Fairfield American defeats Holbrook Little League in five innings

Fairfield, Conn.'s Troy Ashkinos (12) is greeted by teammates as he crosses home plate after hitting a grand slam off Jackson, N.J. pitcher Tai Mann in the fourth inning of an elimination baseball game in United States pool play at the Little League World Series tournament in South Williamsport, Pa., Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017. Connecticut won 12-2. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (WTNH) — It was another do or die game for Fairfield American Little League to keep its Little League World Series title hopes alive.

The team from Connecticut had a rematch with Holbrook Little League from Jackson, N.J., a team Fairfield defeated 7-6 in the first round of the tournament. After the game was rained out on Tuesday night, both teams were ready for Wednesday morning baseball.

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Fairfield gave pitcher Ethan Righter the ball, hoping he could find the same magic he had last week when he helped take down Holbrook LL with seven strikeouts.

dh7agemuwaexdtm Fairfield American defeats Holbrook Little League in five innings
“CT” chants were underway prior to first pitch in Williamsport, Pa. (Photo: Erik Dobratz/WTNH)

He got his team off on the right foot as Holbrook LL went down 1-2-3 to start the game.

Fairfield delivered in its first turn at bat. Two singles and a wild pitch put runners on second and third for birthday boy and second baseman Matthew Vivona who ripped a single down the line to put Connecticut up 2-0.

A wild pitch and back to back walks loaded up the bases for catcher Aidan Rivera who grounded out but brought in a run to increase the lead to three.

Left fielder Andrew Cutler then hit a single to right to drive in a fourth run for Fairfield.

After a bloop to shallow center-right loaded the bases, third baseman Leo Randazzo hit into a fielder’s choice to drive in another run and increase the lead to five.

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In the second, New Jersey made up some ground as pitcher Dean Daddio drove in a runner from second  on a two out single. With the bases loaded, however, Righter kept his composure and struck out Ryan Kinsman to maintain a four run lead for Fairfield.

Holbrook LL would continue to chip away at Fairfield’s lead in the third when a runner on third base scored on a passed ball to make the score 5-2. However, Righter would record his fifth strikeout of the game to stop the bleeding.

After a scoreless third inning, Righter kept dealing in the fourth, picking up his sixth and seventh strikeouts of the game to tie his high for the tournament.

In the bottom of the fourth, Fairfield loaded up the bases again for right fielder Troy Ashkinos who came through in a huge way with a grand slam to center. New Jersey would bring a new pitcher into the game, now in a 9-2 hole.

Entering the fifth with a seven run lead, Righter kept rolling through the New Jersey lineup, bringing his strikeout total to eight before being replaced by Andy Osmond who closed out the inning. The righty pitched a gem, giving up just two runs on three hits.

In the bottom of the fifth, Connecticut cemented its lead when Randazzo scored from third on a wild pitch to make it a 10-2 ballgame. Fairfield would pick up another two more runs to end the game in five innings via the 10-run rule, 12-2.

Fairfield will now wait to take on the loser of Wednesday night’s game between Lufkin LL (Texas) and North State LL (North Carolina). The team will take on that opponent on Thursday at 7:30 p.m.

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