Fairfield hammers Maine

Biagio Paoletta led a 12-hit attack with a grand slam home run and a five-RBI performance overall, when Fairfield American ended a record six-game Little League Eastern Regional one-day schedule with a mercifully short 15-2 victory over Scarborough, Maine in Bristol on Monday night.

The Connecticut champion improved to 3-0 with their four-inning win. Fairfield will play Wellesley South, Massachusetts in the final game of the round-robin portion of the regional at 8 p.m. Wednesday on NESN.

“The kid [Maine starter Morgan Pratt] mixed his pitches well, but when a mistake is made these guys hit it pretty hard,” Fairfield American Bill Meury said of his club.

Paoletta cleared the bases with his home run on the first pitch from Maine’s Ogden Timpson in the top of the sixth inning.

“We’re not supposed to swing at a first-pitch curveball,” Paoletta said of his blast that extended Fairfield’s lead to 13-2. “But I was looking curve all the way.”

Michael Ghiorzi, who went 3-for-3 with an RBI and two runs scored, said, “We waited for pitches up in the zone and then drove it.”

Matt Kubel got the win with a two-pitch relief effort by Will Lucas in the bottom of the fourth.

“We were going with Matty all the way with the big lead, and by keeping him under 50 [Kubel threw 46] we have everyone available for Thursday [the semifinals].”

Fairfield scored six runs on six hits in its first at-bat, with Kubel (single), Henry Presstegaard (bases-loaded walk) and Patrick Steed (two-run single) earning RBIs.

Maine loaded the bases on a walk to Pratt and singles by Connor Kelly and Jared Brooks in the bottom of the frame.

Zoltan Panyi followed with an RBI single to center field, but Ryan Meury got the ball in quickly to Lucas at shortstop, who cut down Kelly at the plate with Paoletta simultaneously making the block and tag.

The second run scored on a roller by Alex Dobecki to Ghiorzi at second before Kevin Oricoli caught Timpson’s hot liner to end the inning.

Lucas reached on an outfield error to open the second, and Oricoli and Ghiorzi followed with a pair of one-out doubles to get the two runs back.

Presstegaard walked, Steed reached on an error, and Ryan Meury was hit by a pitch before Paoletta’s home run.

Steed scored his second run and Ryan Meury crossed the plate for the third time in Fairfield’s two-run fourth.

Kubel put the first two outs in the book in the home fourth, making it 10 straight retired, before Andrew Goodwin bunted his way aboard for Maine’s fourth hit.

Lucas came in and on his second pitch, Paoletta cut down the runner trying to advance to second with Chris Meyers making the game-ending tag.

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