Pickens' Perspective: Fairfield American's historic summer may just be beginning
Published 3:43 pm, Tuesday, August 14, 2012
I had the sense the Fairfield American Little League team would be World Series-bound about three weeks ago, after game one of its two-game annihilation of Avon.
Fairfield had survived its one-game sectional title, rolled through game one against Avon's ace, and it just hit me that this squad would advance to Williamsport, Pa.
American has the rare combination of pitching, offense and defense. Fairfield's had two different starters win clinching games, and neither was its No. 1, Ryan Meury.
Fairfield surrendered just eight runs in six regional games, only four of which were earned runs.
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And yet, I have a sense American's not done with its historic summer.
Fairfield won't simply be happy to play its first World Series game, Thursday at 3 p.m. against Petaluma, Calif. It won't play two games, then a consolation game and go home. I think Fairfield's got three or more games in Williamsport ahead of it.
In fact, I think Fairfield can win the World Series.
Fairfield manager Bill Meury likes to keep his team even-headed. Fairfield's players don't think ahead, they play each game, one pitch at a time. You need that single-focus when you reach a stage like this.
It's a cliche, but cliches are real for a reason.
Plus, take a glance at the U.S. bracket and tell me who the favorite is. The regional champs are from odd places.
The West champ is from Northern California, not nearly the baseball hotbeds Hawaii or Southern California are. The Southeast champ is from Tennessee -- no team from Tennessee's reached Williamsport since 1987. The Midwest champion is from Nebraska, the first team from that state to ever advance this far. Northwest is Oregon, which is not quite as formidable as a Washington team would be.
Southwest champion is from San Antonio, but Fairfield won't be forced to deal with McAllister Park National -- if it has to at all -- until the U.S. semifinals.
And who has scored more runs through the regional tournament than all of them? That's right, Fairfield American.
Fairfield's just three consecutive wins from the U.S. Championship game. Once you reach that point, you're playing with house money. Anything can happen.
You think I'm crazy? That may be. But I'm not alone.
"This team has the potential to do very well out there," American's 2010 manager Chris Daley said.
Don't get me wrong, a lot has to happen for Fairfield to reach the World championship game 12 days from now. It needs to hit, field, pitch, be confident and catch some breaks.
But if Fairfield continues to play as it has, there may be a 1989 Trumbull National moment coming soon.
And if it happens, remember who told you first.