Fairfield American wins New England opener
The Fairfield American Little League team admitted to having nerves in its New England Regional Tournament.
It certainly didn't show though.
The Connecticut state champions scored 10 runs in the first inning, keyed by 12 straight base runners and Fairfield blasted Barre, Vt. 17-0 in a mercy-rule shortened game on Friday night at Breen Field.
"I actually was pretty nervous," Oricoli said. "This is the first regional game ever for us...Once I got on the field, the butterflies in my stomach went away."
Fairfield batted around in two of the three innings in which it batted, socking 13 hits with three players-- Oricoli, Layne and Grant Carnemark--recording multi-hit games.
"These guys have been lights out," Fairfield American head coach Kevin Flynn said of the troika.
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Flynn amended his lineup, moving Layne to the top spot from the No. 8 hole and starting him in left field, Oricoli moved from No. 6 to second spot and Philip Vlandis into the starting lineup at third base.
"We made some adjustments in our lineup," Flynn said. "It seemed to work tonight."
American will play again on Saturday at 8 p.m. against Yarmouth, Maine. Flynn would not confirm a starting pitcher for the team at press time.
"We don't know yet," he said.
Fairfield pitcher Eddie Schwartz earned the win, tossing two scoreless innings, striking out three, while allowing a hit and a walk. The burly right-hander threw just 32 pitches, and is eligible to come back again on Sunday for Fairfield's third round robin game against Goffstown, N.H.
"I didn't want to leave (Schwartz) in there any longer than we needed to," Flynn said.
American took the game by the throat right from the get-go. After Layne led off the inning with a strikeout, Oricoli singled, Schwartz reached on an error by shortstop J.T. Blanchard and Grant Carnemark singled home Oricoli.
Brendan Flynn followed with a two-RBI double, Conner Lynch walked, Brendan Bucher singled to load the bases and Philip Vlandis reached on two errors, which emptied the bases and gave Fairfield and took a 6-0 lead.
"That was the goal," Flynn said of getting out to a fast start.
Aidan Kudzy then walked, and Layne blasted the first pitch off reliever Chandler Phillips to put Fairfield up 9-0.
"It felt really good," Layne said. "I felt really comfortable and I was surprised it went out."
Oricoli hit the next pitch over the left-centerfield fence to put Fairfield up 10-0.
Fairfield sent 13 to the plate in the third, scoring seven times, keyed by a solo home run by Oricoli and a three-run shot by Kudzy.
"We hit a few big ones," Flynn said. "They add up quickly."