FAIRFIELD, Conn. – The prolific offense that has powered Fairfield American all summer will carry the team to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa. Fairfield pounded out 14 hits to crush Bedford, N.H., 14-0, in the New England Regional Championship in Bristol on Saturday.
An already unforgettable summer will extend at least two more weeks, as Will Lucas and Biagio Paoletta each drove in four runs, while Kevin Oricoli batted in three and Ryan Meury knocked in two to lift American to the program’s second World Series trip in three years.
“This team consistently goes out there and plays very well in big games and they’ve done it since they were 10,” Fairfield American manager Bill Meury said. “You go to Williamsport and it’s a different game playing teams like California. It sounds cliché, but we’ll just take it one game at a time.”
Paoletta capped a white-hot regional tournament by crushing a grand slam high over the right field wall in the top of the sixth. Paoletta drove in an astounding 18 runs in six regional games for Fairfield.
Matt Kubel stayed calm on the mound in front of the national ESPN audience, hurling five-and-two-thirds solid innings for Fairfield before reaching his pitch limit. Lucas came on to record the final out of the game.
Kubel struck out four, including the last batter he faced, and induced 10 groundouts in earning a record fourth win of the tournament.
“I think it’s just adrenaline that gets me going. I just take each game like it’s a regular game,” Kubel said. “The offense definitely helps me out. It’s nice to have because it lets me know I don’t have to be perfect.”
The difference in the game may have been Fairfield’s defense, backing up Kubel with solid glove work. The momentum swung Fairfield’s way early when third baseman Oricoli made a heads-up throw home to Paoletta, who blocked the plate to keep New Hampshire off the board in the bottom of the first.
Fairfield American will represent New England in the first game of pool play of the Little League World Series on Thursday at 3 p.m. in Williamsport, Pa. The contest against the West region champion will be broadcast live on ESPN.
Follow Eric Gendron on Twitter for The Daily Voice's latest coverage of Fairfield County sports.
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