2012 Connecticut State Little League® Tournament Results
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Connecticut State Tournament
Major Baseball Division



Toward the past
2012

Toward the present

Connecticut State Tournament
Host - Annex (New Haven) (District 4)

Participating Teams
Section 1 Champions Fairfield American (District 2)
Section 2 Champions Avon (District 6)

Click here to view 2012 district tournament results for Connecticut.

Best 2-of-3 Series:

Fairfield American 8, Avon 0
Fairfield American 10, Avon 0 (TITLE)


Summary:

Early in the opening game of the Connecticut state tournament at Annex Little League's Verderame Field in New Haven, Little League Baseball Eastern Region Assistant Director Corey Wright greeted Pat Pickens, a sportswriter covering Fairfield American Little League's run through the international tournament for a local paper. Pickens had reported on Fairfield's region tournament games in Bristol, Connecticut, in 2010 and 2011, and Wright inquired as to whether he would be in Bristol to cover the upcoming New England Region tournament.

Yes, the writer replied, provided that Fairfield claimed the state title. As with many publications, the paper's coverage of the international tournament typically ends as the local team is eliminated.

A bit later, Wright prepared to depart, and bid farewell to Pickens. And with barely half a game gone in the best-of-three series, he offered a simple message: "We'll see you later this week."

Fairfield led Avon by an 8-0 score at the time, and their return to the region tournament was clearly only a matter of time.

Fairfield American held that margin to claim the rain-shortened game, then completed an efficient two-game sweep of Avon with a mercy rule-shortened, 10-0 victory the following day. The victories advanced the District 2 champions one step closer to what would be their eventual destination: the Little League World Series.

Fairfield American became the first Connecticut league to win three consecutive state titles in the major baseball division, and just the seventh team among states with ten or more districts to win three straight state championships in the 65-year history of the international tournament(*). Fairfield's overall tournament record during that span was 42-2 versus Connecticut leagues, and the Americans complemented their titles with four additional state championships in the 9-10 and 10-11 year old divisions during that same window.

"We didn't want to have to go to a game three," said Fairfield manager Bill Meury after his team completed the sweep. "We played really, really well."

Fairfield American put Avon on its heels from the start of the tournament, tallying eight runs before Avon came to the plate for the first time. Nine of Fairfield's first ten batters reached safely in the rally, which began when Ryan Meury opened the game with a walk. Biagio Paoletta followed with a single, and Will Lucas drove in both runners with a base hit of his own. Matt Kubel reached on an error, with Lucas advancing to third, and Fairfield added a third run when Lucas scored on Kevin Oricoli's grounder. Michael Ghiorzi singled, then Patrick Steed drove in a run with a double. After Henry Prestegard reached on a dropped third strike, Matty Clarkin drove in two runs with a double into the right center field gap. The lineup turned over, and Ryan Meury reached on an error that plated the inning's final two runs.

"We put the ball in play and hit a couple of balls really, really hard," said Bill Meury of the rally. "It's a good way to start a game."

It was also more than enough for Ryan Meury, who allowed just one hit in a complete game effort. The only question for Fairfield was whether threatening skies would impact play. In the first, Fairfield's concern was that the big inning would be wiped off the books, and as the game progressed, the concern shifted to whether the contest would be suspended.

"We were worried that the game was going to be (suspended) and that we were going to waste a pitcher," explained Bill Meury. "We were a little concerned that the game was going to get shot down quickly."

Had the game been postponed before four complete innings were played, it would have been suspended, and Ryan Meury would have been ineligible to return under Little League Baseball's pitcher rest requirements.

Instead, he needed only an efficient 56 pitches to throw four innings in wet conditions, before the game was eventually delayed and called in the top of the fifth.

The next day, Fairfield pitcher Matt Kubel was rough-but-right, throwing a four inning complete game of his own as the Americans blanked Avon, 10-0, to clinch the series.

"(He) came in after the first inning and said 'I don't feel good'," explained Bill Meury. "His timing was off and he couldn't throw his curveball for strikes. (But) he battled through it and threw a good game."

Although Fairfield scored four runs in the second and five more in the fourth of the mercy rule-shortened win, Bill Meury felt the single run his team scored in the first was the difference in the game. The run came when Ryan Meury was hit by the game's first pitch and advanced around the bases on three wild pitches.

"I think there is an element of 'this is a different game if we don't score in the first inning'," explained the Fairfield manager. "Psychologically, it told (us) that we were going to score some runs today."

Fairfield added to its lead in the second. Chris Myers led off with a single, and Prestegard walked before both runners advanced on a wild pitch. With two outs, Ryan Meury grounded to second, but the throw to first was wild and two runs scored. Paoletta then drove a 1-2 pitch well beyond the right field wall to extend Fairfield's advantage to 5-0. The Americans then added five more in the fourth, including three that scored when Oricoli's home run capped the rally.

"I think the key play of the game was the error," said Avon manager Steve Harris. "It allowed them to extend that inning."

Fairfield turned two double plays in the game, and did not commit an error in either game against Avon. The Americans capitalized on Avon miscues, as just nine of Fairfield's 18 runs in the series were earned.

The sweep gave Fairfield a bookend to the state championship victory it won over Avon in the 10-11 year old division in 2011.

"Having played this same group last year, we knew what to expect. Obviously, they're a very, very good team," said Harris of his team's state tournament opponent.

"We tip our hats to Fairfield and wish them the best of luck," added the Avon skipper.

Avon had entered the series with a 13-0 record in District 6 and Section 2 competition, and had scored ten or more runs in eight of their games. The last of the 13 victories was the most dramatic, as Avon toppled Guilford Little League, 7-5, in the Section 2 championship game. Avon won the game when, after an intentional walk, Steve Leopold hit a walkoff three-run home run with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning to reverse a 5-4 Guilford advantage.

Fairfield, meanwhile, rallied for four runs in the top of the sixth in its sectional championship game to snap a 2-2 tie and eliminate Annex, 6-2.

Annex had tied the game in the fourth when second baseman Tristan Punzo -- whose grand slam helped to hand Fairfield its only loss against Connecticut competition earlier in the tournament -- drove a 2-0 fastball beyond the left center field fence to tie the score.

"When he hit it, I was thinking 'this is unbelievable'," said Bill Meury of Punzo's second home run against Fairfield. "He's a terrific hitter and he was a thorn in our side."

Fairfield regained the lead in the sixth. Patrick Steed opened the inning with a bloop double just inside the right field line. Dan Kiernan singled to put runners at the corners with one out, and Ryan Meury drove in the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly. Paoletta drove a two-run triple over the first base bag, and Lucas capped the inning with a towering two-run home run.

"The team doesn't panic late in the game," said Bill Meury. "They don't worry about that scoreboard until the game is over."

For Fairfield, the games -- and the summer -- were far from over following their state tournament win. The Connecticut champions swept to six consecutive victories at the New England Region tournament, including a 14-0 championship game win over Bedford (New Hampshire) Little League. The victory vaulted Fairfield into the Little League World Series for the second time in three years. Fairfield split its four games in South Williamsport, and finished as the fourth place team in the U.S. bracket.

-----

(*) - The seven leagues to claim three or more consecutive state championships in states with ten or more districts:

Tallmadge (Ohio) Little League - 1972, 1973, and 1974
Connellsville (Pennsylvania) Little League - 1976, 1977, and 1978
San Ramon Valley Little League (Danville, Northern California) - 1991, 1992, and 1993
Franklin (Pennsylvania) Little League - 1994, 1995, and 1996
Brownsburg (Indiana) Little League - 1999, 2000, 2001, and 2002
Hamilton (Ohio) West Side Little League - 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012
Fairfield American (Connecticut) Little League - 2010, 2011, and 2012

Warner Robins American (Georgia) Little League won three consecutive state championships between 2007 and 2009, but Georgia had only nine districts for the first two years of this period.

Follow Fairfield American at the New England Region Tournament -- Click here to view results.


Linescores:

  Section 1 Championship Game 1 2 3 4 5 6 R H E
Fairfield American 1 1 0 0 0 4 6 9 1
Annex 0 0 0 2 0 0 2 4 1
  Section 2 Championship Game
Guilford 1 2 0 0 1 1 5 - -
Avon 0 0 2 2 0 3 7 - -
  State Tournament Game 1
Fairfield American 8 0 0 0 1 8 10 0
Avon 0 0 0 0 x 0 1 3
  State Tournament Game 2
Fairfield American 1 4 0 5 10 6 0
Avon 0 0 0 0 0 2 1


2012 Connecticut District Champions and Sectional Tournament Results:

District Champions
in Section 1
District Champions
in Section 2
D1 - Wilton
D2 - Fairfield American
D3 - George J. Hummel (Seymour)
D4 - Annex (New Haven)
D5 - Yalesville

Section 1 Tournament
Host - Southington Southern (District 5)
At Recreation Park

Tournament Schedule/Results:

1 - Fairfield American 13, Yalesville 0 (4 innings)
2 - George J. Hummel 9, Wilton 8
3 - Fairfield American 9, Wilton 8 (7 innings)
4 - Annex 3, Yalesville 2
5 - Annex 7, Fairfield American 5
6 - Yalesville 13, George J. Hummel 3 (4 innings)
7 - Fairfield American 11, George J. Hummel 4
8 - Annex 8, Wilton 5
9 - Yalesville 12, Wilton 3
10 - George J. Hummel 6, Annex 3


Standings

W

L
Annex 3 1
Fairfield American 3 1
Yalesville 2 2
George J. Hummel 2 2
Wilton 0 4

The top two teams advance to the championship game. Standard Little League Baseball tiebreaking rules apply.

Section 1 Championship Game (Wednesday, July 25)

Game 11 - Fairfield American 6, Annex 2 (TITLE)

D6 - Avon
D7 - Glastonbury National
D8 - Tolland
D9 - Guilford
D10 - Waterford South
D11 - Norwich

Section 2 Tournament
Host - Mansfield (District 11)
At Southeast Park

Tournament Schedule/Results:

1 - Guilford 5, Waterford South 0
2 - Glastonbury National 7, Tolland 3
3 - Avon 11, Norwich 7
4 - Glastonbury National 8, Norwich 5
5 - Avon 10, Guilford 7
6 - Waterford South 8, Tolland 1
7 - Avon 7, Tolland 2
8 - Waterford South 10, Glastonbury National 0 (4 innings)
9 - Norwich 8, Guilford 4
10 - Avon 5, Waterford South 2
11 - Tolland 9, Norwich 6
12 - Guilford 14, Glastonbury National 8
13 - Guilford 6, Tolland 5
14 - Waterford South 2, Norwich 1
15 - Avon 12, Glastonbury National 9


Standings

W

L
Avon 5 0
Guilford 3 2
Waterford South 3 2
Glastonbury National 2 3
Tolland 1 4
Norwich 1 4

The top two teams advance to the championship game. Standard Little League Baseball tiebreaking rules apply.

Section 2 Championship Game (Wednesday, July 25)

Game 16 - Avon 6, Guilford 5 (TITLE)




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