FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Fairfield American lost for just the second time this summer Thursday, falling to Petaluma, Calif., 6-4, in the opening game of the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa.
American was in the unfamiliar position of playing from behind for most of the game. Will Lucas cut Petaluma's lead to 5-3 with an RBI triple in the bottom of the fifth. Lucas then scored on a wild pitch to pull American within one.
But Petaluma raked back-to-back hits in the sixth to add a crucial insurance run. Fairfield brought the tying run to the plate in its final at-bats, but a slick double play by the Petaluma shortstop sank American's hopes.
Fairfield struggled to get its vaunted offense going against Petaluma's 6-foot-3, 183-pound starting pitcher, Bradley Smith. Petaluma's huge hurler also slugged at the plate, going 4-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs.
Biagio Paoletta continued his summer-long offensive tear, clubbing an opposite-field solo home run that knotted the game at 1-1.
Fairfield endured a scary moment in the bottom of the fifth when a pitch hit Ryan Meury in the face. According to several published reports, Meury was given stitches on site and is questionable to return for the next game.
American faces elimination Saturday when it takes on the Midwest champion Kearney, Neb. The game will be broadcast on ABC at 2 p.m.
Like the Fairfield Daily Voice on Facebook.