Kubel fast and steady (Little League)

Pitching duels were more rare than a cool breeze at the District II Little League Tournament at Blackham Field in Bridgeport last week.

Fairfield American, managed by Bill Meury, who was assisted by John Lucasa and T.J. Paoletta, was involved in a throw-back style game when the locals took on Monroe on a warm Saturday afternoon.


Matt Kubel took the mound for Fairfield, while Monroe gave the pitching assignment to Luke Sheffer.

Kubel matched his right-handed pitches with Sheffer’s left-handed tosses for four innings of one-run ball each.

Kubel gave up a first-inning run without allowing a hit, and set down seven batters in a row in an austere manner as the game moved into the fourth.

Shaffer, meanwhile, had nine strikeouts to his credit during this stretch, but had to use more pitches than his counterpart.

Fairfield struck the winning blow in the top of the fifth inning.

Kevin Oricoli doubled to center with one out, only the second hit off Shaffer, and Ryan Meury beat out an infield single by the second base bag.

Shaffer notched his 10th strikeout, but used his 90th pitch to do it and had to leave the game because of pitch-count restrictions (85-pitch maximum; get to finish off last batter).

Nick Dellapiano came over from third base in relief and intentionally walked Will Lucas, whose game-tying home run to lead off the fourth was the first hit off Shaffer.

With the bases now loaded, Dellapiano got ahead in the count 1-2 on Kubel, before he ripped the ball off shortstop Ryan Shaw to score two runs.

Mike Ghiorzi then lined an RBI single to center and Chris Meyers’ base hit reloaded the bases. Dellapiano put out the fire with a strikeout.

Monroe had taken a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning.

Dellapiano walked with one out and went to second on a strikeout/wild pitch.

Peter Cosmedy plated the run with an infield chopper.

A pair of eye-opening plays in the outfield by Fairfield denied Monroe a chance to build on its lead in the second.

Ryan Lee hit a hard shot to first to open the frame. That out taken to the bag by Patrick Steed seemed relatively tame after Ryan Shaw and Tyler Michalka’s ensuing at-bats.

Ryan Shaw lined a pitch that had double written all over it, but Fairfield left fielder Matty Clarkin made a diving grab parallel to the ground for out number two.

Before the fans could stop applauding, Michalka sent a drive sinking into right, only to see the ball snared before hitting the ground by an equally-prone Henry Prestagard.

Shaffer set Fairfield down in order in the first, and after he issued a pair of walks in the second, used his breaking ball to strike out the side.

He made it six strikeouts in a row with a perfect third, but his pitch count was growing.

Lucas fouled off a 3-2 pitch before tying the game with a home run over the fence in right field.

An infield error may have opened the door for more trouble, but Shaffer struck out the next three batters to leave the go-ahead run at third base.

Shaffer drew the second walk issued by Kubel to open the home fourth, and Michalka came on to pinch run.

Peter Cosmedy advanced the runner with a ball hit up the first-base line, and after a strikeout, J.P. Klages reached on an infield error.

With runners on the corners, Kubel notched his fifth strikeout to maintain the deadlock.

Monroe’s Jack Duignan hit a clean single to center with one out in the fifth, but after a wild pitch moved him to second, Kubel made his 77th pitch a strikeout.

Lucas came on in relief and stranded Duignan with another strikeout.

Dellapiano retired the side in order in the top of the sixth, and Matty Hersch walked with one out in the home half, but another strikeout by Lucas gave Fairfield the win.

Fairfield American opened play with a 19-1 win over Easton on June 27.

It will play Redding on Tuesday and complete the round-robin portion of the tourney when its meets Trumbull American Saturday at 11 a.m.

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