WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (WTNH) — It took a little bit of waiting thanks to the rain, but Fairfield American finally got to play its most important game of the season on Monday night.
They didn’t disappoint.
Fairfield knocked off Walla Walla, Washington, 14-6, thanks to an eight-run fourth inning that saw them go from trailing 5-2, to leading 10-5.
They’ll take on Jackson Township, New Jersey, on Tuesday, a team they defeated, 7-6, in the Little League World Series opener.
The team from Connecticut put Tyler Bauer on the mound with the season on the line against Walla Walla, Washington. Bauer delivered, pitching a 1-2-3 inning to start the game.
Connecticut was able to get a runner to third in the bottom half of the first, but he was left stranded, keeping the game scoreless through one inning.
Things changed in the second for Washington when a wild throw from the outfield brought in two runs following a single from Rylan Warren. Bauer would come back with a strikeout, leaving Walla Walla to be content with a 2-0 lead.
Connecticut quickly rallied back in the bottom of the inning. Following two singles and a stolen base, Fairfield American scored two with a double from Owen Kalagher to knot things up at two.
Walla Walla answered in a big way in the third. A hit batter and two singles lead to a run. The next at bat, Washington drove in two more with a double to put Connecticut in a 5-2 hole.
In the fourth, Fairfield showed its defensive prowess. Kalagher made a diving catch to record the second out of the inning while second baseman Ethan Righter made a nice backhanded stop on a hard hit ball and threw it to first to end the inning.
Those flashy plays with the glove fired up Connecticut’s team. After a bloop put two runners on base, pinch hitter Christian Smith launched a bomb to center to tie things up 5-5.
Righter then drove in Smith on liner to left, and Righter came home after a single from shortstop Michael Iannazzo. Quickly, Fairfield built a 7-5 lead with no outs in the inning.
The good luck continued for Fairfield, as a wild pitch in the same inning brought in another run, making it a 8-5 game. The next batter, Walla Walla’s catcher failed to make the throw to first on a dropped strike three. Fairfield got another runner on first and drove in ninth run.
Fairfield’s aggressive baserunning, which was showcased throughout the game, brought that runner to third, and catcher Aidan Rivera made Walla Walla pay by bringing his runner home on a double.
In just one half inning, Fairfield went from trailing 5-2 to leading 10-5.
Washington wouldn’t go quietly, however. In the top of the fifth, Caiden Thomsen launched a solo shot to center to cut the deficit to four. Washington nearly hit back to back homers, but right fielder Anthony Pollack made a jumping catch at the wall to end the brief rally.
In the bottom of the fifth, Connecticut put the game away when Iannazzo hit a two-run home run to make the game 12-6.
Fairfield American would go on to win, 14-6.
The team will continue its Little League World Series run on Tuesday when it takes on Jackson, N.J. Fairfield defeated Jackson in the LLWS opener, 7-6.
First pitch will be at 7:30 p.m.