Fairfield American edges Westport for 6th straight title
TRUMBULL — Fairfield American, in what many consider the most talent-rich District 2 field in years, defeated Westport 4-2 to earn the title at Unity Park on Saturday.
“That is a great team over there,” Fairfield American manager Dan Seek said. “We beat them twice to get here, 3-2 in nine innings and then 5-4.
“This was a great day. We had the Red Sea (fans) here. The kids believe in each other and we believe in them.”
This was the sixth consecutive D2 title for the Fairfield American All Stars. They will begin play in the sectional championships beginning Friday at Unity Park.
Carson Dodder delivered the decisive hit, a two-out, two-run double to break a 2-all deadlock in the bottom of the fourth inning.
“There were two out and I wanted to put the ball in play,” Dodder, the starting shortstop, said of pulling a two-bagger to left field. “Coaches teach us to get the barrel on the ball.”
That hit interrupted a fine pitching dual between Fairfield American’s Kieran Scruggs and Westport’s Rhys Jamali. Each right-hander allowed four hits. Scruggs didn’t walk a batter and struck out two. Jamali walked three and struck out seven.
“This district was balanced across the board,” Westport manager David Goldshore said. “It’s been an incredible experience to coach these kids the last two years (D2 champs as 11s). This is a special group of players.”
Cooper Seek, Jake Palladino and Will Redgate worked out walks on 14 pitches with one out in the bottom of the first. Will Kane singled to plate a run and the second scored on a passed ball. Jamali made a fine play on a chopper to the left side for the second out, then ended the rally with his second strikeout.
Charley Leahy drilled the first pitch he saw over the fence in left-center field to open the Westport second. Redgate made the first of three stellar plays from his center field position before Scruggs’ fielder comebackers to end the frame.
Jamali slugged a home run to center field with one out in the second to tie things. There would have been a runner on base, if not for a fine, if odd, 3-4-3 putout by Palladino at first and Jack Vegas at second to retire Jake Goldshore to open the inning.
Jake Hedmen ripped a leadoff single over the first-base bag to begin the home fourth. Scruggs reentered the game as a pinch runner. He went to second on a fine play by Westport’s Ben Cukier and third on a bobbled grounder.
Dodder’s double scored Scruggs and Luke McIntosh.
Westport’s Cooper Brundige had singled with one out in the top of the fourth, but Scruggs retired five consecutive batters before Andrew Openheimer reached on an error to open the sixth.
Redgate robbed Jared Lessing on a single with a diving catch of his liner for the first out. Cooper Seek held on to a foul tip for a strikeout, and Kane bare-handed Leahy’s roller up the first-base line and fired to Palladino at first to begin the celebration.
Jamali had two hits, including a home run for Westport. Leahy homered and Brundige singled.
Kane had two hits, Cooper Seek and Hedman one each, and Dodder had the title-winning double.
FAIRFIELD AMERICAN 4,
WESTPORT 012 000 —2 4 1
FAIRFIELD AMERICAN 200 20x — 4 4 1
Batteries: Westport Rys Jamali (LP), Andrew Oppenheimer (5) and Jake Goldshore; Fairfield American Kieran Scruggs (WP) and Cooper Seek
Records: Westport 6-3; Fairfield American 7-1