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Fairfield wins Junior Legion state title

Zach Weinstein slides into home to give Fairfield Legion a 1-0 lead over RCP Post 105, which hadn't allowed a run in three games en route to the state final. Fairfield won 5-0 to claim the championship and a berth in the Eastern Regional. (Photo by Bill Bloxsom)

Zach Weinstein slides into home to give Fairfield Legion a 1-0 lead over RCP Post 105, which hadn’t allowed a run in three games en route to the state final. Fairfield won 6-0 to claim the championship and a berth in the Northeast Regional. (Photo by Bill Bloxsom)

The Fairfield American Legion Post 143 baseball team won the Junior Legion state championship with a 6-0 victory over RCP Post 105 at Cubeta Stadium in Stamford on Saturday night.
Manager Bob Cote’s team won six straight games to earn the title, and will open Northeast Regional play versus Cherry Hill, N.J. in South Windsor’s Rotary Field at 3:30 p.m. on Aug. 9.
“Playing so many tough games in Zone Four against Trumbull, Norwalk, Greenwich and Stamford prepared us for states,” said Cote, who is assisted by Kevin Keys and Todd Haas. “This team right now is strong from top to bottom.”
Fairfield’s Dillon Stimpson pitched into the fifth inning, and after he had eaten up all his innings-pitched allowed with two outs in the frame, Dan Schmedlin came in to complete the combined four-hit shut out.
“This team has great chemistry and we built on every win we had in states,” said Stimpson, who was named best pitcher in the tournament.
RCP (Rocky Hill, Cromwell, Portand) hadn’t allowed a run, and had outscored three state foes by a score of 17-0 entering the final.
It loaded the bases in the bottom of the second inning on catcher’s interference and two singles, but Post 143 third baseman John Carroll made the first of his three timely assists to end the threat.
“I just tried to clear my head (with the bases loaded) and make a regular play, and Carter (Haas) at first made a great stretch,” Carroll said.
Fairfield broke through in the sixth. After one-out singles by Zach Weinstein and Chris Montani, Joe Ganim lofted a sacrifice fly to left field and Weinstein slid under the tag at the plate.
“I think our run really started when we were ahead of Branford 3-2, but they had the tying run on second base and we left him there,” said Weinstein, who played second base through a dislocated pinky finger and was named Tourney MVP.
“That was the turning point and we kept hitting, pitching and making plays on defense.”
Tom Ryan immediately made it 2-0 in the sixth with an RBI single to center.
Fairfield scored five times in the seventh.
Chris Howell worked out Post 143’s first walk of the game, and Carroll and Drew Martin singled to load the bases.
With the infield playing in, Carter Haas hit the ball past the second baseman to score a run.
Two outs later, Ganim walked to force in another tally, before Ryan singled deep to the gap in right-center to plate two more runs.
RCP put two batters aboard on one-out walks in the bottom of the seventh, but Howell in left field got a great jump and made a sliding catch for out number two.
Schmedlin fielded a comebacker and went to Haas at first for the third out.

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