Fairfield American wins District title

Fairfield American Little League catcher Biagio Paoletta explained after the game what Fairfield National batters had found out during the District II Little League 11-12 championship contest at Artman’s Field in Bridgeport on Saturday — Will Lucas was on target.

“His fastball was good, and his curveball was amazing,” Paoletta said of Lucas’ four-hit pitching performance in the American’s 12-2 four-inning win over the National squad that will send them to the Sectionals.

“No one could read it. They [the Nationals] are a very good team and I give them credit. Coaches told us if we do what we do [game to game] that we’d have a chance.”

Fairfield American manager Bill Meury said:

“Will throws a lot of strikes. I like to think of us as more of a pitching team than a hitting team. We work on it in practice.”

Fairfield American, which made it through the two-week District tournament undefeated, sent 13 batters to the plate in the bottom of the first inning to put a 10-spot on the scoreboard.

“Offensively, we want to put the ball in play and challenge the defense. We want to hit it hard somewhere,” said Meury, who was assisted by John Lucas and T.J. Paoletta.

Will Lucas followed Biagio Paoletta’s three-run triple with a two-run home run to cap the initial uprising.

Ryan Meury and Kevin Oricoli (RBI) added hits in the frame.

Fairfield National, which had won its way out of the loser’s bracket with a come-from-behind 17-13 victory over Trumbull National on Friday night, climbing out of an 11-0 hole, saw Robbie Farruggio single in the first and Bryan Azarian single in the second only to be stranded.

Azarian came on in relief late in the first inning and left Oricoli and Patrick Steele, who had each singled in the second, cooling their heels on the bases.

Alex Steele led off the National third with an infield single, and two outs later Farruggio lifted a towering two-run home run to left-center to make it 10-2.

The American squad got those runs back in the bottom of the frame.

Ryan Meury and Will Lucas singled around Biagio Paoletta being hit by a pitch to load the bases for Matt Kubel, who walked to drive in a run.

The National’s turned a 9-4-6-2 double play on Michael Ghiorzi’s liner to right field, but Ryan Meury scored to take the count to 12-2.

Griffin Donahue singled with two out in the fifth before Will Lucas fanned his third batter of the inning, and sixth of the game, to secure the win.

“This is the first time in four years that I was the starting pitcher,” the right-handed Lucas said. “When Mr. Meury told me I was very excited.

“I have no idea how Ryan [Meury] did that to defeat them 4-0 [in the winner’s bracket final]. That is a very good team.”

Bill Meury agreed.

“We didn’t expect this [score],” he said. “We knew they could hit, and are a better hitting team, but a couple of things went our way [on hits just missing gloves].

“We put an emphasis on throwing strikes and making fundamentals plays. Will Lucas pitched a heckuva game mixing up his pitches.”

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