Fairfield finishes third in USA at Little League World Series

The Fairfield American summer run came to an end with a 14-4 loss to Lufkin, Texas in the Little League World Series loser’s bracket final in Williamsport on Thursday.

Manager Mike Randazzo’s New England champions placed third in the United States bracket and closed with a 21-2 record, with both losses coming to Texas, the Southwest champions.

Texas will play the Greenville (N.C.), the Southeast champion on Saturday to decide the US entry in the Series’ final on Sunday.

Texas rode an eight-run first inning and the pitching of Mark Requena to earn a rematch with Greenville, which handed them its only loss of the Series (2-1 in seven innings) on Wednesday.

Fairfield starter Matt Vivona was hurt be three errors behind him in that first inning.

Add in five hits, including a three-run homer by Collin Ross, and Texas tallied eight times with five runs earned.

Requena retired 8-of-10 (two walks) to start the game before Michael Iannazzo hit a two-run home run in the third inning.

His second home run of the series scored Sean O’Neil, who was running for Leo Randazzo who had earned a free pass.

Vivona followed with a single, but was stranded.

Any momentum was lost when Texas put up three more runs in the bottom of the third on a single, a walk, a hit batter and three wild pitches.

Fairfield got one run back in the fourth, and they needed it to avoid the 10-run rule.

Griffin Dodder reached on a strikeout-wild pitch and Aidan Rivera went to first when hit by a pitch.

Requena set down the next two batters.

But down to their last strike, Fairfield saw Smith drive a run-scoring double to deep left field to bring the score to 12-3.

Troy Ashkinos, who had come on in relief to get the last out in the third, had a bigger hole to climb out of in in the fifth.

Texas needed only a run to secure the 10-run victory.

Lance Modisette singled and Blake Slaga reached on Fairfield’s fourth error.

Ashkinos got a force out at second and a pop up to Iannazzo by the second base bag.

With two runners in scoring position, Ashkinos caught Malcolm Deason looking at strike three to extend the game.

Iannazzo drove the ball to deep center leading off the fifth, but Ross chased it down and caught it before the ball could leave the yard.

Vivona, the next batter, didn’t give Ross another chance at a web-gem as he belted a homer well over the wall in center to make the score 12-4.

Texas closed the game out an inning early in the bottom of the fifth.

Clayton Wigley hit a two-run single to right with the bases loaded on a walk and two singles to take the final score to 14-4.


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