” Monroe coach Mark Hope said. “We really didn’t hit the ball, we didn’t catch the ball that well, either, but they kept chipping away. They kept their heads in the game. It’s just one game. Baseball is a roller coaster, you have to just keep chipping away, one out at a time, one inning at a time.”
Fairfield American is looking to fill the shoes of last year’s all-star team that won its ticket to Williamsport, Pa., and the Little League World Series, finished third in the United States standings.
“We have a good staff, I have Scott Galkin and Mike Donahue with me,” said Gouley. “There’s a group of coaches that come back every year and help, including Mike Randazzo and John Lucas from the past, so it’s really a community, that makes it the essence of Fairfield American.
The come back and they want to help and keep it rolling, which is great.”
Trumbull National 2, Fairfield National 1
It was a good, old fashioned pitcher’s duel.
Over the opening four innings, Trumbull’s Sean Francoeur and Fairfield’s Paddy Galvin matched zeroes, with Francoeur allowing just three hits and Galvin being even better, allowing only one.
But in the fifth Trumbull National bunched together three hits, a walk, an error and a fielder’s choice to plater two runs and hold off Fairfield National’s comeback try.
“It definitely was a pitcher’s duel, both Sean and Paddy pitched great but give them credit, they (Trumbull National) made every play in the field, they were great,” Fairfield National coach Jack Kelly said. “It was a good game, a big pitch here, a big hit there. We have to build from this.”
In the top of the fifth, a RBI fielder’s choice scored pinch runner Jeff Daly to give Trumbull a 1-0 lead and then, Jackson DePino’s RBI single plated Hayden Brill to make it 2-0.
“They played awesome,” Trumbull National coach Matt Wood said. “They knew just what to do. I’m extremely proud of them, they put forth the defensive effort and Sean Francoeur was unbelievable on the mound today. He was awesome.”
Fairfield finally got to Francoeur in the fifth as Kiernan shea singled and advanced to second on a walk to pinch-hitter Tyler Harmoney. Brendan Gagner had an RBI single to make it 2-1 but Fairfield couldn’t get the tying run across the plate as Harmoney was tagged out trying to score on a wild pitch.
“Tyler did what he was supposed to do, go on contact but sometimes you have to tip your cap to the other team,” Kelly said. “They pitched great and played great today.”
Something that’s been a recent focus for Trumbull National.
“The focus of the team for the past couple of years has been its ability to hit the ball but the focus over the past few weeks has been situational baseball, what to do when the ball is hit to them,” Wood said. “We yell at them from the dugout what to do but they already know what to do. They put the ball in play and our guys made the plays. Our kids were ready today. They were up to the challenge.”