District 2 Little League: Fairfield American 12, Trumbull National 2 (5) District dominance
TRUMBULL — Sometimes, drastic times call for drastic measures.
Down five runs in the bottom of the third and with Fairfield American threatening to break the game open, Trumbull National manager Matt Wood called for an intentional walk to Pierce Cowles to load the bases with one out to try and get the force at any base to keep Trumbull within striking distance.
But catcher Timmy Domizio hammered Wood’s gamble over the fence in left center for a grand slam as Fairfield American captured the 2018 District 2 Little League title with a 12-2 victory Saturday at Unity Park.
“As 11s, we didn’t make it out of pool play last year, so we had to do a complete 180,” Fairfield American manager Jeff Gouley said. “We got a lot of help from former (Fairfield American) coaches Mike Randazzo and John Lucas. They came to a ton of practices. The kids really worked hard. They did a great job.”
The District 2 crown was the third straight for Fairfield American, who went 7-1 in round robin and elimination play. Next up will be a game in the Section 1 tournament on Tuesday at 5:45 p.m. against the District 1 winner at Darien’s McGuane Field. Overall, it’s Fairfield American’s 15th District 2 title.
For Trumbull National, it’s season ends at 5-4 with three losses coming at the hands of Fairfield American.
“My kids played really hard, they put a lot of work in,” Wood said. “That team over there, they beat us three times. Fairfield American earned it, they deserve it. They’ve carried themselves with class and pride, especially their coaches. So we wish them luck, hopefully they can bring the Little League World Series back to Connecticut.”
If Cowles and Will Meyers continue to pitch like they did in the District 2 tournament, Williamsport, Pa., just might be a possibility. In improving to 3-0 in the tournament, Cowles pitched a complete game, allowing seven hits and stuck out eight. Overall, Cowles pitched 222/3 innings, giving up six runs. He struck out 33 and walked three.
“His fastball … he was throwing it by people,” said Domizio of Cowles. “His curve, he really wasn’t looking to throw it but his fastball was on today.”
Meyers went 4-0 in the tournament, allowing five hits and no runs with 19 strikeouts and one walk in 13 innings.
Grabbing the momentum from the start, Fairfield American scored three times in the first — the big hit a two-out, two-run double from Robbie Donahue — and added four in the second, thanks to a three-run home run from Cowles and a sacrifice fly from pinch-hitter Dustin Walters to make it 7-0.
“Usually, once we get up as a team, we stay up,” Domizio said. “We seem to keep the momentum throughout the game and if we do get down, we always seem to battle back. Today, we stayed up.”
“It’s always good because it helps the pitcher relax, helps the team relax both offensively and defensively,” Gouley said. “Our defense really made some nice plays today.”
Matt Wood’s two-run homer in the third got Trumbull National on the board, but in the bottom of the inning, after a fielder’s choice, a double and the intentional walk to Cowles. Domizio made Trumbull pay.
“That was great. I knew Timmy was going to come up big. … I have no words really, it’s just amazing what he did,” Cowles said.
“I just knew I had to look for a pitch to drive and I got it,” Domizio said. “I really wasn’t thinking home run. I was just thinking about going the other way, looking to drive someone in and it just happened. It went over the fence.”
“That’s why he’s our No. 3 hitter, there’s no doubt he can put the ball in play,” Gouley said. “I had full confidence that he was going to do something. That’s why he’s our No. 3 hitter. I have the ultimate confidence in all my hitters. I didn’t blink. I knew he’d be fine.”
Fairfield American ended things in the fifth when Jon Morris — who went 3 for 3 and scored four runs —came home on a fielder’s choice to make it a 10-run margin and enforce the mercy rule.
“I thought Matt’s home run in the third was going to give us some momentum, but the bottom of the order couldn’t come through,” Wood said. “We have two guys get on with one out, usually those are momentum builders, but we didn’t get it done.”
Trumbull National starter Sean Francouer battled into the third but was forced to throw 36 pitches in the first inning and 56 through two as Fairfield American constantly worked the count.
“Sean is a location pitcher and if the umpire isn’t giving him his location then Sean has to throw a lot of pitches,” Wood said. “The zone was inconsistent today.”
Wood was proud of his son Matt, who fought through a broken bone in his toe that affected his pitching while also battling a nagging cold throughout the tournament.
“Matt’s been injured the entire tournament, but he mustered through it,” Wood said. “He had the highest batting average on the team and he fielded 1.000 for the tournament. He’s our team MVP.”
Cowles was named District 2 MVP. He finished with 13 hits in 21 at bats with seven home runs and 16 RBI. The all-tournament team included: Will Meyers and Jon Morris (Fairfield American); Jack Dean and Ryan Oshinskie (Fairfield National); Matt Wood and Jackson DePino (Trumbull National); Jack Farnen and Grant Ziegler (Westport); Quinn McGuire (Monroe) and Nick Lobuono (Trumbull American).
FAIRFIELD AMERICAN 12,
TRUMBULL NATIONAL 2 (5)
TRUMBULL NATIONAL002 00 — 2 7 0
FAIRFIELD AMERICAN344 01 — 12 11 1
Records: Fairfield American (7-1, 3-0); Trumbull National (5-4, 2-2)
Batteries: FA — Pierce Cowles (W) and Timmy Domizio; TN — Sean Francouer (L), Matt Wood (3), Henry Berrien (5) and AJ Albaladejo